How to Ask Your Boss to Let You Work from Home

It seems like everyone wants to work from home these days. Remote or telecommuting jobs are in high demand, and flexible work hours rank as one of the top-four things women want from their employers. 

The American workforce has become so freaking lazy, right? We can’t even go into the office anymore.

Um, no. We’re more driven than ever. (Hence burnout.)

In fact, employees who work from home are about 13 percent more productive than their counterparts. They work more hours and they’re less distracted because they’re not surrounded by gossipy coworkers or other distractions. 

That could be you! (Not the gossipy part, the work from home part.) But in order to work from home effectively, you have to lay the proper groundwork for a successful relationship with your coworkers, boss, and workflow. 

Let’s take a look at whether working from home is right for you, how you can talk to your boss about it, and how you can actually get things done when you’re away from the office.

Is working from home right for you?

For some jobs, working from home is simply not an option. If you work in construction, food service, or other industries that require you to be present and, likely, on your feet, then you have to be at work to do your work. No question.

But if you’re an office worker with a laptop, you have more flexibility—sort of. There are a few factors to keep in mind when weighing how often you can work from home or whether working from home is right for you at all.

  1. Do you supervise someone? Just as face time is important for building relationships with coworkers, it’s also important for managing people. You’re more likely to understand what’s affecting your direct reports’ workflow, both inside and outside work, if you have a presence in the office.

How to ask to work from home

You’ve decided working from home is a-okay. That’s awesome. Now you have to talk to your boss about it. Even if you have a solid relationship with your manager, asking to change your schedule can be a stressful and complicated conversation. You might not feel like you’re affecting others by working from home, but having team members outside the office changes the work dynamic. You want to go into the conversation ready to present your case and prepared to compromise.

Like asking for flexible work hours, you’ll need to consider these questions:

    Once you have solid answers to these questions, you need to schedule a meeting with your boss. You should drive the conversation here because you’re the one who wants to negotiate. Expect your boss to have feedback on the plan you present, and be willing to make changes to accommodate your company’s needs or policies. 

    If your boss is hesitant, you can always suggest a trial period for you working from home. Give specific dates you’d like to test, and schedule a follow-up meeting where you can work out the kinks of your out-of-office time.

    How to actually be productive when working from home

    You did it! You’re officially a remote worker—at least part of the time. The hardest part of working from home (asking) is behind you. And yet, you still have quite a bit of work to do to make sure your at-home work environment is conducive to productivity.

    These are a few factors to consider when setting up your ideal space:

    1. Your schedule: A routine can help you stay productive and focused. Do what you’d do on a normal workday—go to the gym, get dressed, and start checking your emails. Oh, and make sure to set a time when you’ll be, for sure, logging off. Working from home doesn’t mean you’re always available. You do you.

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