Negotiating anything in life can be a hard and daunting task. Maybe you’re itching to get back into the office, maybe you’re cautious about returning, or maybe you’ve found a new love for working from home! If that’s the case, how do you negotiate with your employer to let you continue to work from home when everyone else goes back? SBX Guest Blog Contributor Fotini Iconomopoulos, expert negotiator and keynote speaker, recently wrote for Medium.com on how to negotiate your ideal work situation. 

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Another month, another COVID-19 re-opening stage. Many are excited about getting the heck away from the home office and back into civilization, but others are… not so eager.

Maybe you’re not ready just yet or maybe you want this arrangement to become permanent. No matter the situation, there are things that you can do that will help you in your negotiation with your employer. In fact, I’ve been helping folks with employer negotiations like these for years and COVID-19 just made working from home requests a lot easier-you’ve been trialing this (hopefully successfully) for months!

If you were listening to some of my early COVID shutdown webinars then you’ve likely been following my advice about keeping track of the successes and wins you’ve had while working from home and laying the groundwork by dropping them into your conversations regularly. If you haven’t, you can make up for it with the steps below:

1. Position yourself for success

Before you even propose continuing working from home make sure you make your employer aware of how well it’s been going. How did you make the transition seamless with your team? Did you increase productivity? Any big wins to bring up (despite the chaos)? Have you been more accessible without fighting traffic? If you have some quantitative results, even better. The more positive things you have to share about this remote work experience the harder it will be for them to deny your request.

2. Consider it from their perspective

‘They’ are both your peers and your employer. Consider how your remote work will affect others. If you think they might have some objections consider those now so you can address them and handle them before your employer has a chance to raise them. You’ll be acknowledging their concerns and building trust. Especially if you have solutions or learnings for their concerns.

3. Share testimonials and best practices

You already brought up some benefits earlier and now you can use the social smell of what others are doing and how they’re doing it successfully. Share testimonials from colleagues, clients, other departments if you’ve got them. Other industry leaders and organizations who have already declared that remote work will be around for a while are a great way to use peer pressure to your advantage. A company with similarities to you will be most compelling (don’t pick some culture that seems like apples to oranges to them).

4. Be specific

Proposing a trial is usually an easy way to success (as it usually bring enough momentum to continue down that path) and you just had a lengthy trial run to work to your advantage. If you’ve figured out a formula for success this is the time to lay out the plan. If it’s x number of days per week/month in the office, a rhythm of regular meetings or communication, specific working hours, or any other process that has made this a successful trial, this is the time to spell it out.

5. Ask questions

Questions always come up because carefully crafted ones will get the others to convince themselves and make things less adversarial. Asking questions is something you also need to be prepared with in case you get resistance. Dig deeper than what they’re saying at face value. ‘How’ or ‘what’ questions are always my favorites: “how can we adjust this plan to make you more comfortable? What specifically about this is important to you?” Be ready to get them into problem solving mode before you just give up.

As I’ve said before, negotiations don’t have to be combative. Implementing a few of the tips above will make it a discussion instead of a boxing match.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fotini Iconomopoulos

Fotini Iconomopoulos is an award-winning negotiation consultant, keynote speaker and MBA instructor based in Toronto. She works with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to small business entrepreneurs to help them achieve their goals. She is regularly featured in the media and Harper Collins will be releasing her book in March 2021. Her father unknowingly influenced her career path at the age of 6 when he nicknamed her “the negotiator.” You can learn more about her work and find more of her tips at www.fotiniicon.com.

Want to see and hear more of Fotini? Catch her in our upcoming Women In Biz CNNX Group on September 10th where she tells you about her negotiation war stories and how she overcame gender and age discrimination to go on to be the expert that Fortune 500 executives seek out for their high stakes scenarios.

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