An exec shared the email an employee sent him asking to work from home permanently — and why he said yes

mother working from home

Stephen Light is co-owner and chief marketing officer of Nolah Mattress, a Denver-based online mattress company. He manages 20 full-time staffers and contractors, all of whom worked remotely during the pandemic — but Light told Insider he asked employees to return to the office after enforcing safety protocols.

headshot of Stephen Light

Many agreed to return, he said, and only a few people asked to continue working remotely. One employee who wanted to set up a permanent work-from-home schedule reached out to him via email.

Here’s the note Light received (The following has been edited for clarity and to protect the identity of the worker):

Hi Stephen, 

I’m writing to express my difficulty in handling work and personal responsibilities. The recent events regarding [redacted] made it difficult for me to focus on working onsite. My current performance review rating is an excellent example of its effect. 

When the team was working remotely during the pandemic, it was easier to manage my problem without affecting work. My remote performance was similar to my pre-pandemic self, so I can assure you that my productivity will remain unaffected in the remote work arrangement. 

In line with that, I’m proposing a hybrid work schedule to continue working for our company while simultaneously addressing said problem. The hybrid work schedule requires me to report on Mondays for the team’s weekly meeting and remotely for the rest of the week. In this setup, it is easier for me to discuss with the team in person. However, I can also report in the office on request, or if necessary, so my proposed schedule is highly flexible — I’m only requesting a 24-hour notice to prepare. 

The company can lower its overhead costs on utilities, pantry items, air conditioning, and cleaning since I’m only reporting on site on certain days. I’m also willing to shoulder the expenses for my home office, but I’m open to a different setup if the company wants to reimburse me. 

I want to continue working for the company — it already became my second home, but my problem might be impossible to handle if I work on site. The hybrid setup will be a life-saver, and it will make it possible to manage my work responsibilities and problem.

I want to meet with you to discuss this matter personally. Let me know what date and time work for you.

Cheers,

[Name]

Light was impressed.

"Afterward, we talked," he said, adding that the employee started working remotely the week after.

Light said the letter ticked all the boxes because it included these three elements: 

Performance assurance

Performance-related issues are often the biggest obstacle in getting approved for remote work, Light noted, so address them by reassuring management that your productivity won’t be affected.

"It helps to compare your performance reviews before and during the remote-work setup to prove their consistent or improved performance," Light said.

A proposed hybrid schedule that works for the employee, their family, and the company 

Light said that while some jobs are doable in a 100% remote setup, some simply aren’t.

"Their proposal included that they will still report to work for the weekly meetings, making it easier to discuss critical issues in person," Light said.

He also suggested arranging a gradual transition so it’s easier for you and your team to experiment on how to work more effectively.

An outline of the benefits the company can expect

List all of the benefits of the remote setup for your company as well as you.

"These could range from the reduced overhead expenses to improved employee satisfaction," Light said.

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Robin Madell July 14, 2021 at 07:30PM

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