As stay-at-home orders from the Covid-19 pandemic begin to lift, you may not feel comfortable going back into the office just yet. If you do not have the authority to determine when you return and if you are concerned, you can speak up and say something to your boss. Here are five steps to consider that might help you continue working from home during the pandemic:
1. Read and listen to the information your organization is sharing about the measures they are taking in response to the public health crisis.
If your organization has prepared a plan for employees to ease back into the workplace, read it - listen and participate in any webinars. The information may allay your fears about returning to work or may even mention an option to continue working from home. If so, you do not need to ask you manager to continue working from home. Don’t raise an issue with your manager that may not be as issue to begin with.
2. Inquire about what the organization is doing at the office to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
If the materials distributed by your company are unclear or do not address your concerns, ask questions. If the contact information of a company representative for COVID-19 related issues is shared, consider reaching out to that person and asking if they would clarify the steps and measures they are taking amid the pandemic. Gather and understand as much information as you can before approaching your manager so that you are informed.
3. Express your concern over health and safety.
It is important to be familiar with your company’s current policies and procedures because this information may hedge your worries and, in turn, eliminate the need for you to express your concerns. If you still have concerns, this is the time you might want to say something to your boss; particularly, if you have a comorbidity along with the virus. While you do not have to share specifics about a medical condition, consider mentioning, if you feel comfortable. Doing so may prompt your manager to think that it might be best that you (and possibly others) continue to work from home. Expressing your concern may eliminate the need for you to ask if you can work from home.
4. Ask your manager if you can continue to work from home.
If your boss does not offer the option of continuing to work from home, this is your time to ask. You might say during your discussion with your manager, “Might I be able to continue working from home?”
5. Prove to your manager that you are productive and effective, working from home.
If your office has opened up but you have permission to continue working from home, you need to prove that you are equally as capable to complete the work remotely. Communicate the work that you have accomplished and your successes, by video conference, telephone, email or a combination of these tools. When working remotely, it is particularly important to communicate your accomplishments. Don’t assume that your manager knows what you are doing and what you have completed. "Overcommunicating" can be key when you're not live and in-person.
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