MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — For more than a year, working from home has been a reality for many, and it's led to companies and employees re-evaluating a return to the office.
While some prefer working in an office setting, others have thrived working remotely. But what if you love working from home and are told to come back?
Dr. Mia Mulrennan, an organizational psychologist and human resources expert in the Twin Cities, has some tips for those hoping to keep working from home or in a hybrid model.
If you're interested in continuing to work remotely or in a hybrid model, do your research. Mulrennan recommends evaluating your role and asking yourself, "Are you in the kind of role that truly can be hybrid or work remotely?" Look at other people in your same role and find out if they're being accommodated in that way. Also, listen to the reasons why your boss may be against it. Is it because of the boss's values or the company's?
"Are they in the business foundation, as far as business goals, things that the business says would not be realistic for you to stay remote or for you to stay hybrid? Because then you can speak to either the emotional and value components that your boss is representing or come back and talk about demonstrating how you can meet the business goals," Mulrennan said.
"Do your research but also be realistic. You may be idealistic at this point," Mulrennan said. Some roles may work better in person or may give others an advantage.
"If you were to remain remote, one of the things to take into consideration is for those who do go into the office and have your same role, those people will have more visibility. They're going to have more opportunity to speak with others who are in the office and not only from a collaborative component but from a supervisory component," Mulrennan said. "If the executives are there, or directors and above are there, they'll get face time that someone whose remote won't be able to."
Also, consider a compromise like a hybrid model. Mulrennan said this allows an employee to be more productive while at the same time not giving up that face time.
There are certain jobs that before the pandemic, employers may not have realized could be done remotely. When talking to your boss, Mulrennan recommends have concrete examples of what you've been able to accomplish while working from home. "If you can show and demonstrate that you've been highly productive, that you have successfully done a job nobody thought could be done remotely," Mulrennan said. Continue to show data that demonstrates your productivity.
After demonstrating how you've been productive, declare your intentions moving forward. "Declare that you're going to continue at that level or even higher and how you're going to do that. I think that's really important if you're going to talk with your manager or a boss about staying remote or at least compromising into hybrid," Mulrennan said.
If your boss says no, Mulrennan recommends revisiting the topic later. "Don't just give your organization and boss only one chance. Remember everyone right now is trying to find a new normal and some stability. So these policies about remote and work from home are being crafted right now," Mulrennan said. But it's also a good idea if your boss agrees to you working from home or in a hybrid model, to get it in writing. While they may be okay with it now, they could feel differently a few months later as thing continue to open up.