Convincing your boss to let you work remotely

Must you try and find remote work outside of your current company? Maybe not!

I think most will agree that daily commuting to and from work during rush hour traffic can take its toll on you.  If you’re like many people in the workforce today, a lot of your job responsibilities (if not all) can be done outside of the office.  Still, your company expects you to be there during core business hours to get your job done.  How can you convince your boss that letting you telecommute would be beneficial to you as well as the company?  For many people, the thought of approaching their boss and asking may be anxiety provoking, especially if nobody in the company is currently working remotely.

Below are some questions to ask yourself before asking your boss:

Have you proven yourself to be a trustworthy, productive, self-motivating employee? If you’re the low man on the totem pole, you might want to wait until you’ve built a good rapport with your boss and co-workers before asking to work from home.  This doesn’t mean you have to wait years before you inquire.  I think that after you get some positive feedback from your cohorts and/or boss you could consider inquiring.  This is a judgment call on your part.

Do you feel as though you could seamlessly complete all of your tasks on time if you were to work at home?  Could you confidently say “yes” to being able to complete everything necessary from home, without being a burden to others at work?  In other words if you were to work from home, do you have all of the necessary skills needed without slowing down others in order to complete what is expected of you?  If your job necessitates team collaboration, would your team be willing to hold online meetings with third-party tools, such as Skype or GoToMeeting?

Do you have the discipline to stay focused?  Let’s face it; working from home can be a distraction at times; phone calls, deliveries, and other family members might be a distraction to the task on hand.  Do you have a dedicated space that you can consider your office, and keep disturbances to a minimum?

If you’ve answered yes to the questions above, I think you can comfortably approach your boss and ask if they’d be willing to accommodate you.

How do you convince your boss?  Here are a few suggestions:

What is your rationale?  – Make sure that the reasons you want to work from home are compelling.  Is your commute taking its toll on you?  Are you more productive in a quiet environment?  Do you find it difficult to get to work on time because you have to take your kids to school?  Be prepared to articulate your stance!

Start small – See if your boss will let you work remotely one to two days per week at first. Perhaps once they are convinced that things are working out well they might let you expand to full-time.

Be willing to compromise – If necessary, compromise with your boss.  Would you be willing to take a slight pay cut or work extra hours?  Would you be willing to pay for all of your supplies needed to do your tasks?

Rachel Collins (CMO of Danny Group, LLC) had this to say about how she convinced her boss to allow her to work from home:

As the CMO of a App startup group, I felt I had lots of leverage to approach my CEO about switching from the office environment to a work at home situation. Most of my job is creating a brand message, strategizing, conducting meetings and managing our marketing which is mostly digital as we deal with mobile applications. Also most of the calls I take during any given day are with individuals that not only aren’t in the city that our office is located in, but around the world. I was taking many Skype meetings at odd hours from home anyway, so asking for a transition made a bit more sense.

I approached the CEO with the idea that most of my work was able to to be done from my home office: I could send emails, take calls, and manage my team from here as most of our work was done online and with others who do not live here. I brought up how my management skills thus far had enabled to manage my responsibilities, and he agreed to test run the strategy.

Working from home proved to be a great benefit to us all: as I was able to set my own hours more, I was more productive. My boss enjoyed the arrangement so much that now all my work is done from home, with the occasional meeting in the office.

For those of you out there that have been in this situation, what has worked for you? Was it as simple as flat out asking? Did it require a little bit of coaxing on your part?