Attaining A Remote Work Arrangement

In my last post I shared how although my job is in NYC, I will be working remotely for six months and moving in with my girlfriend in the Midwest. It is an exciting time, of which I spend a lot of figuring out the logistics of the move (which will take place in May) and what to do with all my stuff. I am currently in the process of going through my belongings and donating, throwing away, and selling things (cha-ching!).

Let’s take a step back and talk about how I was able to convince my employer to allow me to do this. I’m going to be fully transparent when I say it took a little bit of skill and a lot of luck to make this happen. To be considered for a remote work arrangement, I think you and your job need to meet certain criteria.

Do a majority of your work from a laptop. In my line of work I spend 95% of my time staring at my laptop. We even do conference calls from out laptops now and don’t even have to pick up the phone! If you’re a plumber, carpenter, or high school teacher, it is very highly unlikely for you to get a remote work arrangement for this reason. In my line of work I travel once a month on average and this will allow me to catch up with coworkers on a regular basis to ensure they know I’m still around. If work or clients don’t sponsor trips like this, it can be harder to have real life face-time with your coworkers and bosses.

Be highly rated and respected at work. Let’s face it if you’re the average worker just punching the clock, it’s less likely your boss would approve something like this. I don’t plan on my career lasting until I’m 65, so I don’t see a point in wasting my time now coasting by. I try to show that I care about work and exceed expectations. This allows me to get away with certain things that some coworkers may not. It gets me more autonomy, more paid for lunches and dinners, and apparently a six month remote work arrangement.

Convey to your boss that your performance will remain the same. Some people have a bad perception of remote work arrangements. Maybe people think you’re just going to sit on your ass all day in your pajamas and get nothing done. I actually do great work when I’m not at the office since I don’t have many distractions. I made sure to convey that my work product would not change at all. My boss did voice concern about my ability to develop those in the ranks below, but I assured that this would not be an issue.

Have a good boss or one who seems to care somewhat about your well being. I’m quite friendly with my main boss. Me working for him wasn’t exactly random. I knew I liked the guy and working on his projects, so once I had the opportunity to work for him, I made sure to do a bang-up job so that he’d keep me around and it’s definitely paid off. He’s a family man and values his time out of the office, and therefore seems to value mine as well. If I was consistently working on projects for the people who eat, sleep, and breath for working at the office, they probably wouldn’t have been as supportive. Some people think that you don’t have any control over who you report to in your career, but I’ve found out with careful planning and some effort, this can be managed to your benefit.

Get lucky! I understand this isn’t an option for everyone and realize that luck did play a role, and for that I’m very grateful.

After the fact I did some reflecting on how I actually presented this idea to my boss. In hindsight I realize I didn’t really ask permission. I had been trying to meet with him live for over a week but he was traveling, so the first thing I did when I caught him in his office was joke that I wasn’t putting in my two weeks to lighten the mood. I laid out my plan for working remotely from my girlfriend’s (he knew I was in a long distance relationship) and assured him we could make it work, that my performance would remain high, and that this was something personal I needed to do. He voiced a couple BS concerns of which I countered, and then he voiced his support. I wonder if my outcome would have been different if I walked in and asked his permission instead…

Do you work remotely? If so, how did you negotiate that arrangement? If not, what is keeping you from asking/telling your employer this is what you would like to do?

38 thoughts on “Attaining A Remote Work Arrangement

    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Ewww pay cuts are not fun. I’m sure you’ll find something, especially in your line of work.

      Reply
  1. Mr. PIE

    Love the bold approach.

    If you don’t ask, you don’t get….. we only regret the things we didn’t do…..

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a realistic option to work remotely full time although I do take advantage of running countless telecons from home base. That works very well for our schedules.

    The joking/fun approach is maybe what your natural instinct was telling you and that rarely lets us down.

    Good for you.
    Mr. PIE recently posted…Grass Fed Dry Aged Ribeye SteakMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Mr. PIE. Yeah I went into his office doing what I felt would get the job done, not what I “should” do 🙂

      Reply
  2. Investment Hunting

    I agree there is some luck and timing involved in a situation like this. But, your point is the most important, you need to be trusted and valued. Opportunities come along like this to those who deserve and have earned it. Nice work.
    Investment Hunting recently posted…Visa Stock BuyMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I’ve noticed in my profession, if you sit-down, shut-up, and just work, you’re the one that gets looked over for the good opportunities. You have to speak up to get what you want, and that has worked so far to my benefit in my career.

      Reply
  3. Mrs.PIE

    Congrats on a successful negotiation! I wholeheartedly agree with all of your points. I have had a similar experience in asking for what I want, and at the same time backing it up with ‘here’s how it’s going to work’.
    After the birth of our first son, I requested a reduced schedule of 4 days a week. I had done my research into company policy on the matter. I suggested that it was a 6 month trial and that my manager and I reassessed the situation, and I gave examples of how I was going to manage scheduling and my direct report. That was 9 years ago now and I’m still on a 4 day week!
    As for working from home, unless I build a lab in the basement – Breaking Bad style – I’m tied to my workplace and my commute!
    Mrs.PIE recently posted…Grass Fed Dry Aged Ribeye SteakMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Mrs. PIE! That’s awesome you’re going 9 years strong on a 4-day workweek! I’ll be interested to see what I come up with after the 6 months, because moving to NYC area isn’t really in my life’s cards 🙂

      Reply
  4. Steven

    FF that’s fantastic. I have been slowly working towards this goal of working remotely, very few in our office are allowed to do so, but little by little I think I’m chipping away or at least applying to positions that will allow this. If you are ever near Chicago feel free to reach out and we can grab a coffee, beer, etc.

    Also on a related note I was in a long distance relationship and decided to go check if it would work as well…..coming up on married 5 years so I wish the best in your adventure!
    Steven recently posted…Money Fight: When Should You Talk With Your Spouse About a Purchase?My Profile

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I was in Chicago back in December and was going to reach out, but then a client messed everything up and cut my trip short. Next time for sure!

      Reply
  5. Amber Tree

    Great move that you have made. And the reasons not to get it are so true and present.

    Living in Belgium, everything is close by. I work from home when it suits me. I now try to do it every Thursday afternoon. It is a great feeling to be able to do this. I agree with you: your performance should stay the same as before. If you,do that, the arrangement can last a long time.
    Amber Tree recently posted…Recent Buy: SolvayMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      That’s great that you’re able to do that! Flexibility in your job is huge for personal well being and not getting burnt out in my opinion.

      Reply
  6. The Personal Economist

    These are great suggestions. I work part time (4 days over 5) and on 2 of those days I work from home. Our company has a flexibility policy which means you can formally apply for it but it is at their discretion. We also can video conference through our laptops and share screens. The other thing I’d add is the saving for them as they don’t need a permanent desk for you.
    I save 45 mins commuting each way and agree I get more work done as I don’t have distractions.

    Reply
  7. Steve @ ThinkSaveRetire

    I work 100% remote, and it is pretty much the best damn thing ever. I couldn’t imagine commuting into an office anymore and dealing with office politics on top of everything else. The ability to manage your own time absolutely skyrockets. I’m at the gym at 11am every morning instead of at 5:30pm when the after-work crowd is all there at the same time. It’s just great, and I know that you’ll thoroughly love the freedom and flexibility that you will have.

    I didn’t have to negotiate, really. In my line of work (IT), work can be done from anywhere so long as you have an internet connection, which I most certainly do. It was part of the job going in. They asked me if I had previous experience working from home (which I didn’t) and wanted to make sure that I was confident that I’d be able to appropriately manage my own time and stay on task.

    If you can figure that part out, you’re golden!
    Steve @ ThinkSaveRetire recently posted…Question time: Would you ever downsize this much?My Profile

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I’m thinking of changing my gym schedule as well with the move. Right now I go at about 8pm which can be annoying. I might try for the morning but not sure it’s going to work for me personally.

      I work from home anywhere from 1 to 3 days a week right now, so I’m sure I’ll slide right into the routine 🙂

      Reply
  8. The Jolly Ledger

    (1) Do majority of work from a laptop. Check. No meetings, no supervisor duties. I am strictly a technical hand.
    (2) Highly rated and respected at work. Check. At least I think so, my evaluations are ridiculously good.
    (3) Convey that your performance will stay the same. Yep. Done this and then some on the rare opportunities I have been given.
    (4) Have a good boss. I have a great boss, but this is where it gets tricky. He has no power and his boss is a real jerk.
    (5) Get lucky! No such luck here. Bummer.
    My situation has to do with the perception of equality in the workplace and management not wanting it to be perceived that a favor has been done. The good news…I only have five more years of making the 150 mile RT commute!

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Maybe I should have added “have a boss that has some pull.” My boss had the power to make this happen for me which was huge. Him vouching for me was enough to get the job done. That’s a HECK of a long commute TJL! Hope you get a remote work arrangement soon.

      Reply
  9. Our Next Life

    All solid advice! And once you’re working remotely, I would add: Overcommunicate about what you’re doing. There is a tendency for people to assume, if they can’t see you, that you’re not doing anything. So providing updates in a bunch of ways helps people see that you’re still just as productive a member of the team or company as you were before — or, more likely, more productive, since you’re probably doing fewer meetings from your remote location! It took me a good year to get good at working remotely, but now it’s second nature, and I almost can’t imagine going back to an office every day. A commute is such a waste of time! And the office culture breeds so much time-wasting chit-chat (although, admittedly, I miss the chit chat, too!). 🙂

    Reply
  10. Tawcan

    Being able to work remotely is HUGE! I’ve been working from home here and there and it worked great. Also worked remotely in Denmark last summer when we were there for vacation. Definitely need to show that you can get your work done remotely and that you’re a good worker.

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      I’ll make sure to do a great job these next 6 months so that they let me extend it 🙂

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks MB! It also helps out my boss has some power, is a pretty decent guy and seems to take a liking to me.

      Reply
  11. Latoya @ Femme Frugality

    I currently work remotely with my job and I absolutely love it. I’m at home full-time and my schedule is semi-flexible to accommodate for the needs of my family. I went from being a flexible worker with a laptop to working remotely full-time. It occurred over a period of about 2 years, but I eventually made it there once I proved I could maintain expectations working from a laptop.

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      That’s awesome Latoya! I’m sure your family loves that you can be around a lot more and are flexible. Take care.

      Reply
  12. Dividendsdownunder

    We are trying to work from home as quickly as possible. However, we want that to be with our blog (income soon) and perhaps other online work too. Working from home would be fantastic and is something we are trying to achieve.

    Huge congratulations on making the move a reality for you. Well done! I bet your life will improve dramatically.

    Tristan
    Dividendsdownunder recently posted…Saving for the future: AprilMy Profile

    Reply
  13. Thias @It Pays Dividends

    I’ve been thinking about trying to get my boss to give me a couple remote working days per month because I find that I do better thinking and planning work outside of the office. I think I will have a bit of a struggle though because remote working isn’t thought of as being productive at my office so I will have to ease them into it.

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      That stinks that they aren’t coming around to the new age where people can get their stuff done no matter where they are. Being in an office doesn’t magically make you productive. I think as RE prices continue to climb, employers will welcome more work from home arrangements to cut down on overhead.

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Sorry to hear that. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t left my job trying to find more money so far.

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      90% of my day is spent on my laptop and the other 10% on calls. We even review work remotely a lot of the time with team members all over the US. As I mentioned in the comment above, I think there will be a trend where employers start welcoming these type of arrangements more and more due to lower overhead costs (less office space needed).

      Reply
  14. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor

    That’s great you sold your employer on this arrangement. I’ve had jobs that were almost entirely work-from-home arrangements, and my husband works from home 1-2 days per week. We definitely like the flexibility. I think for some people it is a more productive work environment, without the small talk office conversation that’s considered part of “work.”

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Thanks Kalie. That’s great that you and your husband are able to build in some work flexibility as well. Makes work all that much more bearable 🙂

      Reply
  15. Team CF

    Glad for you that you got lucky after working hard to get this organized. Now you only have to live up to the expectations, which should not be a big problem.
    Good luck with the move this month.

    Reply
  16. Jacq

    I have the go ahead to work remotely over 4th of July so I can travel to my destination Thursday evening, work remote Friday & then enjoy. Not quite an all the time thing, but it’s a start. I have kept my productivity up, which is why my boss gave the ok. 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge