Remote working holds the key
For many people leaving a well-paid job to make a sea change seems like too big a sacrifice. Sure, we dream of living a stress free, easier life in an idyllic country location. But we’ve worked hard to achieve professional success and throwing it all away often doesn’t make sense.
Thankfully, there is a way you can enjoy a sea or tree changed lifestyle and keep your chosen career.
In a recent news.com.au article, Living the Work Life-Dream, mother of three Kate Dezarnaulds describes how she and her family swapped Sydney’s inner west suburbia for farm life at Berry, two hours south of Sydney.
The article shares research showing that we’re spending an average of 241 hours and $3,000 per year commuting and that’s not going to reduce anytime soon.
Added to this, employers are slowly catching on to the benefits of flexible working arrangements to retain their best staff. Changes to technology now make it both possible and cost effective.
For Dezarnaulds, moving to Berry to create a better life for her family, meant creating a different way to structure her work to balance it with her lifestyle.
The first step is to negotiate a remote working arrangement that works for you and your employer.
Let’s take a look at how to get your employer on board and make your sea change a reality:
7 Tips to Help Your Boss Say ‘YES’ to Remote Working
#1: Earn the right to work remotely
It’s not enough to simply show up and put in the hours. Focus on delivering tangible results in a way that nobody else can. This step is all about becoming even more highly valued to the point that your employer can’t afford to lose you.
This may initially mean putting in longer hours to achieve more. But you also want to do it in a way that they can see you’d achieve these stunning results, no matter where you’re working from.
#2: Make it easy for your boss
Start by showing how much more you can achieve by working from home occasionally. This means being easily contactable and even quicker to respond to phone calls and emails when you’re out of the office.
Show that you are online and quickly master technology such as cloud-based file sharing, messaging, Skype and video conferencing to keep you connected.
Do the sums and demonstrate the cost savings of not subsidizing your commute time and keeping an office for you.
#3: Anticipate and prepare for risks and objections
Put yourself in your manager, colleagues’, business partners’ and customers’ shoes. What disadvantages could they possibly experience as a result of you not being physically in the office?
Work through each of these and come up with strategies to show you’ve thought this through from every perspective.
Where possible, identify how your new working arrangements are going to be even better for them, such as re-structuring your time to make it easier to respond to their needs.
#4: Float the idea first
Rather than delivering your remote working arrangement as a fait accompli where your employer feels he/she has no choice, make your first approach light and informal.
This could be over a coffee where you mention that you’re thinking about ways you may be able to work remotely in the future.
Ask your manager what he or she believes would need to happen to make this possible. At this stage you’re looking for ‘in principle’ agreement, rather than an immediate ‘yes’.
#5 Be willing to negotiate – days in the office, cost sharing
Once your manager, HR department and other key people have become used to the idea, be ready to negotiate.
Your employer needs to know you can be trusted to be even more productive when you’re out of sight.
If your sea change means moving beyond commuting distance, offer to share travel costs to attend regular in-office meetings. Be willing to cover the cost of setting up your home office and ongoing expenses such as your internet connection.
For one of my clients, who works for an international mining company and made a tree change to Kangaroo Ground in Victoria, offering to cover internet and phone costs himself was what finally sealed the deal with his employer.
#6: Propose a trial
For your manager, approving your remote working arrangement is all about knowing they can trust you and being able to demonstrate to others why this is a good decision.
Ask your manager what he or she would need to see to know this was working for them and how long it would take for him/her to feel comfortable. Know what’s expected of you regardless of where or when the work is done.
Agree the terms of a remote working trial, ensuring you’re both clear on what this means. Work together to develop ‘If, Then’ scenarios – If Xxx were to happen, then we’d do Yyyy action. This is important for addressing any potential areas of concern, as well as opening up new opportunities.
#7: Lift your game
Once you’ve started working remotely, it’s time to take your productivity, output and results up a gear! Having earned the right to work away from the office, you now need to deliver on what you’ve promised.
This means developing a new work routine and becoming even more disciplined. When you work from home the distractions will be different and if anything, harder to resist. Develop new ways to be productive and learn how to switch work on and off.
Remote working arrangements offer the opportunity to have your cake and eat it too! Living a relaxed, more fulfilling life in a beautiful place and furthering your career is now within your reach.
You’ve got nothing to lose by asking if working remotely is possible for you.
What are you waiting for…?
If you need help to develop your sea change work strategy, contact me today and together we’ll hatch your escape plan!