In the case of an educational benefit, such as your company footing the bill for an executive MBA, Cohen says you’ll likely be asked to commit to staying at the company for two to five years after completing the degree. Use this to your advantage in negotiations, explaining how your employer can continue to reap the rewards of your additional knowledge—not to mention the money they’ll save in recruiting and training a replacement.
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As the mother of a special-needs daughter and a longtime corporate officer for technology companies, Brenda Christensen has frequently negotiated for the ability to work away from the office when necessary.
Before starting her current job as director of communications at email solution provider Contatta, Christensen says she was completely transparent about her needs, which require working from home and odd hours—sometimes even having to leave a meeting or work at a moment’s notice.
To negotiate for the telecommuting schedule she needed, Christensen relied on her network of contacts who were willing to recommend her work and vouch for her 25-year record of success.
And—this is key—she was able to demonstrate how working away from the office would fit well with her job: “Since so much of my position is outwardly facing—building relationships with influencers, bloggers and social media types—it wasn’t a problem,” she says. “My value translates into being able to work anytime and anywhere I want.” Fortunately, her employer agreed.
Even if your needs aren’t similar to Christensen’s, the ability to do your work from somewhere outside the office—at least at times—can still be a perk worth negotiating. But it’s important to understand that telecommuting is different from flex time: It’s not about arriving to the office later than usual and leaving when your work is done; it’s about having the freedom to do your work wherever you’d like. In many cases, this perk is more negotiable for high-level employees because they have more experience and are trusted to maintain their responsibilities without close supervision.
“High-wage earners can bring some balance into their lives by telecommuting, working a schedule with varied work times and full or half days off each week,” Lindenberg says. “For those who travel regularly or work in territories within their cities, they can arrange to complete office work from home, rather than being expected to come in to the office right after a long trip or a day in the car.”
How to Get It: Before broaching this topic with your boss, find out your company’s policy and whether there are other employees who successfully telecommute. If so, you may be able to pattern your request to match similar existing situations that have worked out well. Then demonstrate how you can still be successful in your position regardless of how much face time you put in at the office by staying on top of your deadlines and making yourself available for check-ins with your boss.
4. Lifestyle Perks
To attract—and retain—the best talent, some companies are sweetening their benefits packages with lifestyle perks, especially ones that help their most valued employees perform their jobs better.
For example, if entertaining your clients is an important part of your position, you may be able to justify a club membership for golf or dining. The same goes for positions that require frequent car travel: Cohen recommends asking for use of a company car or leased vehicle.
A number of Cohen’s clients have also successfully negotiated for wardrobe allowances from their employers, and he says it’s not unusual for other high-level employees in client-facing roles to receive this type of compensation as well. “When you have a highly visible role, the right image is critical,” he says.