The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many employees to work from home for the last four months. While many are starting to go back to the workplace, there are a number of companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter encouraging their workers to remain home at least through the year to keep themselves and others safe.
Ideally, remote workers would have a dedicated office at home free from distraction with all the tools and tech necessary to do their jobs productively. But not everyone has a suitable own home office, designated work area or even a desk at home, forcing some to get creative in establishing a work environment, transforming household items such as high-chairs, ironing boards, children’s desks, ping pong tables and even bathtubs into desk space.
The madness stops here.
If you have a less-than-effective work-station at home, it’s time you talk to your boss about an upgrade, especially if they are asking that you continue to work remotely with no projected return date. If the idea of presenting a request of any kind to your employer terrifies you, not to worry. First of all, you are not alone. Second, a little bit of research and preparation will have you ready for that meeting in no time. Third, many employers, such as Google and Shopify, are actually giving their workers money to purchase office supplies for their homes.
Your employer understands your need, and with the proper presentation, there’s a good chance they will be willing to invest in a new desk for their valued employee (you)!
Three Steps to Asking Your Boss for a Standing Desk
1. Do Your Research
When it comes to getting new office supplies, especially supplies for remote work, you must know what the company’s policies, procedures, and values are. Do a little research to find out the exact process set in place for similar requests. Who should you talk to first? Will you need a doctor’s note? Is there any paperwork you need to fill out before you can make an official request? Find out as many answers as you can about the procedures and policies that your company already has in place, so that you don’t get blind-sided by the classic, “it’s against company policy” response.
Next, you should know what things are most important to your company. Do they value health, productivity, or workplace culture most? Or something else? It’s essential to know and understand the company’s values so that you can make a convincing argument as to why getting a standing desk aligns perfectly with what the company values.
Know your stuff when it comes to the desk itself. Have research and statistics prepared to present a convincing argument as to why the desk would be beneficial to both you and the company. Talk about health benefits, improved job satisfaction, increased productivity, and lower absenteeism that will be good for both you and your employer. And if you need some specific statistics and reasons, we have a few that can help you win them over.
2. Present Your Request
Before going in for your meeting, practice presenting your request to a friend or coworker. Have them ask you any questions they can think of regarding the benefits of the desk, the benefits to the employer and any counterarguments an employer may present.
For example, what if you are asked, “If sitting is so bad, how is standing any better?”
Simple. It’s not the standing itself that is beneficial. Standing for too long can present it’s own health risks. It’s the transitioning between sitting and standing throughout the day that brings the greatest health benefit. And having a sit-stand desk that is easy to operate and adjusts to the correct heights for a worker’s stature is key to maximizing those benefits.
Practicing with a friend first will help you think through any potential bumps or other questions you didn’t consider that you should be prepared to answer.
When you go to your superior with your request, it’s crucial to be both persuasive and professional. Present yourself as you would in any other business meeting. You also want to make sure you aren’t going overboard or being too pushy. Read the room (or Zoom room) as you go along, and figure out when to push forward, and when to hold back.
Treat your request as an open conversation. This meeting is not about you throwing out facts and figures while your superior sits silently. It’s a meeting, not a presentation. Bring up essential facts and numbers as they come in conversation. Ask to hear the opinions and concerns of your superior, and take those seriously. Answer their questions, and if you don’t know the answer, never make one up. Tell them you aren’t sure but will do some research on it. Ask them if there’s any other information they’d like you to gather up that would further assist in their decision making.
3. Have a Backup Plan
Sometimes, the answer is no. Although that isn’t the ideal turnout, it does happen, and it’s essential to be prepared for that outcome as well. If your employer comes back with a negative response in the end, first ask if there’s anything else you can do to change their mind, and then ask if there’s a way to compromise. From there, give the request a bit of time. Come back to your employer in a few months, telling them that you are still having trouble, and asking if they would reconsider.
If all else fails, you might consider purchasing one for yourself. Standing desks are well worth the investment when you consider the long-term health risks of improperly configured work areas and desks and can be less expensive than you think.