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How to negotiate continuing to work from home post-pandemic


(NEW YORK) — Millions of workers were forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in a massive and unexpected WFM reality for the past 16 months.

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and lockdown restrictions are being lifted, many employers are calling their teams back to the office, while many employees hope to continue to work remotely.

In many cases, the flexibility employees are allowed will depend on the industries in which they work.

Top technology companies like Facebook and Twitter, for instance, are giving employees the flexibility to work remotely, while major banks, like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, are calling all employees back to the office.

Overall, the top industries for remote work are customer service, computer and information technology, education and training and marketing, according to an analysis by FlexJobs, an online job site for flexible job opportunities.

For employees who want to stay remote even as coworkers return to the office, there are ways to negotiate a more flexible post-pandemic work arrangement, according to Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News’ chief business, technology and economics correspondent.

“A lot of people are going to be in this in-between situation,” Jarvis said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” “How you play it can really affect and impact the outcome for you and your family.”

Here are seven tips from Jarvis to negotiate a work-from-home position.

1. Review company policy: “Does the company offer remote work? If they do, you’re in luck. That makes it a much easier conversation. If they don’t, you have to really prepare for a more complicated situation,” said Jarvis.

2. Assess your job function: “Look at your work,” said Jarvis. “What are the hours you work? What’s your job function? How do you communicate with the rest of employees, including your manager? You want to put together a plan that could work for you.”

3. Meet with your manager: Jarvis recommends setting a meeting well in advance: “Be prepared with your sheet of paper ready to go, talking through the points.”

4. Consider how working remotely will benefit the company: “This is not about convincing your boss that you need to work from home. This is about convincing your boss that you working from home is going to benefit the company,” said Jarvis, adding as an example, “Maybe you have a two-hour commute and you could work during that two-hour commute.”

5. Be prepared to hear no and have options: “If you hear no, you have a couple of options. One, you can offer to do this temporarily. Let’s see how one month goes and see if that works or not. Two, you might have to be willing to leave your job for something else if work from home is not a possibility for your company,” said Jarvis.

6. Be prepared for restrictions and changes: “A lot of companies that are now offering work-from-home say you still have to be in a specific city, state, or country, location, [and] that can make an impact,” she said, noting that WFM policies may also be subject to change over the next weeks, months and years.

7. Don’t lose out on face time: “Face time is always important when it comes to the workplace,” said Jarvis. “Make sure you’re communicating still with your managers and the people who will give you promotions in the future.”

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