Don’t want to go back to the office? What to consider before quitting your job

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Employees are welcomed back to work with breakfast in the Google Chicago office cafeteria on April 5, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

With summer winding down, more and more companies are requiring employees to be in the office for a specified number of days a week, and this time – with the pandemic flare-ups smaller – employers seem serious about sticking to the rules. politics. But workers who want more flexibility may have room for negotiation. Or, they can always quit.

While companies would like workers to be in the office more often, from one to five days, there are competitive realities to manage. If one company doesn’t want to be flexible, there’s another that probably will, say HR professionals.

“One of the biggest changes in recent years is that fully remote working has grown and, compared to the pre-pandemic period, remote working policies are becoming much more common,” Toni said. Frana, Career Services Manager at job search site FlexJobs. “The most recent surveys and data collected show that employees and managers agree that remote working is beneficial and productive, and many people want to continue using it to some degree.”

Here’s what you need to know to effectively negotiate this untested career situation:

Don’t be afraid to have the conversation

An August survey by Workhuman indicates that 48.8% of workers return to the office full-time. However, there has been a lot of backlash about returning full-time, or even part-time, especially given rising gas prices which are dramatically increasing the cost of travel.

The good news is that amid shifting workplace trends brought on by the pandemic, more companies are willing to consider remote work and workers shouldn’t be afraid to bring up the subject with their manager. “Before, there was a reluctance to have these conversations. The pandemic has eliminated that because everyone is asking for it,” said Steve Pemberton, director of human resources at Workhuman, an employee recognition and management technology company. human capital.

Notably, a 2021 survey from FlexJobs found that 65% of respondents want to remain full-time remote workers. More than half – 58% – said they would “absolutely” look for a new job if they couldn’t continue working from home after the pandemic. Another FlexJobs survey, conducted in February and March, found that working remotely was the second most valued employee perk, behind salary alone. In addition to the difficulty of hiring, companies have an even greater incentive to be flexible.

Even companies that initially said they wanted their employees back five days a week have in many cases backtracked, said Annie Rosencrans, US director of people and culture at platform provider HiBob. of human resources.

The risk of adopting a hard line pushes the best talent out the door. “You have to be prepared to lose people to this,” Rosencrans said.

Prepare for the negotiation table

Before having a conversation with your employer, know your market value and potential options outside the organization, says Angie Bergner, vice president of human resources and business operations at Veris Insights, a human resources consulting firm. .

With the job market remaining hot, despite some signs of cooling, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees remain in high demand. Additionally, there are a growing number of options for businesses that offer great flexibility. FlexJobs noted a 22% increase in remote jobs between the second half of 2021 and the first half of 2022, with several companies, including 3M, Airbnb and Reddit, now offering remote work as a permanent option.

Also determine the work flexibility you are looking for and the types you need or want. Are you looking for remote work, part-time schedule, flexible hours or something else? “It’s not an all or nothing proposition, so be prepared to be flexible and be prepared to negotiate this with your boss,” Frana said.

Even if a company is initially hesitant to negotiate, there may be other options. Perhaps there is another role in the company that could adapt to remote work. Some companies might be open to the idea, especially since 67% of American workers say they would rather change jobs internally than leave their company, according to a recent MagnifyMoney survey.

Or, if the company is taking a phased approach to bringing employees back to the office, you can ask to be part of the later groups, Frana said. “It will give your business more time to see what works and what doesn’t – and you more time to negotiate.”

Focus on the benefits

When talking to their manager, employees should try to give concrete examples to justify their request for more flexibility. Explain, for example, that you’ve been with the company for five years and your productivity has remained high, or even better, at home. Ideally, you will have supporting data to illustrate the positive increase in your productivity. If the long commute is an issue, you can also explain how having that extra hour and a half to two hours each day will result in extra work time.

Employees hoping for more flexibility in their workweek “must first show that they can produce the same or more work outcome, and give specific reasons why the work environment contributes to the end result,” a said Austin Flajser, president and CEO of The Carr Companies, a provider of flexible, short-term coworking spaces.

An employee’s request to continue working remotely doesn’t have to be a long, detailed proposal, but it can be helpful to put something in writing to make it official. It also shows that you’ve put a lot of thought into the request, Frana said.

Be prepared not to

While many employers may be willing to be flexible, not all companies will. Sometimes it can depend on the industry and the role within the organization. Trying to force IT staff into the office full-time is a losing proposition, Pemberton said. On the other hand, he knows of a biotechnology company that is able to enforce its internal mandate given the lack of comparable employment options.

Asking for more flexibility is always better than taking matters into your own hands and flouting company policy, but if a company isn’t willing to negotiate, employees may have to be willing to look elsewhere.

“The employee needs to understand that the answer might be no and be ready to go if flexibility is really that important,” Bergner said.

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