Many, if not most, people believe they get more work done when they work from home. They cite less distractions as the main reason. I certainly agree with this context as my recent switch to working remotely has certainly increased my productivity. More and more employers are allowing their employees to work remotely a few days a week/month or having a completely remote workforce. While there are certainly benefits to working in the office as well, I would like to discuss how I was able to successfully convince my company to switch my role to 100% remotely as I set off on a year of travel.
My current role is to make sure all of our software systems (CRM, marketing automation, sales proposal, drive, dropbox, etc.) as running as well as they can be. I was also the “IT guy” in the office and would get called many times for “broken keyboards” that simply needed new batteries. My job was extremely hands on as I was always at someones desk trying to fix something. I thought I could never work remotely because of this but after some trial and error I finally came up with the solution. Here are the steps I used to transition from very hands-on office worker to remote worker.
- What % of your current job could you do remotely? The next few days at work take notice of all the things that you do at work that you could just as well do working remotely. You’d be surprised how high the % is. Even though my job was very hands-on I could still do about 75-80% at home. At home you can still attend meetings, chat your coworkers, have calls with clients, etc. Think about how often you go to a call room by yourself to make a client call or how often you chat a coworker back and forth that is sitting just a few feet away from you.
- Have a backup plan. If you are adamant about working remotely, traveling or something that would keep you out of the office long time, you need to start looking at your options. Make a list of all the things you could do remotely from above and figure out how many of those you could do on a freelance basis. I was customizing our Salesforce CRM and realized there are thousands of companies just like the one I work at that needed similar work done. I few emails to former colleagues and looking around freelance websites and I already had a couple freelance gigs. These weren’t meant to be long-term but it gave me confidence that if my company said, no you can’t work remotely, I’d still be able to generate an income.
- Build a Working Remote Proposal. Now that you have realized all the things about your current job you could do remotely and now have some freelance income so you know which skills people will pay for, present these to your manager. It is almost like a job interview but for your current, slightly altered position. Start with why, and how soon. Dive into what you will still be able to handle and what you will need someone else to take over. Talk about expectations and systems/processes you will setup to make you more efficient. Point out the value that you currently bring. A few days after I presented my working remote proposal, my manager said the company would like me to work remotely and that I was chasing a great opportunity. We hammered out the details and I was good to go. Within a week, I went from 9-5 office worker to being approved to be 20hrs/week remote worker, which is exactly what I was hoping!
Working remotely in this new digital world is easier than ever. Find out what you currently do that could be done remotely, find out which of your skills are valuable to other companies and get paid for them, and be serious about your switch by creating a proposal and clearly demonstrating the value you will continue to provide to your company. 3 easy steps is all it takes!