Telecommuting isn’t as rare as it used to be, especially now that older millennials are moving into management positions. Growing up with the internet at their fingertips, these managers know that you can get just as much work done at home as in the office—if not more.
But remote work isn’t on every boss’s radar—and some still don’t trust the idea that your quiet home office can be more conducive to concentration than their loud, echoey open office plan.
If you want to wrangle a remote work agreement from your boss, here’s how to go about it.
Be ready with solutions
Some jobs are better suited to a work-from-home situation than others. Chances are, however, that at least some aspect of your job is office-centric. So give some thought to the workarounds.
If your job requires a lot of client face-time, perhaps you could schedule all your appointments on the days you’re in the office.
If there’s a lot of on-site collaborating, talk to your team. It could be that using project management software, video conferencing, and other technologies would make things easier for them, too.
Talk to your Human Resources department
It’s best to check in with your company HR department before going to your boss, just to see if your company already has a work-from-home policy in place.
If people in other departments are using it, talk to them. Ask about the positive ways it’s impacted their work, and have that feedback on hand when you talk to your boss.
Know what your boss’s objections are
What are all the reasons your boss could say no? List those down and have your responses ready.
Make sure that your boss understands that you’ll take effective measures to protect proprietary information, will show up for every essential meeting, and be constantly available. Anticipate your boss’s concerns—and have a plan for addressing them.
Know the benefits
Would it cost the company less to have you work from home at least some of the time? Would working from home mean you could get more work done in the time you have?
Explain to your boss how your work-from home plan benefits her—and the company as a whole.
Pick the right day
Avoid picking a busy day as the one you propose working from home. Likewise, avoid suggesting Mondays or Fridays as a work-from-home day, as people might think you’re just trying to extend your weekend.
Get your proposal together
Don’t plan on winging it.
Let's review. Get all this information together:
- Positive feedback from other employees who work from home
- The details of your company’s work-from-home policy if there is one, and
- The benefits your telecommuting would bring—both to your boss and the company.
Explain how you could do your job better by working from home. And have a contingency plan for any parts of your job that require face-time. Once you’re prepared, take it to your boss.
Be sure to pick the right time, if possible—when your boss isn’t stressed or swamped.
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Suggest a trial period
Don’t ask your boss to commit right away. Instead, suggest a period where you try it out—and let your boss see for herself how well it works.
During that time, be very accessible—even more accessible than you would be in the office. Answer emails and phone calls right away, and get your work in ahead of deadlines. Let your boss see how productive you are at home first-hand.
Negotiating a work-from-home day can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. If you can convince your boss that it benefits the company—and then demonstrate how well you work this way—you’ll have a better chance of getting a yes.
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