Ask Becky

Remote Working and Better Ways to Network

How do I negotiate with my employer to keep working remotely?  —Homebody

Dear Homebody:

Yours is a big question this year in career advice columns, podcasts, and news stories. I’ll hit some highlights.

  • Do your homework. First, review whether your organization has clear policies regarding in-office work expectations. By networking, you can also explore other models of work that might be applicable to your organization, including a hybrid approach of on-site and remote work.
  • Focus on how you will help achieve your employer’s goals. While many employers care deeply about employee health and wellness and know that happier employees benefit an organization, keep your focus more on the employer’s needs than your own desires.
  • Point to your successes when you had to work remotely. What did you achieve? Can you quantify your productivity? Try to anticipate your manager’s questions and think through how you will respond. You can also proactively ask about the information or data they would want from you and a timeframe within which to deliver.
  • Propose a schedule that works well for you but also the organization. Your willingness to work outside the typical business hours may actually benefit the organization, by expanding client or customer access for example.
  • Be prepared to propose a slightly different job description. Are there activities that are more conducive to remote work and/or your strengths? Are you able to take on new responsibilities as part of the arrangement? Finally, be prepared to consider adjustments to compensation if your remote location is in a lower cost of living area.

How can I start networking again? In-person or just online? —Slightly Concerned

Dear Slightly Concerned:

Even before the pandemic forced us to abandon meeting in person, there were avenues for effective online networking, and they should still be a regular part of your networking activity.

LinkedIn is still the preeminent online networking community. You don’t have to just try for one-to-one networking meetings, however. Are you following companies, organizations, or industry influencers’ pages and participating in discussion threads? If not, do so! Regularly posting can open doors to individual conversations down the road.

LinkedIn groups offer another way to find people. As a member of a group, you can message another member without being a first-degree connection. And by the way, the Bryn Mawr Alumnae/i group on LinkedIn has more than 5,050 members!

A warm intro tends to yield more response than cold outreach. Explore your second-degree connections on LinkedIn. Ask shared connections for more information about people you’d like to speak with, and if they can make  an introduction.

I often hear people say, “I don’t need LinkedIn because I am a _____ and that’s not how you find jobs in my field.” In fact, LinkedIn is less about finding a job than building and managing your network.

Is it okay to meet in person again? Only you and the other party can answer that question! While you may feel awkward asking about someone’s vaccination status, you can certainly disclose that you are vaccinated and comfortable meeting in person with appropriate precautions. So mask up and meet up if you really want to get back to in-person meetings!

Need help navigating the world of work? Career guru (and Bryn Mawr’s senior associate director of Alumnae/i Career Services) Becky Ross takes your questions at Please keep your questions succinct.