My first job out of college was about 45 minutes away from my house. Every morning I’d pack up my lunch, walk the dog, try to make myself look presentable and rush to the office so that I could get my work done and be home before the sun went down. Most mornings I was eating toast while driving, using my knee to steer down the highway. At lunch, I’d rush down the stairs to the picnic table to spend 30 minutes eating whatever I had managed to grab out of the fridge that morning. By the time I’d get home, I was so tired from a full day of work plus a stressful commute that I would rarely exercise or cook. I’d watch TV until I fell asleep, then wake up to do it all over again. This is the story for most Americans. We spend so much time, energy and money commuting to and from the office, preparing an outfit and a meal to eat at work. It’s been taking away from our job performance and the precious time spent with our families.
After a year of spending 40 hours a week in a cubicle, I decided it was time for a change. I knew that working remotely would help me perform better at work and be an overall a healthier, happier person. I remember being terrified to talk to my boss about the possibility of me working remotely. As a young professional, I was afraid of coming off as lazy or seeming like I just wanted to slack off. I did a lot of research and preparation before I asked my company if I could have the opportunity to work remotely. It paid off, because in the end I got to spend summers traveling, spend more time with my sickly mother and less time on the highway. It’s given me the freedom to make better decisions about my health and become a more productive team member.
The pandemic has taught us that more and more companies have the capability to transition to a remote workplace. But, some offices are still behind on this movement. If you’re feeling the weight of your daily commute and a less-than-ideal office environment dragging you down, you should ask your manager or HR team about the possibility of working remotely.
Don’t know how to start this conversation? Run through this checklist. Your team will recognize when you’ve done your research on whether or not this is a feasible plan.
- Write down all the reasons you want to work remotely – this can help solidify your vision and give you motivation to make a comprehensive work from home pitch to your boss
- Make a list of all your job duties, responsibilities and daily tasks
- Estimate how many hours per week you spend on each task
- Write down what equipment you use for each task (laptop, double monitor, phone, printer, etc…)
- Use the list you made to see which parts of your job can be done from home
|Job duties, responsibilities and tasks||Hours per day spent on task||Hours per week spent on task||Equipement needed for task completion||Is remote work possible for this task?||Explain why|
|Cold call 10 potential new clients per day||1||5||Cell phone, computer with salesforce access||Yes|
|Conduct research and write 1 article per week for the company blog||1||5||Computer, wifi access||Yes|
|Maintain social media calendar, posting 4 times per week||0.5||2.5||Cell phone, computer, wifi access||Yes|
|Maintain relationships with existing clients by checking in via phone, email and in-person visits||2||10||Cell phone, computer, wifi access, vehicle, airport access||Yes, except for in-person visits||As long as I have airport access and a vehicle I can travel to client meetings from anywhere in the country|
|Assemble and mail out new client welcome packets||0.5||2.5||Promo and branded materials, access to post office||Yes||Have promo and branded materials mailed to my address instead of the office, send out packets from my closest post office|
|Gather sales data and present at quarterly board of directors meetings||0.15||0.75||Cell phone, computer, wifi access, vehicle, airport access||Yes||As long as I have airport access and a vehicle I can travel to board meetings from anywhere in the country (covering my own travel expenses)|
|Hire and train new volunteers for outreach program||2.85||14.25||Cell phone, computer, wifi access, meeting room space near HQ||No||For in-person training, I will travel to the office to meet with volunteers|
Bring this list to your manager when you have the conversation about working remotely. Prepare to talk through any questions they might have about how you plan on staying connected when you’re away from the office. Be honest about why a remote work setup would benefit both you and your employer, and remember that confidence is key!