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Q: I just got offered my family home, but it’s out of state. I’m currently in a hybrid work environment. How should I approach my manager about possibly going fully remote so I can move out of state and still keep my job?
A: Congratulations on being offered a property. I’m sure you are handling all of your legal issues so that your offer doesn’t cause financial or family problems. This kind of financial incentive to move out of state is something you can’t overlook. Hopefully, you’re an employee in very good standing and your manager is aware of your skills and contributions, as well your ability to work independently with little supervision. If that is not the case, the conversation with your manager will be difficult. In either case, you want to do some preparation for your conversation. Part of this will be documenting examples of the skills and abilities of greatest value. Additionally, you should make a detailed account of your accomplishments, including your visible contributions over the last few years, any and all review information you may have (performance review about how self-motivated, independent, and self-managed you are), successes you have had, and your ability to work with little direction while keeping you manager dutifully informed. The more examples you have, the more they will influence the decision you manager makes in terms of your ability to work entirely remotely.
After you’ve completed all your necessary preparations, set up a time to meet with your manager and let them know that you’d like to talk about your future with the organization. Your hope is that your manager would be concerned about you possibly leaving and that they would not want you to do so. Explain to your manager that you’ve been given a fantastic opportunity to own a property that was given to you, but it’s out of commuting range. Additionally, explain that you want to stay with the organization and continue your career path, but this would mean you would have to work 100% virtually. It is critical for you to explain that you would like feedback from manager about this situation, as it will take a collaborative effort to work through this challenge. If the manager isn’t sure whether the business will allow you to work 100% remotely, that’s where you come in and provide the materials you’ve prepared, understanding that your boss might need to take it to a higher level of management and to human resources. Documented achievements, abilities, and successes are key to have during this conversation, especially if your manager has to go through higher channels to get you an answer. Some of these individuals your manager may go to won’t have the same day-to-day interactions with you, so having documentation will help your manager sell the idea and provide the data senior leaders will need to make a decision. You want to let everyone in the process know your willingness to cooperate with any sort of return to the office on some sort of schedule. If you’ve done all your due diligence, wait for feedback and let the manager know you’d be willing to talk to others in the organization if necessary.
Companies get nervous about making individual decisions for employees since there is a common thought that everyone in the organization is entitled to the same benefits. However, this is not the case. At times, and especially in this unique circumstance, it does come down to the individual. If you’ve done a good job self-managing, you should be able to continue doing that despite your geographical change. There are some impacts on the business that most employees aren’t aware of and don’t think of. One of which is that businesses that have employees in other states means that the company has to file taxes in other states. If your organization already has out-of-state employees or activities, this isn’t a significant hardship. But if no one lives out of state and they are in a singular location, they may consider your remote situation as a hardship. It is important for you to find out realities and to be aware of the impact your move may have on the organization.
You didn’t mention whether your hybrid schedule is one day a week or more. Depending on your current schedule, you might be able to talk about coming in once a quarter if the distance is reasonable, or annually if the distance is a bit more of a hardship. There are times where people just want to see your face even if it’s just at a holiday party, a team-building event, or an important meeting where your colleagues would all be coming together in person. Additionally, if your distance is so great that there is a major difference in time between your office and your new location, you can let your manager know you’d be happy to work around that by either extending your hours to your own time frame or adjusting your hours to the hours of the organization.
In the end, one of the most important things you can do to leverage yourself is to let your manager know that your plan is to stay with the organization long term. Companies are afraid that they will lose an employee if they move, so dedicating yourself to the job will help to alleviate that fear. I wish you the very best, and good luck in your new home!
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