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How to Negotiate a Flexible Return to the Office


How to Negotiate a Flexible Return to the Office

Many of those working from home during quarantine are now being asked to return to the office. But how do you talk to your manager if you don’t want to go back in?

The pandemic forced physical coworking spaces to temporarily shutter, and for many employees the transition from working in an office to working from home was abrupt. However, many of us have adapted to working from home—and what may have seemed unfamiliar at first now feels more routine. And until a Covid-19 vaccine is widely available, office re-entry carries both measured and unknown risks.

Karen Mattison, a flexible working consultant and co-founder of Timewise, offers advice on how to enter a negotiation with your manager for an alternative working arrangement during this crisis.

Tips for negotiating flexible work:
1. See things from your manager’s perspective. They’re most likely under a lot of stress during this time, so your goal is to make this difficult transition smoother for them as well as for yourself.
2. Take the time to practice. Role-play with a friend or someone in your network who’s a manager. You can even record your sessions so you can replay them later and workshop what you could have said differently during the scenarios.
3. Avoid going into the negotiation with an apology, a wishlist of your needs, or all the reasons why you need a different work arrangement. These approaches instantly put you in a “down position” and weakens your leverage. Instead, go into the conversation with a proposed solution and explain how it’s beneficial to your manager and to your company.
4. Know before going into the negotiation where you are willing to compromise and where your dealbreakers lie.
5. Trust is paramount. Success lies in the strength of your core relationship with your manager. Use it to your advantage.

Learn more about Karen Mattison:


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