It is easy and not wrong to say that professional life has changed drastically and probably permanently too. Lots of us do NOT want to go back ‘normal’ once lockdown ends. So how do procurement professionals negotiate a new Work From Home arrangement – that works for them and their employer?
We are starting to get used to the ‘new normal’…. and after an initial reluctance, most of us are embracing the idea of a new way of life.
Yes, we do want some aspects of “normal” life to return. But we don’t actually want to go back to life as it was.
One area where we are yearning for change is work … or more importantly the ability to work from home and/or more flexibly now that we have put the systems in place, mastered video conferencing and created our own home-office environments.
So, if you want a different type of working life, you need to build trust with manager: meet your deadlines, exceed expectations, continue to work collaboratively and show that you can excel at online meetings and conference calls. Do not give your manager any excuses to say Work From Home does not work – and that you have to return to your place of work.
The best way to tackle this negotiation is like any business negotiation (as a procurement professional you already have the skills). So be clear about what you want to achieve, build a compelling case and then make a persuasive argument.
STEP 1: Prove it’s the best way forward
Seven in ten staff who are working remotely for the first time as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, felt they were either more or equally productive as a result (despite the unique challenges of slow internet speeds, homeschooling and hours queuing to purchase life’s necessities).
So, working from home does work. Just make sure you have the data to support your argument and include this information in your flexible working request. It will make it far harder for your line manager to refuse…and also help you prove to yourself that you CAN do this.
TIP: Make this data easy to assimilate by churning the figures – I wrote five more pitches every week, responded to 15% more enquiries per day, set up an online meeting with a new supplier and negotiated a contract remotely etc… It is much harder to argue with facts.
STEP 2: What do you really want?
As with any negotiation, you need to have a clear goal. Perhaps Work From Home 5 days-a-week will seem too isolating (or impractical), so do you want 3 days in the office, 2 days at home?
Also, if you are likely to fall into the category of being asked to work more flexibly (social distancing is going to last for some time, so you may not actually be welcome in the office), you need to work out what works for you. If you crave the stimulation of an office environment at least part of the week, make sure your employer knows that Work From Home permanently is a deal breaker… and let’s face it we all find it difficult to be home 24/7 with family rows over internet usage.
STEP 3: Present a solution, not a problem
The financial implications of Covid-19 mean that organizations will be looking to shed staff and cut overheads. One of the most obvious cost savings is premises – with predictions that there will be a huge shrinkage in office floor space even after the world gets back to work.
So, highlight the savings on office overheads from sharing space, hotdesking or remote working.
Another way to save money – and potentially save your job – is to offer to work a reduced working week.
Yes, it will mean a pro rata salary (a 20% pay cut if you move to a 4 day-week), however if the coronavirus has taught us one thing, it is to value having less while enjoying more time with those we love.
If you no longer have to afford two holidays a year (it might be difficult if there are travel restrictions for some time to come), are saving a fortune on eating out (more of us are becoming proficient home chefs) and spending less on grooming (who else is embracing a more natural look?), you might be able to take that pay cut.
STEP 4: What do you need to make it work?
There is no point asking to work flexibly if the office can’t get hold of you, conference calls keep cutting out and your presentations no longer look professional.
So, you need the right tools. That includes the right tech (laptop, software, printer and an upgraded internet connection). Also discuss insurance (this might cost more if you have expensive equipment at home), the extra costs of running your home office (electricity) and an allowance for things like stationery, printer ink and other office supplies.
It was and still is a challenging time for everyone but things are slowly getting back to normal. And this normal not so normal anymore. As well for employers and employees. Being empathic and communicate with each others will solve lots of questions. If there’s anything we can do to help you get back on track in the new normal, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Source: Procurious HQ on 14/05/2020 12:48 “Happy at home alone? 5 ways to negotiate your new normal – procurement news”, https://www.procurious.com/procurement-news/5-ways-to-negotiate-your-new-normal