How to Ask to Work From Home in 10 Steps
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated February 22, 2021 | Published January 5, 2021
Updated February 22, 2021
Published January 5, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Many employees today work from home to increase productivity, reduce distractions and enjoy a better work-life balance. Even if your company doesn't currently offer a remote-working program, they still may agree to allow you to work from home if you approach the subject in the right way. Learning the steps to take to ask to work from home can help you be more successful with your own request.
In this article, we discuss why it's important to know how to ask to work from home and the 10 steps to take if you're asking your own employer to work remotely.
Why is it important to know how to ask to work from home
It's important to know how to ask to work from home, since asking at the right time and being prepared with research that emphasizes the value of working from home can increase the likelihood that your manager will agree to your request.
Related: How to Find Real Work at Home Jobs
How to ask to work from home
Here are x steps to take if you want to approach your manager about working from home:
1. Perform your research
If you're preparing to have any conversation with your employer about working remotely, it's important to be prepared. Your preparation for the meeting should include spending time evaluating how common it is for people to perform remote work in the industry and also in your company specifically.
As you assess how common remote employees are in your company, learn more about the arrangement that remote employees have. For example, some employees may work remotely all of the time, while others may work from home one or two days per week. Also inquire whether your company already has a remote work policy in place.
2. Focus on company benefits
As you prepare to meet with your employer, it's important to look at the situation from their perspective. The majority of your pitch to work remotely should be focused on how it benefits your employer. In order to accomplish this, during your research, you should also gather data on the benefits of working remotely. For example, research shows that employees who work from home are often more productive, are less likely to quit and are often less expensive for the organization.
Be prepared with specific examples of how your work and the company would benefit from a remote working arrangement. For example, you should be able to explain how you would be able to do your job better, in what ways you would be more productive and why and whether you might be able to work hours that better accommodated your company. You may also want to consider how working remotely would impact your focus and your ability to work uninterrupted.
3. Identify any concerns
Before the meeting with your employer, it's important to identify the possible concerns that they might have. For example, they may be concerned about productivity or whether you will be as reachable if you're working from home. Once you identify what you believe will be their greatest concerns, prepare a list of solutions. For example, if you think they will be concerned about communication, you could suggest a regular work schedule where you will be at your desk and available through a web-based communication tool.
4. Create a plan for working from home
After completing all of your research and identifying the top concerns your company would likely have, you should create a document that outlines how your work-from-home arrangement could work. This plan should include the schedule you intend to maintain when working remotely and the process you will follow to track your performance and communicate with team members. If your company isn't currently using any tool for communication or project management, you may want to include recommendations for digital tools within your plan.
5. Time your request strategically
Your request to work from home will be most successful if your manager already trusts you do to the job and values your efforts. The best way to increase the likelihood they will agree is to make the request at the ideal time, such as after completing a big project successfully or achieving another goal with your work.
6. Ask in person
It's important to make your request in person, versus in an email format. If you typically have regular check-ins with your manager, bringing up the idea of working remotely during that meeting is appropriate. If you don't have regular check-ins, then schedule a time to have a conversation.
The tone for the meeting should be reflective of the relationship you have with your manager. If you have a laid back, casual relationship, then you can be direct with your request, opening a casual conversation on the matter. If you have a strictly professional relationship, then it's important to make a formal request to meet with them and suggest that you have ideas for how you can improve your work environment.
7. Be prepared to lead the meeting
Be prepared for the likelihood that you will need to lead the conversation with your manager. Explain that you're interested in working remotely and address how common it is for people in your industry and company to work fro home. Highlight projects you worked on that demonstrate your ability to effectively manage your time and work independently.
8. Open a conversation
Be prepared for the possibility that your employer may not approve your request to work from home initially, especially if that type of working arrangement isn't common within your company. When you present the idea, let your manager know that your request is flexible. Share with them the benefits of working from home and present any solutions you have to overcome possible concerns.
For example, if your manager brings up concerns, you could respond by saying, "I'm actually glad you brought up the some specific examples of concerns you might have. I've actually done a lot of research into how other similar businesses successfully implemented remote work arrangements." You can then share with them a physical, written proposal that outlines your solution to the problem, including when you will be available, the security measures you will put in place to protect company data and how frequently you will check-in to ensure the new arrangement is going smoothly.
9. Suggest a trial
To help your employer feel more comfortable with the idea of you working from home, suggest starting small by working from home one day per week. Once you have this idea approved, you can then demonstrate that you achieve your highest levels of productivity when you're working from home. As you establish that you're reliable as a remote employee, you can ask to increase the number fo days that you're working from home.
10. Build trust in a trial period
If your employer approves a trial work-from-home arrangement, use it as an opportunity to develop trust. Over-communicate about the work that you're doing. If you're working on a project, think about what you could need from your manager att he beginning and ask for it right away. If you are spending some days in the office, make sure you're highly visible during those times. When you are remote, suggest using video chat for check-ins and meetings rather than phone.
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