As companies start to bring employees back to the office, some professionals could consider negotiating WFH long-term with benefits like utility stipends, flexible scheduling and more.
More than one year after the switch to remote work, a number of companies are bringing employees back to the traditional office. However, after months of working from home, some professionals may not necessarily want to return to the in-person office. People who would prefer to continue working from home could consider negotiating this work arrangement long-term with other telecommuter benefits to boot. Below, we've highlighted some of the top remote work benefits to keep in mind as well as negotiating tips to help people seal the deal.
Building the home office
With the switch to remote work en masse, many telecommuters were left to design impromptu home workstations on short notice. While some companies did provide employees with stipends to create a productive workspace, many people were not as lucky. Set allocated funds to design a functional home workspace or reimbursement for these products could be a great remote work perk to consider. If you are particularly attached to certain on-site equipment, you could also request a chair, second monitor or other items for use at home.
Yes, a functional productive home workspace is a bonus, but perhaps you want to work outside of the home from time to time without going to the company office. In recent years, coworking spaces have become a popular option for telecommuters. A set stipend for professionals who want to work remotely at a dedicated space other than the office or home workspace could be a negotiation perk to keep in mind.
SEE: IT expense reimbursement policy (TechRepublic Premium)
Covering the utilities
Companies spend big bucks annually on cooling, heating, cleaning, delivering internet access and more in traditional office buildings. With the switch to remote work, telecommuters are often left to foot the bill for these expenditures, but that doesn't have to be the case. As part of a person's remote work package, they could negotiate a lump-sum payment or annual reimbursement for increased utility expenditures like internet access and even electricity.
Some professionals, especially those with children, may want to negotiate flexible scheduling into their remote workday. Unlike the standard 9-to-5 grind, this less rigid format allows professionals to allocate set time throughout the day to pick up their children from school and even pencil in a little space for self-care or extended lunch hours. While this scheduling format may not work for everyone, people juggling a busy personal schedule or childcare could benefit from this arrangement.
Over the last year, many remote workers have also served as caregivers for others living at home, especially children learning virtually. Remote workers who are also serving as caregivers could consider negotiating a compensation package that includes reimbursement or allocated funds for childcare. This could also serve as a negotiating chip for people who may initially press for hybrid flexible options, but are prioritizing the childcare assistance package.
Keep your options open
While remote work may have appeal in the interim, people could give themselves the option to work on-site down the road. The traditional in-person office offers a number of comparative advantages such as networking and mentorship opportunities. Leaving the door open for the occasional on-site workday could be a great move if your priorities change in the future.
Meals for the remote office
During negotiations, it's important to make sure remote workers aren't forgetting to include benefits readily allocated to on-site workers. For example, fully loaded snack rooms are a popular on-site perk at many offices. As part of a remote work package, telecommuters could consider opting for a WFH meal plan of sorts to cover lunches. While you might not be able to cover your entire grocery list, the occasional work perk lunch could be in the cards.
SEE: Juggling remote work with kids' education is a mammoth task. Here's how employers can help (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Getting what you want during negotiations
Think it through
Before negotiations begin, people should have honest, introspective conversations about their wants and needs with a long-term remote work arrangement. During these negotiations, professionals have the opportunity to craft an ideal arrangement to better support them professionally, personally and enable a healthier work-life balance. Before meeting with your employer, spend a few days thinking it through and perhaps discussing these ideas with a trusted partner, friend or colleague.
Prioritize your list
It's also important to have a clear understanding of the perks you definitely want and those you could live without. Having a mental list of these prioritized benefits will allow you to be firm on some topics while using less-important perks as trade chips to leave on the negotiating table.
State your case confidently
It's also important for people to clearly and confidently state their case during the negotiation process. Rather than passively asking or requesting a specific perk, consider making direct statements about the remote work benefits you want as part of any new telecommuting arrangement. This could put people in a better position with more leverage during negotiations.
Play the long game
While some remote work negotiations may only take a few minutes to satisfy both parties, other conversations may require more time. That said, professionals should bear in mind that the process may take more than one or even two sit-downs before all sides can agree to these new terms. If a particular perk is met with heavy resistance, consider placing this item to the side for the time being and focus on other benefits on your list. You can always come back to this sticking point later in the discussion or try a new tactic when presenting the idea the next time around.
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