Would you like to work from home but you’re too scared to ask, or don’t know how to approach it with your boss? In this episode Joel and Tamara share 7 steps on how to ask your boss to work from home.
Here’s an outline of what we cover in this episode:
- The different philosophies of global tech giants Google (04:50) and IBM regarding working from home (10:45)
- We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working from home for individuals (14:18), as well as organisations (20:30)
- I share a personal story on why working from home is beneficial for me and my employer (26:26)
- And we share 7 steps on how to ask your boss (32:01)
- In the Plex – Steven Levy
- Costs and Benefits of Working from Home, Global Workplace Analytics
- Joel Norton
- View a full transcript of the podcast at the bottom of the page, or download a PDF version here.
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Joel: Good morning, beautiful
Tamara: Good morning, handsome. How are you?
Joel: I am awesome, very grateful to be doing another episode of The Females in Tech Show this morning. So as usual, let’s start with our gratitude. What are three things that you’re grateful for today?
Tamara: First things first, I am super grateful that we found an alternative solution to be able to record today’s podcast. Again, we had some technical difficulties, and I’m grateful that your breath smells okay because we are speaking in one microphone.
Joel: We’re very close.
Tamara: Second thing that I’m grateful for you is we had a really beautiful and open conversation with your son this morning and I know, for men in particular, it’s really difficult to open up and be vulnerable. It was really beautiful to see you help lead that conversation with your son and enable him to open up to us and let us know how he is feeling.
And the third thing that I’m grateful for is how beautiful the weather is in Sydney, it is so warm. And I am so grateful that I moved to Sydney from Melbourne, even though it is quite warm in Melbourne at the moment, but that’s not going to last too long. I’m super grateful to live in such a beautiful area in Australia and that we actually get a long summer here.
Joel: We sure do. How awesome is it?
Tamara: And what are three things that you’re grateful for today?
Joel: Well, mine was the same, I might have to make some up on the spot here. So, look, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have that conversation with Lee this morning and have an open conversation with him, not just at breakfast, but also in the car on the way to work. Including talking to him about how hard it is to be open about your feelings. It was beautiful and I tear up a bit just thinking about it, so I’m very grateful for that.
I am also grateful for our very intimate setting today, sharing a mic.
Tamara: It’s a bit awkward.
Joel: How awesome is this?!
And the third thing is I’m actually really grateful to have spent some time in the last week with my coach and also just myself, just working through a few things on the next stage of my journey. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to work on myself.
Tamara: That’s fantastic.
Joel: So, what’s the topic for today?
Tamara: We are talking about, how to ask your boss to work from home.
Joel: Yeah, it’s a great topic. Obviously, it’s something that’s quite popular in the tech space but increasingly popular generally in our culture about people working from home.
And it’s interesting too, when we’ve both been looking at some of the research and things, there is a lot of research and statistics, so it’s been an interesting one to look at.
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely. And I just wanted to clarify the difference between working from home and working remotely. With this episode we will be purely talking about working from home, which is essentially where you do work from home one or two days a week, or once a fortnight. Whereas working remotely is when you actually have very little, or no contact, in the office that you are a member of. You might work a few hours away and maybe only go into the office once every six months. We will be focusing on the working from home aspect.
Joel: Yeah, that’s right. Whilst I did find lots of statistics, I thought rather than jump into those, we might start a little bit differently if you’re open to that?
Joel: Thought we’d start with a story, or two stories actually. Because I think one of the challenges when, because this is such a big topic, what I found is that there is a sea of statistics in terms of, it’s one of the most researched and studied factors of corporate culture and success.
Joel: There is just so much stats available on this. And we’ll talk a bit about this through the episode, but there’s a lot of stats that support working from home, and there’s a lot of stats that also talk about the disadvantages of working from home. And we’ll cover those, you’ll be talking a bit about that as we go through.
I thought, rather than start with that, maybe just to set the scene, just to talk about two, I suppose you call them corporate giants, and they both happen to be tech companies. I’m sure that your listeners would have heard of them, one of them is called Google and the other one’s called IBM.
The first story, and interestingly the stories cross-over and integrate a bit. So the first one was about Google, and comes from a book that I read a few years ago called In The Plex. It was originally published in 2011 and it’s one of three books that I’ve read on Google, and there’s probably a lot more that are available nowadays.
In the book it talked about the early success of Google, driven by what they phrased as internet values, and there was four of them, around speed, openness, experimentation, and risk-taking.
And working at Google, beyond the initial start-up phase, where the stereotype of starting in the garage, when the business was a bit more established, they had a lot of perks for the engineers or the people that were working at Google, they really did try and attract the best talent. And they were unapologetic in terms of wanting to get the best people, so you had to be the best, of the best, of the best to be able to work at Google. And that’s a different subject as far as the recruitment, but they were very, very focused on keeping employees at work.
If you go back to those values that they were talking about around speed, openness, experimentation and risk-taking, they realized that in order to achieve those things, they needed the people in the office. They had a lot of perks, for example, free food, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, basically. They’ve got free dry cleaning, they had onsite doctors and masseuses. It’s all designed around trying to keep your employees in the office longer.
And the ultimate piece around that was around collaboration, when you combine all of those values together, it’s really around collaboration, and some of their best, or biggest products including Gmail, came out of that. It was an idea that somebody had, they had a number of people, a cross-functional team that also jumped on and said, “Yeah I’d like to be part of that.” They did a beta-test, and it just went from strength, to strength, to strength. And that all came out of collaboration.
And there’s a few stories in that book and one of them highlights this problem where they were growing at speed, I can’t remember what the numbers were, but they were employing a lot of people on a weekly basis just to keep up with the demand of what they were trying to build. And they basically ran out of space in Googleplex, in the building.
They were building a new office next door to house all these new people, and they suddenly realized, one of the key success factors for the organization was around collaboration and speed. If the building’s finished, and we move half of our employees over to the other building, all of a sudden we’re going to have two buildings that are basically half full and half empty. We’re going to lose this big factor of people literally tripping over each other, because a lot of these ideas were coming from corridor meetings as people were walking past and having conversations and that really amplified the collaboration.
Once the building was finished, instead of moving everyone over, they actually just kept everyone in the same building so that they could maintain that closeness and collaboration. And I think they actually used the other building, as the story goes, for indoor soccer at one point.
They actually reference IBM in that book, around how they felt that IBM had led, or pioneered, the idea about working from home. And they felt that they’d lost their edge in some regard. And that was one of the factors because they didn’t have that innovation and collaboration because the employees didn’t have that closeness and openness together.
So that leads me into the IBM story. As I said, they pioneered working from home decades ago. But that, to your point at the start, that was working from home, but also a large part about working remotely. There were people that didn’t go into the office at all, they were working remotely. And in fact from 1995 to 2009, so over 14 years, they shrank their office footprint massively and saved $100 million.
Joel: That’s a massive cost saving just in terms of the office space that they didn’t need anymore because people were working from home, or working remotely. There were some obvious business benefits for them around reducing cost and that would be very attractive.
At the same time they also experienced a massive drop in revenue, they had 20 consecutive quarters of falling revenue. And anyone who knows business in general, but also publicly listed businesses, and certainly technology businesses, it’s always about growth. And all the successful businesses, they have continued growth, quarter on quarter, year on year. In the tech space, and generally in any listed businesses, if you’re not growing, that’s a challenge.
Now in 2017 they actually reversed their decision for working from home and remote working. And in a pretty, you might say aggressive, or abrupt way is probably a better word, in an abrupt way where they said, and this was aimed initially at marketing, their marketing people. There were 2,600 people in their marketing teams across America, they effectively had to relocate to one of six office locations. And it was basically, relocate or find another job. There was no in between, it was basically relocate or find another job.
They were starting with marketing, I think that was going to roll out into IT, their internal IT infrastructure as well. And that was born from this idea of needing to collaborate and innovate, particularly in the marketing space because the way that you do marketing has evolved over the last 15, 20 years. It was no longer the traditional waterfall-style project management, and things were more agile, so people needed to be there, things were changing and evolving on a daily basis and they wanted that collaboration, so they were forcing people back in.
Now I think, yes, that’s one way to do it. I think that their falling profits, my view is, personally, is that that comes from a number of other areas. They lost their why, really, of what does IBM stand for? I think that they’re such, having had done a little bit of work with them in the past as well, they’re such a big beast, they are a big, big, big ship. Their internal structures and operations really stifle innovation. I think the problem is much bigger than people working remotely. I think it’s one of the contributors, but I think there’s a lot of other factors.
But when you look at those two stories, we talk about this a lot, I think that ultimately it comes back to, what’s the balance? I think there’s some very clear benefits for both businesses and individuals, in working from home, but don’t go to the extreme where they’re never in the office. Let’s just assume that there are some good benefits for working from home, for both businesses and organizations, but just let’s maintain the balance.
Tamara: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I do want to mention though, there could be a lot of people who do work remotely, and we’re not saying to never do that because we do realize how great an opportunity it is for yourself. And we do realize organizations do benefit from working remotely. But just for this topic for today, we are going to focus on working from home, and the benefits and advantages for people at an individual level, but also at a company level.
Joel: Yeah, that’s right. The one, not statistic, but when I was looking at that, there was a source called Global Workplace Analytics, and they had done, over a long period of time, 4,000 studies on this topic of working from home and working remotely. And the short story, or the summary of that was that they’ve found that there’s twice the number of upsides to downsides for working from home.
Joel: Yeah. So that’s really positive. I think that in Australia there’s one in 12 people working from home, and in fact the Federal Government has a goal to have 12% of Public Service working remotely by 2020, so that’s only a year away. And you can see that, I know that they’ve been investing heavily in their IT infrastructure, and Cloud infrastructure, really to enable, one of the reasons for enabling that, but also around the population to self-serve in a lot of ways.
In the US they’ve got one in four workers working from home on a regular basis. So why don’t we look at the individual, the benefits, the advantages and the disadvantages of working from home, from an individual’s point of view.
Tamara: Yeah. Okay. Some of the individual benefits, or advantages, are the flexible working hours. Given that your meetings align, you’re able to start earlier and finish earlier, which really makes you more available for your loved ones. So, if you did have school pickup then you could start a lot earlier, and then finish at three, and then pick up your kids. But it also gives you the opportunity to pick up your kids and work after you’ve dropped them back home. So having those flexible working hours is a huge benefit to an individual.
For women, being able to work from home when you’re on your period, this is a huge benefit and something that I really like doing because I want to feel more comfortable, I want to have that heat pack, and I want to be at home in my pajamas and just nurturing my bleed and honoring my cycle.
Another benefit is that it’s so easy to make calls, so you don’t have to scramble to find a meeting room. I know that’s something that I really struggle with, so I can just make a call right here in my living room.
There’s no office distractions. I have a lot of people who come up to me when I’m in the office and as much as I really enjoy that, and love being the subject matter expert, it’s also really difficult when you’re managing 45-plus billable working hours. So just removing yourself from those distractions is a huge benefit.
Joel: The on-the-fly meetings that happen, which can be good, but massively distracting and take you out of the deep work zone that you’re in.
Tamara: Yeah, it’s all about that content switching. When you work in services and you’ve got multiple projects, if someone’s going to disrupt you halfway through, that’s another content switch that you have to remove yourself, or remove your brain from, an in depth thought process of a project or a solution and then having to take yourself into a new conversation, and it’s really distracting and really unproductive.
Then there’s also zero commuting, so I personally think that there’s pros and cons to this. The pros is that you can actually spend that time working or going to the gym, so you are energized throughout the day. But the con is that if you’re using that commuting time to benefit you, like I do when I read or listen to a podcast, you lose that time. So there’s pros and cons to that one.
You’re also saving money, and this is a huge thing for me, particularly in Sydney. So if I catch a bus every single day, that’s $8.80 a day, Australian dollars. And if I for some reason I can’t catch the bus, and catch the ferry and train, which is $23 a day. So it’s a huge, huge opportunity to save money.
And then the last one is you’re in a less stressful environment. If you’re working on a really intense project that has really strict deadlines, you can remove yourself from that and put yourself in an environment where you really excel at, and it’s also a lot quieter.
Now moving on to the disadvantages for an individual level, the first one being willpower. Stopping yourself from doing household chores when you should be working. This is something that I had to adjust to and the way that I overcame this was making sure that my house, or my apartment, is clean every single day so I don’t have that urge to want to do household chores. I personally can’t work when I’m in a messy environment, so that can potentially be a disadvantage.
You can also sometimes get bored, so you really miss having those office conversations and you lack that human interaction. There’s less collaboration and bouncing ideas off colleagues. You can still do that over Google Hangouts, or whatever platform that you’re using to chat to your colleagues, but having someone right next to you is so much easier than typing to them over chat or organizing a call. So you miss that.
Wi-Fi. This is a big one for me in the Northern Beaches, our Wi-Fi tends to be really good one day and not so good the other days. So that can make you less productive. Also, if you’re going to a cafe, I never log on to free or Guest Wi-Fi, so I use the hotspot on my phone. But what I’ve noticed is that my data is chewing through dramatically, so that can also be a disadvantage to the individual.
This is a pet one for me, is waiting for an answer. When you can just go up to someone when you’re working in the office and ask them something, you can get an answer straight away. But if you’re waiting on an email, or waiting for them to respond over chat, it’s just that time waiting can make you really unproductive.
The last one, and I think this is an often missed one, but it’s harder for your manager to see that there may be a problem or see that you’re stressed. If you’re in the office, they can actually see that. But if you’re working from home too much, they can’t see that and they only know if you tell them.
So what about the advantages and disadvantages at a company level?
Joel: Yeah, so I think from an organization, and I’ve limited this to the top five because there was an endless list of benefits and downsides for organizations, for people working at home. So this is really the top five.
On the plus side, for the benefits, the top one really is around improved employee satisfaction. I think that is a big one because if employees are happier in their jobs, then there’s so many benefits around that. And some of these I’ll list, but yeah, that’s a big, big, big one.
That flows through into the second point, which is unscheduled absences (the sickies basically, in Australia we love a good sickie). If people are more satisfied, they are less likely to be having a sickie.
And again, if they’re working from home and they’re being productive, then they’re also going to be, they’re getting more value out of their job, basically, they’re feeling empowered.
Tamara: And people tend to, even if they are sick, if they have the ability to work from home, they will still work from home even if they are sick. I have a colleague who is doing that at the moment and I’m doing my best to make sure that he’s doing limited amount of work so he can finish earlier. But because he has the ability to work from home, and be sick, he’s still putting the customer first. So that’s a huge advantage.
Joel: Yeah, absolutely. And look, that leads through into then, reduced attrition. So, finding, and attracting talent into your organization is expensive. If you’re recruiting, just the recruitment fees alone, but outside of that when you lose an employee you’ve then got the lost work, there’s the knowledge transfer, it’s a massive, massive cost to business in productivity, in morale, a whole bunch of areas. The benefits for somebody working from home means that it does help with reducing staff attrition, which is really important.
And then number four would be around increased productivity. And you touched on it before, part of that, less meetings. I hate meetings. Working from home, you don’t have as many meetings, so whilst you may not have as much collaboration, it is great for those projects or those times when you actually need to get into some deep work, and have some quiet time, and just churn through the work. And some days that’s what you need, and other days you do need to have that more interaction. I think that there’s definitely, for the organizations, there is increased productivity in terms of output of the staff.
And number five is really around expanding the talent pool, and you touched on this before when you talked about a colleague of yours who works remotely. Giving the ability for your staff to work from home and in some instances maybe work remotely, it does increase the number of people that you have available if you’ve got that flexibility. So that’s a big one.
Then if we look at the downsides for organizations, organizations have to recognize that working from home isn’t for everyone. Some people actually need a little bit more structure and also, I think, as is the case with anything, some people can take advantage of things. Maybe some individuals may not be as productive and they may be not doing as much work. It’s recognizing working from home is not for everyone. And that in itself causes issues because you can’t allow it for some people and not for others. That’s one of the biggest things for organizations is how do you set the precedent generally.
So, number two, and I touched on this before with IBM and the Google story, but just the concerns around losing collaboration. Losing both ideas and innovation but also the speed to execute. They’re really big things, particularly for technology-based businesses, it’s all around speed to market. Coming up with those ideas and being able to execute and get them into market, and then to be able to iterate. That’s definitely a big one for organizations. And look, there are ways around that which is through chat and a whole bunch of other stuff.
That leads into the third downside, which is, there’s increased pressure on IT infrastructure. Because, this might sound a bit surprising given where we are today being 2019 and the number of businesses that are already working in the Cloud. We’re both working for businesses that are very heavily Cloud based, but there are still a large number of organizations that aren’t and they’re on hosted solutions. In order to allow your employees to work from home, you do need to have that Cloud infrastructure facility. That flows through into security concerns. If people are logging in remotely, you’d need to have additional cyber security in place to make sure that they can access the information they need but also, you’re not making yourself vulnerable for hackers.
And then the fifth one is an interesting one. It makes it more challenging also for organizations, just around employment law and things like occupational health and safety. So, for argument sake, in the office there’s a big deal around people making sure they’ve got ergonomic chairs and all that sort of stuff. When you’re working from home you may not have the right setup. If somebody has bad posture, they’ve injured themselves, where are the lines for where the organization is responsible and where the employee is responsible? From a logistics point of view, there’s a lot to consider from an organization in allowing somebody to work from home.
Tamara: Yeah, that’s super interesting. And on that note, I might share a personal story based on how working from home really helps me as an individual. And I say this because a lot of my creative thinking, or my creative ideas, have stemmed from working from home.
For example, one of my product innovations, which ended up turning into a patent idea came from working from home. And I strongly believe this is due to the working environment that I have here. And that is being able to have lunch outside near the beach. And this enables me to refresh my mind, re-energize my body, and it may only be 15 to 30 minutes outside, but it’s the break that I need to really reboot my mind and my soul. And this ultimately enables me to be a lot more productive and enable that creative thinking because I am getting the vitamin D from the sun, and removing myself away from the computer screen, and giving myself the break that I need.
I also mentioned this earlier before but having less distractions. I have a lot of people, I’ve spent a lot of time building my personal brand, and people come up to me a lot asking me questions. If I work from home, I can remove myself from that and really focus on the customer, which is the most important thing, particularly when I have 45-plus billable working hours a week. I want to spend less time in the office because I want to put the customer first, I want to do everything I can to make sure that the project runs on time and I’m giving 100% to them.
I’m also a better person to be around. Now, working in services it can sometimes be a really high stress environment, particularly when you’re working around really tight deadlines. When I work from home, I’m, one, removing myself from the stressful environment, but, two, I can give myself the break that I need to take a deep breath and think about how I respond to a particular situation.
It also enables me to sleep in a little bit later than I’m used to, and go to the gym in the morning, and all of those things fill myself up so I can be the best version of me to make sure that I am putting the customer first. And also putting my colleagues first, being able to speak to them in a proficient and polite manner.
The other positive for me for working from home is the ability to work earlier and finish earlier. Although this sometimes rarely happens because I generally work earlier and finish later, but that’s a positive to the company as well. And it’s the fact that Salesforce trusts me to work from home, that takes so much weight off my shoulders and allows me to be open and release my creative thinking. It’s one less thing that I have to worry about. I don’t have to stress that Salesforce doesn’t trust me.
Joel: Yeah, and just on the previous point, you’re able to work earlier because you’re not losing that time in travel basically?
Tamara: Yeah, exactly. And because Salesforce trusts me, that makes me want Salesforce to continue to be the most innovative company in the world, and I want to do everything I can to contribute to that. Giving me the flexibility to be in an environment that personally works best for me enables me to give back to Salesforce.
What about you? Do you have a personal story about working from home?
Joel: I would reinforce what you’re saying. I know there’s times when it is good to be in the office, and be around people, and collaborate, and you actively seek that because you can, when you talk about ideas and innovation, you can bounce ideas off people and it’s obviously the conversation that helps. And I know when we work together, when we are talking, brainstorming or working through ideas for FIIT Collective and for the show, we are bouncing ideas off each other. One idea will lead to another idea, which leads to another idea, which is great.
But there are days, I hate meetings, so there are lots of times when one of the companies that I work for, it can be quite distracting, you’re in an open plan environment. Some days I’m working with my headphones on to try and remove those distractions. But ideally, the days when I’m at home and I can actually just be head down, I am super, super productive. So yeah, I would definitely share all of those things that you mentioned. I think this leads us into, so for the people that aren’t currently working from home, how do they approach it with their boss? Where do they even start?
Tamara: Yeah. I think the first thing that you need to be mindful of is, does your role allow yourself to work from home?
For me personally, I think if you’re a graduate, I would not be spending much time working from home at all. Because where you do the most amount of learning will be in the office and will be collaborating with your colleagues and learning from them.
Joel: That’s when you’re first learning what business is about. So understanding the processes, and the different departments within an organization, you want to be in the business learning all those things. So you’re learning to do the actual role or job function, but you’re also learning about business.
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely, and that goes for people who are starting in a new role in a company. I would probably say don’t work from home for the first few months, and really find your feet, and get to know the company and the processes, like you said. Also, if you’re not working in tech, if you’re working in marketing, find out if it is appropriate for your role to be working from home or does it really rely on you to be in the office?
The second thing is, to understand the company HR policies. Do they allow it? And if they don’t that shouldn’t prevent you from still asking your manager, it just might be a longer process because your manager will probably need to get approval from their manager and so forth.
The third one is, provide research. Joel mentioned the Global Workplace Analytics and we’ll provide a link to this in the show notes, but provide research on the benefits for you as an individual, and for the company itself. And with that in mind, make sure you focus the benefits to the company. Joel gave five advantages, but that was just five, there’s so many benefits to the company, so make sure you tailor your proposal based on the benefits to the company. But bear in mind also think about why it’s good for you. Link the two, but I would say focus predominantly on the benefits for the company.
The next thing would be to formulate a plan, and this is before you even start to talk to your manager. Formulate a plan, identify the potential issues, and then suggest solutions. A big one might be adhering to security protocols. The solution there would be, don’t log into free Wi-Fi, and then make sure you’re using a screen protector if you’re working in a cafe so nobody can see the work that you’re working on. Another one would be, how can your manager monitor your productivity? You can potentially use Trello and then put all your tasks in there and they can see that in live, or get notifications through email of the tasks that you’ve completed throughout the day.
Joel: Yes, absolutely, I agree 100% with that. Because what you want to do is be proactive. By developing a plan you’re actually demonstrating to your boss that you’ve got good leadership characteristics, you’re being proactive and that’s only going to support your ability to get that approval to work from home. Because it’s reinforcing that, I can trust this person.
Tamara: Yeah, because you’ve thought about the potential problems and you’ve come up with solutions and there’s nothing more than a manager loves to see. I know my managers really enjoy when I’ve got a challenge and I come with those solutions, and we can have that open discussion about what is the most appropriate action to take moving forward.
The next thing would be, start with small trial runs or have a pilot program, and this might be one day a week, for 12 weeks. And this will really help establish you as a reliable remote worker, or a work from home worker. And in that, agree on the measurement and criteria, so how will you evaluate it if it is a success, and what do they need to see to approve it ongoing?
And in this, make sure you’re practicing CCC, and this is crystal clear communication throughout the whole pilot. Don’t wait until the end of the pilot to get feedback. Make sure you’re checking in every single week with your manager. Ask them if they’re comfortable with how it’s going, do they have any concerns? And that gives you the opportunity to change your behaviour and prove to them that it is the most suitable solution for you as an individual.
The next one is be flexible. Make it a conversation, when you bring your proposal to your manager, ask for their feedback and get them involved in the decision making, and take on board the feedback. Don’t be disheartened if they critique it a little bit, that’s likely going to happen. Take the feedback and update your proposal and get back to them.
Joel: Yeah, they’re really awesome, I really love those. And I think that the big one there is around, just don’t feel like you’re going in and asking the boss to commit to everything up front. That idea about just doing a pilot for a period of time and say, “Look, let’s just test this,” for eight weeks or 12 weeks. They feel like it is a collaboration, it’s a discussion, and there’s an opportunity for you to talk through that rather than having to commit to something without knowing whether it’s going to work.
Tamara: So on that, what are your three biggest takeaways?
Joel: Okay, well my three are, I think firstly, just be aware that there are downsides to the organization and there are some real logistical challenges. Obviously, if there’s already people in your organization who are working from home, that’s not as big a deal. But if it’s new to the organization, I think just being aware that there are some logistics issues and there are some downsides. Having that awareness and openness, then when you have the conversation with the boss, just changes the tone of everything. And I think that’s really important.
The second thing was, as I mentioned earlier, demonstrate leadership by being proactive and developing that plan for discussion. I think that that will, it just reinforces that they should allow you to do this.
Number three is, start small, so that idea about having that trial. Ultimately what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to build trust and that’s the most critical thing between an employer and an employee. And that’s both directly with your manager but also with the organization overall. So you’re trying to build trust, not just in you, but also that actually as a concept that this is going to work, and that there’s positives for both the individual, and there’s also positives for the organization. So start small and build trust.
And because I’m an overachiever, I’ve actually got a bonus one. My fourth tip would be, agree how are you going to measure that success upfront? Don’t wait to the end of that eight week or 12 week period and then decide, well, was it a success? Be really clear on it upfront because you don’t want to be doing something with the false hope that you’re going to get approval at the end and then the boss goes, “Well actually no, you can’t do it.” And that’s part of that conversation when you develop that plan initially, just be really clear around what it is, and get agreement on that before you start.
Tamara: Yeah. Great. My three takeaways are, first, focus on the benefits of the company, don’t make it all about you. Acknowledge how it will help you, help the company.
The second, practice crystal clear communication, be open to feedback throughout the whole pilot and this will give you the highest chance possible to achieve the flexibility of working from home on a more permanent basis. And it also gives you the opportunity to be able to adjust your behaviour throughout the pilot program to make sure that it is a success.
And the third one is, this trial is not only for the company to see if it benefits the company, but it’s also for you. You might end up finding that after the trial, you may not actually like working from home, and some people don’t like that. And that is okay, be open, tell your manager, after this pilot program, it actually isn’t for me and I work best when I’m in the organization itself.
Joel: Yeah, I think that’s a great one.
Tamara: Awesome. Well thank you so much Joel, for joining me again today on The Females in Tech Show, it’s been awesome having you, even though we had to share a microphone.
Joel: I loved that, very cozy. I really enjoyed it, it was a great subject and hopefully everyone got a lot out of it. And for the people that are looking to work from home, I hope that’s helpful.
Tamara: Yeah. And if you did follow up with your manager and create a proposal, let me know if it worked, if it didn’t work, what would have helped you? I would love your feedback, so direct message me on Instagram or email me.