Advocating for Defence families

Want to continue working from home?

In a matter of months working from home has gone from being perceived as a benefit, something offered by progressive or creative organisations to a necessity for many, even the most traditional and conservative of organisations.

As businesses try to figure out what the new normal looks like and the practicalities of returning to centralised office space, some Defence Partners are waiting on the arrival of posting orders with either anticipation or dread.

If you are either potentially posting to a new location or would like to continue working remotely in your current location, here are a few tips on how to approach the conversation with your employer.

Assess the practicality

We have just had a couple of months of remote working hastily implemented.

Before requesting to have the arrangement continue into the longer term you need to honest with yourself about whether or not it is actually practical and productive.

Start by reviewing all of the tasks and responsibilities of your current position; were you actually able to meet all of your employers’ expectations from home?

Take note of the ones that were difficult or near impossible to complete from home and see if you can come up with some suggestions about how they might be completed differently.

If aspects of your role cannot be done from home, could the position potentially be re-scoped, even if this means a reduction in hours or grading with corresponding pay reduction? If so would you be ok with this? 

Design your proposal

Your next step involves a little research, within your industry and profession how common is remote work?

How quickly are your competitors returning everyone into the office, or is remote working becoming the norm rather than a benefit to attract and retain talent.

Ensure you identify and address any concerns, any stumbling blocks you experienced and how this might work better in the future.

Include in your proposal how you will schedule your days and a summary of how you will communicate and track your productivity. Also include why you working remotely is good for your company, not just you.

Request a meeting

If you want your employer to seriously consider your request, it is best to present it seriously, and this involves setting a dedicated time for you to present your proposal and to have the opportunity to discuss.

Be prepared if your employer seems apprehensive about continuing with remote work to suggest the arrangement is on a trial basis, say, for three months.

It’s also important to note that your employer may not be able to give you a yes or no immediately. They may need time to think through any other implications that have yet to be considered or to get approval from HR or senior management.

If your request is granted, it’s important that you make an extra effort especially in the beginning to prove to your employer that the arrangement can work in the long term and that you can be as productive if not more so working remotely.

The key to this is communication, give your manager access to your work calendar, send them regular updates on your progress, schedule regular calls, it’s your responsibility to keep them up-to-date with your productivity.

However if it’s not working with your current employer you might need to consider looking for a new organisation where remote work is more readily accepted. Have a look at DFA’s Partner Employment Program, many of our employment Partners offer flexible working arrangements including remote work. 

All the best
Nejula Blake
DFA Project Officer – Employment

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice.

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