You’re name is associated with excellence, you know exactly what you want, and you have a habit of gratitude, consciously making the best of what you are given. You are primed to design your work life so that it seamlessly integrates with your purpose and sustains your family life, personal development, and health.
The rest of this series is about options. There are literally dozens, but we will discuss a few of the frequent escape routes so that you can begin to identify which will work best for you and get creative in how to reach your goals.
The Remote Work Arrangement: I like my job, but the commute and time away from family isn’t working.
This option makes the best of what you already have and makes it better. Since you have already accomplished excellence at what you do, making yourself invaluable to your company, it’s time to negotiate.
The remote work arrangement is ideal for anyone whose work can be accomplished anywhere, given a high-speed internet connection and a phone. However, even if your job is people oriented, you should still consider how an injection of creative scheduling or more efficient use of your time in the office could result in less time at the office. Perhaps you could tackle documentation or reporting on Fridays, saving that commute time to play with your kids or hit the slopes.
1. Ensure your boss sees you as invaluable. While you have been focused on excellence, have you made your supervisor aware of your accomplishments? If not, pause and spend a few weeks demonstrating your value.
2. Start with small concessions. Ask for a long weekend, working remotely on Monday from home or at the nearby coffee shop. You are building credibility so that your boss trusts that you will be productive when you aren’t around to be checked on (read: interrupted). Be sure to check in several times when you are off-site initially to demonstrate availability. Always give your boss an out – if it doesn’t work for him, you’ll be right back in the office.
3. Show results. When you do get that pilot remote day, prepare ahead of time to be as productive as possible and in a noticeable way. Finish a big project that your boss is looking forward to or complete 10 widgets instead of your average 5. This is also your opportunity to experiment with how quickly you can get your work done when you are off-site.
4. Leverage your results. If all goes as planned, ask for a long period of off-site work to test the water and put this plan into high-gear. Use opportunities to cover your experiment with a reasonable request. If a family member is sick, work from home for the week. Or request a week off-site in order to maintain focus and finish a large project that your boss is eager to have completed.
As you demonstrate your increased productivity and higher quality results to your boss on several pilot off-site days and weeks, you build leverage to become less and less attached to the office. You may also get to the point where your boss agrees that you don’t need to be present for all of those boring meetings since you can produce significant outcomes if you allocate that time to your work.
Some of you will want to work toward full remote agreements where all of your work is conducted off-site and you Skype into meetings when absolutely necessary. This can create an enormous amount of freedom to travel, build a side-business, or simply enjoy the better parts of life that you have been neglecting.
Others will only be able to shoot for reduced hours in the office and one or two permanent off-site days each week due to the nature of their job. However, this may be all you need to gain more fulfillment from your work while balancing important priorities such as family or hobbies. It may also simply be the first step to completely escaping by affording you the time and mobility to prepare for a different route.
If you implement all of the above groundwork and your boss is simply anti-remote work (or you work for a company like Yahoo! that has actually put the “NO” in policy), you know what you want, don’t settle. It’s now time to implement one of the other escape routes or leverage your way into a better job with a more open-minded employer.
Tip: (insight from The 4-Hour Workweek) As you are adjusting your schedule, try to spend Mondays off-site and be in the office on Fridays instead. Fridays are always more casual and most meetings are scheduled earlier in the week. Mondays are ripe for frequent interruptions as your boss and colleagues shift back to work from the weekend.
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it.
– Timothy Ferriss, The 4-hour Workweek
What step in the grand escape plan are you on and could you take it further to reach your goals?