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Can the workplace win you again?

For many office workers, the Covid-19 pandemic has a surprising side.

With most industries forced to work virtually, millions of Americans found that working from home was more than a passing novelty – it was a life-changing paradigm shift. And for a significant percentage of these workers, there is no going back.

If you've tasted the freedom of the work-from-home lifestyle, you may be wondering what to do now that many jobs are returning to the office. We will help you negotiate with your employer whether you will work from home all or a few days a week – or find a new job that allows you to do so.

Why people are looking for remote jobs

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs as entire industries shut down. But as pandemic restrictions eased and those industries regained momentum, millions of Americans began quitting their jobs – especially those in positions in retail and service industries.

Thanks to the pandemic, employees discovered they could avoid commuting, office politics and arbitrary working hours and still be productive. And many realized that they were much happier working from home, preparing healthier meals, exercising, and spending more time with their families. Some decided to forego higher salaries for a better work-life balance.

"I feel like my well-being has improved significantly and I don't want to give that up," says Jazzy Tee, project manager and blogger at First Hustle Then Brunch. "The vast majority of my friends are looking for jobs where they can work remotely."

How to get involved in remote work

If your boss asks you to return to the office, you need to justify why you can continue to work remotely. Many superiors, especially in the older generation, hesitate to allow 100 percent remote work.

First, look for statistics or data that show you've been more productive or productive from home than you were at the office. Have you had so many sales calls? Have you brought so many new initiatives or products to market? If you had positive annual results during the pandemic, indicate that the company agrees with your assessment.

It may be tempting to bring up personal issues, especially if you are a parent or caregiver, but it's better to focus on why working from home makes you a better employee. For example, if your job is to analyze data, talk about how your home environment is more conducive to concentration than a busy office. If you have all day sales pitches, talk about how you can get more calls done without the long drive.

You should also highlight ways that you can save the company money by working from home. For example, if you can skip the monthly parking reimbursement or other office perks, use this to your advantage. Remember, you need to demonstrate that working from home will benefit your employer too.

Take industry competitors as examples when they allow their employees to work from home. This will help your boss realize that if they are able to provide a more sustainable work-life balance, other companies could start poaching talent. Reference research showing remote workers saw a 13% jump in productivity.

The best way to represent your case is to obtain a remote position offer and use it as leverage. If you can prove that another company believes in your ability to be productive from home, it can convince your manager to follow suit.

Where can I find remote jobs

If you are firmly against going back to the office and your current job is moving away from working remotely, it may be time to find a new job.

Jazzy Tee found a remote gig after her former employer wouldn't let her work from home. She said she relied on using the location filter on LinkedIn. They have a "remote only" option that filters out vacancies that are not 100% remote. She also recommends The Ladders, a careers site that focuses on jobs that pay $ 100,000 or more.

"Most of these possibilities are distant," she said.

Sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter also filter remote jobs. Set up notifications and check daily which new jobs have been published. Ask mentors, former coworkers, and others in the industry where to find remote jobs. Sometimes a connection manages to reach the right person.

If you are currently unemployed, don't be afraid to post on social media that you are looking for a remote job.

Pro tip: Modify your LinkedIn profile to show that you're open to work.

When you can't get a remote job

When Tee heard that her company wanted employees to return to the office, she looked for remote positions. After receiving an offer for a completely secluded job, she asked her boss to adapt it. They offered her a promotion and a raise, but denied her the opportunity to work remotely.

Companies know that working from home is an important asset for many employees and may be willing to compensate you for coming to the office. If your boss doesn't approve of 100 percent remote work, ask for two or three days at home. If this is not possible, ask for the option to come by later to avoid the rush hour traffic.

Know your position before you negotiate. You may have more leverage if you work in a shortage industry. However, this may not be the case if your business is struggling financially. This strategy can also work better if you've been with the company for a long time.

Finding a job that is 100% remote can still be difficult, but fear not. More and more companies are adopting a hybrid model that divides the time between working at home and coming to the office.

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Author's photo

Zina Kumok (141 posts)

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance. As a former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. It has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth, and Time. Read how she paid off $ 28,000 in student loans at Conscious Coins in three years.

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