How to Negotiate Your Desired Work/Life Balance
Work-from-home finance jobs are something that many professionals desire today. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people have had a taste of the benefits of working remotely – and they like it. So much so that many are rejecting offers if it means returning to the office.
A survey in May 2021, conducted by Morning Consult for Bloomberg News, found that 4 in 10 workers would consider quitting if their employer wasn’t flexible about working from home.
In this article, we look at why insisting on working from home could be damaging for your career.
Why Companies Want Their Employees in the Office
Most companies have expressed a desire for their workers to return to the office. They have many reasons for this, and some are compelling.
Bosses have spoken about the need for their people to be together physically when brainstorming solutions. They have described the extra creativity and innovation that can be achieved by people in an office setting, able to bounce ideas off each other without needing to schedule a Zoom meeting.
Managing remote teams can be hard. While there’s no evidence of a lack of trust in employees, managers are having to control their teams differently. Instead of hours worked, output is being measured. There’s a need for more and deeper communication, too. Goal setting must be precise and clear, and communicated daily.
For many companies, the need to be in the office is dictated by visibility. When clients visit an office that is fully staffed and buzzing, it demonstrates success. An empty office can’t be viewed the same way.
You Received a Job Offer, But There’s a Problem
You’ve received a great job offer, except it means you must return to the office. And you really don’t want to. Your reasons are compelling, too:
- You feel you are more productive when working from home. You do the work when you are most energized to do so.
- You enjoy the flexibility that working from home gives you. With a young family, it’s great that you can be there for your children.
- You’ve created your home office, and it’s where you feel most at home working.
- You are fed up with the time wasted when you are commuting.
- It’s cheaper for you to work from home. No commuting costs or expensive lunches in the city.
- By working from home, you’re making less environmental impact and helping to create a more sustainable world.
- You’re still concerned about Covid-19.
- You can work anywhere.
Working from home gives you the work/life balance that was missing before. So, you’re going to insist that you don’t return to the office. You refuse the offer.
Here’s How Insisting on WFH Can Damage Your Career
You’ve stuck to your guns, and feel proud that you have. But you know what they say – pride comes before a fall. Have you made a big mistake? Here’s why you may have.
It was the offer of a lifetime. A step up in your career, with extra responsibilities and extra money, too. Not only that, but it is a company you had always coveted. The chance is now gone. Who knows when an opportunity like this will come along? Certainly not anytime soon from the company you just rejected.
Networking is an important tactic in job searching and career progress. You’ve just blown the chance to extend your network. The people you would have been working with are no longer within your grasp.
That employment gap on your resume just got a little wider. It’s going to take a little more explaining. How do you tell a potential employer that you were offered an amazing job, but rejected the offer because you weren’t willing to bend?
By not being willing to return to the office, you are reducing the openings available to you. With competition so strong for the best jobs now, you’ve slashed your chances of finding and landing a role that will enhance your career.
There Is Another Option – Negotiate a Hybrid Work Schedule
In our experience, while many companies want employees in the office, most are willing to consider a hybrid working schedule, in which you work from home part of the time, and in the office the rest of the time. They don’t want to lose out on top talent.
How can you negotiate a hybrid work schedule?
- First, be clear about why it is that you want to work from home.
- Next, consider if these reasons really mean that you cannot go to the office.
- Then, think if you can be flexible. For example, let’s say that you want to work from home because you pick the kids up from school at 4pm. But after talking with your partner, you decide that this is only necessary on Thursday and Friday – the rest of the week they can cover.
- Now, prepare your ‘script’ to remove any emotion from the negotiation. Consider different answers to your questions, and how you should respond.
- Make your negotiation about the employer, not you. Think how you can sell the idea of a hybrid work schedule by demonstrating the benefits to the employer. Explain that you understand why the company wants you in the office, and balance these objectives with your own. (“You want to maximize productivity and creativity; I’ve learned that I’m most creative in a silent environment in the early hours of the morning.”)
- Only negotiate one thing at a time. The number of days. The days of the week. Specific hours.
Flexibility Is Key to Career Progression in the New Normal
While you may want to work from home, you could be damaging your career if you are not flexible to the idea of returning to the office.
Sometimes, you might get a job offer that doesn’t appear to allow you to work from home. However, employers can accommodate those who want to work remotely. While they may not be able to hire you on a 100% remote work contract, it is certainly worth negotiating a hybrid work schedule. Especially if the offer is one that you would otherwise accept.