5 key points to negotiate before returning to the office


Free meals, return-to-office bonuses, childcare assistance, daily cash prize draws, trips to Barbados or a new Tesla– now that pandemic restrictions are coming to an end, some technology companies offer generous incentives, high-end “digs” and even new job titles to lure reluctant workers into the office.

Could this reassessment of employee rewards signal an opportunity to negotiate higher compensation or new working conditions? As with most negotiations, it depends on the circumstances. Here’s a look at the requests employers are more likely to accept (and potentially decline) to get you back into the office.

A flexible schedule

Whether you want to show up early or stay late (and leave at noon on Friday), now is the time to negotiate a more flexible work schedule, noted Sarah Dine, compensation negotiation expert at Levels.fyi.

With employers realizing that the traditional 9 am to 5 pm workday is dead, you can finally have the autonomy to work the hours that suit your personal needs, your commute, and the most productive time of the day.

“Find out what your colleagues want before you negotiate,” Dine advised. You will have more leverage if you negotiate in a group or try to find a common sense schedule that meets everyone’s needs.

Revised roles and responsibilities

If what you do every day no longer fits your job description or your passion, you are not alone. Many technologists have had to give up on extended projects and spend more time on tasks outside of their job description just to help their business survive the pandemic.

Companies are looking for ways to get employees back into the workplace, so now is a great time to negotiate “more work than you want to do,” noted Claire Wasserman, educator, author and founder of Ladies Get Paid.

Show your boss how you spent your time and remind them of your contributions and sacrifices while in lockdown. If your case is strong enough, find out about the possibility of taking it to the next level. Once you’ve mastered a new skill or a higher-level position, turn your efforts into money by negotiating a bigger raise or another job offer.

It’s also a good time to ask for changes that reduce stress and reduce operating costs. For example, ask if you can replace some in-person customer visits with video conferences or make changes to meeting times. Companies that want to attract and retain the best talent are open to new ways of working.

Career development opportunities

Employers are trying to attract employees to the office by creating a culture of inclusion in the workplace where top talent feel valued, heard and encouraged to reach their full potential, Wasserman explained. Additionally, much of the money spent on employee development, guest speakers and similar activities goes largely unused during the pandemic, creating a great opportunity to attend a class or conference.

Offering to support the company’s cultural initiatives by facilitating a coaching, online learning or on-the-job training program will increase the chances of receiving a favorable response to your professional development request. And don’t forget to take advantage of scholarships while they’re still within the company’s budget.

All-inclusive allowances

After trying to match the on-site benefits one to one when employees have moved from office to home, employers are now turning to all-inclusive allowances, paying one amount to office workers and another to remote workers, according to Amy Spurling and Linda Le Phan of Compt, a benefits management platform.

Employees returning to the office should expect to receive the same allowances they received when working from home, Le Phan noted. It is also reasonable to ask for an allowance proportional to the total value of the benefits you received before the foreclosure.

On average, employers offer health and wellness allowances of $ 50 per month to cover gym memberships, nutritionists, fitness trackers, and more. They also offer $ 200 to $ 300 per quarter to pay for train tickets, parking, meals, etc. To help you calculate a viable demand, here is a list of 121 scholarships offered by leading organizations.

A performance bonus

While wages are constantly changing, with employers struggling to use geographic location to determine wages as part of the shift to remote, hybrid, and on-site work models, now is not a good time to ask. a raise. “Don’t overestimate your game and don’t overestimate your worth,” warned David Lewis, CEO of human resources consulting firm OperationsInc.

Dine agrees. She says many big tech companies are already paying above-market wages, so they’ll likely start making cost-of-living adjustments again, at least until a new model of the workplace is fully established. The bottom line: Managers will likely refuse your request for a raise just for your return.

If you think you are underpaid for your contributions, ask for a performance bonus instead. Employers are more likely to approve a one-time payment because it comes from a different budget than salaries and the decision requires fewer approvals from HR and supervisors.

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