The remote work world can seem like another world compared to a traditional office setting. You never come literally face-to-face with co-workers, let alone bosses. Because of this divide, asking for a raise in a remote job can seem like a daunting, overwhelming, and somewhat insurmountable task. But with this handy list of do’s and don’ts, you can feel comfortable asking for a raise as a remote worker.
The Do’s of Asking for a Raise in Your Remote Job
Research the Pay for Your Position
Before you decide to ask for a pay raise, it’s important to familiarize yourself with median or mean salaries within your industry. Even if you’re yearning for recognition and taking on more and more responsibilities, most employers have a wage ceiling. By researching the average pay for your position, you can determine whether you have reached that ceiling or have a bargaining chip for raise consideration.
Fortunately, you don’t have to walk around networking events or send direct messages on LinkedIn to ask what other people in similar job roles make. Use websites such as PayScale or Glassdoor to find this information. Both sites give you a bell curve of salaries, including the high-end, low-end, and mean salary for your job title. You can also check out the Virtual Vocations job board to see what other employers or competitors of your company are offering in terms of wages or benefits.
Determine Your Value
Another important stepping stone before asking for a raise at your remote job is to determine your value. You can do this in several ways. An effective way to showcase your perceived worth or value is to compile a list of your professional accomplishments. Have you earned certifications or other credentials outside of work that warrants a raise? Do you have concrete examples of how you’ve benefited your employer? If the answer to these questions is no, you may want to rethink your strategy or hold off on asking for a raise until you’ve accomplished one or both of these aspects.
Choose the Correct Forum to Ask for a Remote Job Raise
Direct-messaging apps like Slack are ideal for posting the latest memes with your online cohorts, getting assignments, or asking for clarification. Email is much the same. But both of these forms of communication lack the formality of a face-to-face meeting. If you live within a short distance of your company office or recently transitioned from the workplace to telecommuting, scheduling an in-person meeting is a far better forum for discussing a raise. It’s also a lot more difficult for someone to turn you down face to face.
If you are a remote worker or digital nomad who is almost never face-to-face with your boss, this task is more challenging. However, a video chat can offer many of the same benefits of an in-person conference. You both can see each other’s body language, you can make eye contact, and you can present a logical and airtight case for why you deserve a raise. Give your boss ample notice of the meeting and cater to their schedule. They already have enough to worry about daily, so don’t make them feel stressed out or obligated to have a video chat or face-to-face meeting on your terms.
Role Play Your Meeting
In many ways, asking for a raise in your remote job is the same as doing so in a traditional office setting. Just like you would with job interviews or attracting new clients, you need to practice your pitch. You are not just asking for a raise; you’re selling your boss on the idea. That is why it’s a necessity to figure out how to soundly broach the topic without coming off as needy or entitled. Sitting in front of a mirror and analyzing the tone of your voice and your body language will give you some idea of how you’ll be perceived by your boss.
Once you have mastered the art of the pitch, don’t forget to anticipate follow-up questions. Asking for more money adversely affects the bottom line and carefully planned budget of your employer. While some companies may have deep pockets, other companies—such as small- to medium-sized businesses—often have budgetary restrictions. Because it is an added expense, you’ll need to answer the questions that enable your employer to justify your raise.
The idea behind this is that if you want a raise from $40,000 to $50,000, you need to show how your $10,000 wage increase generates more money for the company. When you can demonstrate why and how you are worth the added price and field any follow-up questions during your role-play meeting, you’re finally ready to meet the boss.
Asking for a Remote Job Raise? Great Idea! Now, Relax.
Once you’ve scheduled a meeting with your boss and you are sitting in the (virtual) waiting room, try to relax. If you’ve followed the steps above, you’ll have the evidence and background to warrant a raise consideration, as well as a list of your accomplishments and credentials. Allow yourself to enjoy the hard work you’ve done to reach your goals and how it has led you to this point. This will help build your confidence before the meeting.
Following up after asking for a raise as a remote worker is crucial. Any serious conversation about wage increases adds tension to a working relationship, even if you are on good terms prior to the request. Sending a follow-up message via email or direct message can help ease this tension and promote a healthy back-end of the conversation. Make certain to thank them for their time and input regarding the wage increase, but don’t come off as pushy or demanding.
The Don’ts of Asking for a Raise in Your Remote Job
Don’t Forget About the Needs of the Company
Before you waltz into the meeting to talk about your contributions and professional success, remember that it is not all about you. If you constantly talk about yourself, your employer will start to see your raise request as an entitlement rather than a contribution to the betterment of the company. Don’t forget to discuss how your employment makes the business more profitable or streamlines operational processes and workflow.
Don’t Apologize for Asking for a Remote Job Raise
When you are asking for a raise, you need to have confidence. More than that, you need to ooze confidence. A common problem you might face is that your confidence starts to waver under the gazes and questions of your boss. It’s just human nature to some degree. Ignore these thoughts. If you are an asset to the business, your boss will be caught off-guard by your overly apologetic demeanor. Be confident. Own it.
Don’t Undersell or Undervalue Yourself
The same part of your subconscious that causes you to apologize is also the portion of your mind that may cause you to undersell or undervalue your skills. This is the most common manifestation of the self-saboteur that sits between your ears. Don’t let it win.
If you did your homework and determined the many ways that your skill set and experience add value to the company, you shouldn’t worry. But self-doubt can often creep into your mind without warning. Therefore, the best plan of action is to know that these feelings will inevitably seep into your subconscious and figure out how to combat them ahead of time. Doing so will prepare you not only for your meeting but also for challenging and overcoming one of your greatest enemies: yourself.
Don’t Threaten or Give an Ultimatum
Even if you haven’t received a raise in years and your colleagues with similar experience have had wage increases, don’t use your meeting to threaten your employer or give a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum. Working for a company is a privilege, and if you act as though the company can’t function without you, you may end up eating your words.
Instead of presenting an ultimatum, treat the discussion more like a formal negotiation. To another degree, you can also focus on what your manager is saying and how you can provide solutions to his/her problems. Not only is this a more tactful approach, but you can also showcase your ideas to improve certain aspects where your employer is struggling or lagging.
Don’t Appear Pretentious
Humility is key when it comes to getting a raise, even when you’re discussing your accomplishments and credentials. So even when you’re talking about how you’ve raised sales 12% or brought 10,000 more email subscribers to the company, do so without an air of pretentiousness. While you want to feel at ease in a meeting, don’t forget that your boss wants the same thing. When you start to get a bit arrogant, the conversation and the potential for your raise can start to taper off.
Don’t Forget to Follow-Up…Even If You’re Declined
No salary increase is guaranteed. Sometimes, your timing just doesn’t align with the financial situation of your employer. Other times, you may just not have the right mix of experience and results that warrant a raise. Either way, you should still follow up with your boss. This is the best chance you’ll get at determining why you didn’t get a raise, and what you need to work on to have a raise granted in the future. Failure to follow-up after a “no” is wasting a golden opportunity to discover more about how your employer perceives you and how you can advance professionally.
Whether you’ve been working at a company for 6 months or 6 years, your reasoning behind asking for a raise in your remote job should be with merit and examples of why you deserve a raise. By asking for a raise and approaching the subject with tact and due diligence, you might find your bank account gets a tad bit bigger every payday.
iStock Photo Credit: FlamingoImages
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