Are you considering working from home... permanently?
Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Working from home is the new normal for many, and many companies are considering making the move permanent– even after the pandemic comes to an end. If you find yourself in this position, or your boss is giving you the option, to work from home permanently, here are a few things you may want to consider.
In the summer of 2019, I began my journey of work from home. For me, this meant working in the office one day per week, while the remainder of the week was spent working from home, or in a hotel lobby if I was traveling for work.
My request for telecommute work did not come easy. Although I was able to build my case as to why my work was easily transferred to any work location, the company culture itself was not set up for this. I continued to advocate for working remotely, and feel I was able to successfully transition despite some early on hiccups as many companies described early in the “stay home, stay safe” quarantine.
It was more than just the dynamics of getting your home workspace set up properly (mind you I moved my working space three times at home) for the long haul and having the right mindset to perform even better than you would in the office. Will your work relationships suffer? How will it affect my family and personal relationships? And what about my career trajectory?
1: Determine your home-or-office comfort level. Is your life better in the long run working from home? That question should include whether you miss your work colleagues and team energy enough that connecting through Zoom does not cut it. How is your mental health? Is social isolation catching up with you? Maybe consider a hybrid-balance as I did. The bigger question is how well can you manage your time working from home, or do family dynamics interfere?
2: Plan your pitch thoroughly. If you plan on selling work from home full-time (or even hybrid), do you have specific examples of your work performance since you started working from home? Consider what advantages this may bring to the company by working from home. For example, when I pitched working from home on a hybrid model, it would allow me closer proximity to a greater member reach, expanding our company’s presence in the region.
3: Consider possible salary changes and tax implications if relocating. You need to ask this question if you are considering relocating to work remotely. For me, this meant moving states, while still residing within commuting distance to the office, airport, and greater access to regionally located members. Some employers will base compensation on location, and that means employees moving from a high cost-of-living area to a less expensive one could see their salaries reduced. Also, I recommend doing your research and see how your take-home pay will be impacted by taxes in their new location.
4: Beware working from home permanently could hurt your career prospects. If most of your company will be returning to the office, those who work from home either part-time or full-time might be at a disadvantage in terms of promotions or other opportunities. I found myself in this position. When a Director role opened up, I was the only internal candidate to apply. After several conversations, it was decided I was unable to fill this role because I remained working in a hybrid-work-from-home schedule. This occurred a few months ahead of the pandemic and at that time the company culture was not set up to support this type of leadership structure.
Although this may not be the case for you it is important to be proactive about communicating with your manager and having a plan to keep them informed of your progress and opportunities. It is equally as important to be “seen” in the office from time to time and continue to build relationships with teams.
Now as we find ourselves looking ahead to access to a vaccine that will bring an end to the pandemic, it is a great time to reevaluate your current work environment and how it would look if you continue working remotely. Although I remain optimistic about the future of work from home, where it can support a culture of trust, communication, and flexibility, there is much to consider if you want to make the new normal a permanent reality.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts & experiences on working from home.