How to Ask for a Raise When Working Remotely from Home [6 Steps]

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Remote work has created many opportunities for people to work away from the office, cutting commuting costs and time while reducing the energy required to get ready for the office. With more work being delegated to remote workers, their overall value to organizations is on the rise, which means you have a chance to cash in on it.

To ask for a raise when working remotely from home, you should indicate interest in higher compensation via email while requesting a meeting to have your current pay reassessed. In the meeting, you have to make a case for your value to the organization, explaining why you deserve the raise.

In this article, you’ll discover how to ask for a raise when working from home with our step-by-step guide that breaks down each aspect of demanding higher pay. Among the things you’ll learn are the pros and cons of making your request remotely and what you can do to ensure that each factor works to your advantage.

How It’s Different to Ask for a Raise as a Remote Worker

In-person communication is not the same as communicating online. While video calls and online conferencing have changed the degree to which online connection mimics real-life interaction, there are many differences that must be considered in a high-stakes dialogue like the one surrounding a raise.

What’s Easier About It?

The easier thing about asking for a raise remotely is that you don’t have to be as anxious. The anxiety of real-life personal interaction is absent from an online interaction. Yes, you might still feel nervous, but something about being in your own physical space can give you confidence.

Even if your legs are shaking, it won’t show over zoom. Moreover, you can ask for a raise through an email only, which reduces the odds of your boss noticing how anxious you are. Everything bad about in-person interaction automatically becomes good when you ask for a raise as a remote worker. This includes:

  • Not having to open with small talk – For introverts, small talk can be challenging and can prevent them from initiating dialogue regarding serious matters like asking for a raise. Through online communication, it can be easier to get to the point without seeming rude. 
  • No chance of public embarrassment on rejection – Anxious individuals might not want to approach people in power out of the fear of public rejection and consequent humiliation. When you ask for a raise online, the matter is far more private and less likely to result in social judgment.
  • Zero gossip outside the office – Since the request made remotely is private, there is a very low chance of co-workers gossiping about your raise. 
  • Ability to have social support – Finally, when you request a raise via online channels like email and even video conferencing, you can have support from friends who can guide you in the negotiations and responses.

Introverts and professionals with anxiety are more likely to benefit from asking for a raise remotely. There are two sides to requesting a raise: the ask and the response. In the ‘requesting’ stage, the remote worker is at an advantage because he asks in the first place. 

As mentioned in other articles on raises and promotions, most people fail to get a raise because they don’t ask for one. If having to ask online helps you make the request, then it is an advantage.

What’s More Challenging About It?

There’s a flipside to the raise-requesting paradigm. While the ‘ask’ is easier in the remote working context, the response is generally more positive in person. Here are a few challenges that prevent remote requests from having a high acceptance rate.

  • Your request is easy to minimize – when you ask for a raise in person, there is an expectation for an immediate response, even if that response is ‘maybe.’ When your request goes in the form of an email, it is easy to simply ignore it or at least delay responding to it. 
  • It is easier to reject – Have you ever wondered why people are so quick to be mean on social media? It’s because the online format makes it easier to be disagreeable without feeling the emotional weight of causing pain. Agreeable bosses might find it easier to say no online. Related: What to Do When You Don’t Get a Raise [5 Actions To Take]
  • You might not have an immediate counter – if your raise discussion meeting happens online, you might not have enough time to think about a counteroffer. Employers you work for remotely are harder to get a hold of, and if you get lowballed on your raise, you might be pressured to accept immediately lest you never get another meeting.

All in all, there are many challenges to getting the raise approved if you ask for it online. To get a raise without requesting it in person, you need to should make a strong case for why you deserve the raise. If you play your cards right, you might use the remote setting to your advantage.

How to Ask for a Raise While Working Remotely?

To ask for a raise while working remotely, you should email your employer and request a meeting to discuss your compensation. In the online meeting, you should present your argument for why paying you more is in the best interest of the company.

Of course, the matter is far more complex than it appears on the surface. There is a psychological angle and a loss of interpersonal proximity to consider. The following tips will make sure your remote raise request is treated more seriously.

1. Keep the Initial Email Brief

There is a serious advantage to brevity, especially in online communication. By sending a short email and withholding extra details, you incentivize your boss or manager to consider the meeting.

Please note that you must withhold extra details and not the important ones. The email should communicate:

  • That you want a raise. 
  • That you are willing to make a case for your compensation hike in a video call.
  • That you have a timeframe

By being direct like this, you give an impression of having options. Ever since the great resignation of 2021 showed employers that they don’t have the same retention leverage as they used to, they don’t take remote workers for granted. But if you spend too much energy writing a lengthy email, you lose the leverage by appearing too desperate.

2. Give Time Slots

Giving time slots for possible days and times, you can hold the meeting not only makes the decision easier for a busy boss but also shows that you have a mental timeframe within which you aim to get the raise.

3. Have a Tangible Case for Value

Your value to the company doesn’t matter as much as your perceived value. Unethical professionals focus on pumping up how valuable they seem, while ethical ones tunnel vision on actually increasing their value

Unfortunately, the ethical worker gets overlooked in promotions and raises considerations because the boss does not know how much of an asset such employees are. Don’t fall victim to the humility-driven self-sabotage. You should have a clear presentation, one-pager, or a list of bullet points that convey that you make the company more money than it will pay you upon approving the raise.

4. Have a Tangible Case for Loss

After you establish that you make the business more money than what it’d pay you on your new salary, the next question is, why should the firm pay you more if it can get away with deriving the same value while paying you less? 

This is a tricky one to tackle because outright saying that you’ll leave can drag your boss’s ego into the conversation, which can lead to an irrational rejection of your request. The best way to subtly communicate your willingness to leave while emphasizing the adverse consequences of your departure is to communicate what the company would spend on hiring and training your replacement. 

When you make this argument, you don’t outright threaten to leave, which gives your boss a way to save face while offering you a raise.

5. Show a Relative Improvement

Another essential item in your raise-request deck should be an objective record of improvement across your KPIs or irrefutable proof that you have taken on more duties than the previous year. If you have more responsibilities, you can position the additional work as unpaid. Here’s an example of how you can position relative improvement as worthy of a merit raise.

“As you can see, (insert boss name), I have been paid $X (your current pay) for the past two years. For the first year, I managed duties A, B, and C. In the second year, for the same pay, I also started managing D, E, and F. 

These are additional tasks that aren’t reflected in my paycheck. Getting a raise of $Y would be fair for these duties, as hiring someone else to do those tasks would cost more. And replacing me with someone who would manage A, B, C, D, E, and F is going to cost you more in base pay than what I expect as a raise.”

6. Make Your Demand

Once you have made a strong case and have included the carrot (positive performance record) and the stick (veiled threat of leaving), you must ask for the raise you believe you deserve.

Some HR experts suggest asking for 25% more than the raise you plan to settle for, but this can be counterintuitive. Instead, simply asking for the raise you want and then standing your ground or budging a little can raise your odds of closing the deal.

How Do You Ask for a Raise Virtually?

Asking for a raise virtually requires clarity about your expectations and the rationale behind the requested raise. If you can prove that you have been bringing more value to the company than what you were initially paid for and the market is paying higher for your services, you will get a raise.

Mentioning the market value of your work is a touchy way to communicate your willingness to walk away. You should not use this tactic unless you are truly willing to walk away because there is a small chance the employer will call your bluff. 

A safer way to indicate the possibility of you walking away is to allude to the cost of replacing you. To make it more palatable, you should include a few words on your willingness to work harder if you get a raise.

How Do You Ask for a Raise Over Zoom?

You ask for a raise over zoom by making a case for why it is in the best interests of the company to give you a raise. Remember to keep your camera on, share slides via zoom chat to support your argument, and stop talking after mentioning the amount you expect as your pay hike.

Asking for a Raise Remotely, a Cheat Sheet

From the subtlety that side-steps conflict to the clarity that communicates your expectations, plenty of things about asking for a raise remotely are confusing and seemingly contradictory. In reality, there are only three things you need to do: give your boss the metaphorical carrot, show them the metaphorical stick, and give them room to save face (manage ego).

The table below covers how you can effectively do all three

The carrotThe stickThe ego management
“I was initially paid for tasks X, Y, and Z but have taken on duties A, B, and C. I can continue doing these if you can bump my pay to reflect this”“I understand if you want to hire someone else to do these tasks.”“The choice is yours. Knowing that you’re pretty fair in dealing with people, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been doing tasks I’m not paid for.”
“The KPIs 1, 2, and 3 directly impact the bottom line, and my work in Q2 and 3 has bumped our revenue by $300,000. I hope I can get a 6% raise as I have exceeded my targets by 18% for the past five quarters.”“Salesmen with much lower results are recruited at higher pay than what I’m paid. To continue helping our organization grow, I would like you to reassess my compensation.” “I’ve loved working for you and would be more than happy to train someone to take over my role if my current pay is the highest the business can offer. Anything I can do to help, I will.”
“My output has been increasing by 6% each month, and this translated to a 0.5% increase in the company’s bottom line. If you can reassess my pay to reflect the improvement in my results, I’d be motivated to push myself even more.”“I’m also more than happy to consolidate my rate of improvement and give a stable and satisfactory performance.”“I bring this up only because I prefer to keep growing, and I know you to be someone who rewards growth.

Final Thoughts

Asking for a raise when working remotely can seem like a losing battle. But if you’re clear in your demand and request a zoom meeting to discuss your compensation, you get a better shot at making your case. When arguing in favor of a pay hike, you should always present tangible proof of your improvement and leave room for the boss to still feel in control.