Working from home does seem like a pretty sweet deal, especially if you spend long hours at the office and struggle with work/life balance. A Gallup survey of over 15,000 adults reported that 43% of employed Americans had spent some time working remotely over the last year. This figure represents a 4% increase since 2012. While this indicates that remote working is becoming increasingly common, it is far from being universally embraced as yet.
It’s important to look at this from your employer’s perspective if you’re planning to ask to work from home. You must be able to articulate how the arrangement benefits your boss first and foremost. Bearing this in mind, these are the 5 practical steps for getting your boss to sign off on your request:
1. Establish that you have the right job and personality for remote working
Working from home might sound like a breeze, but the freedom comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. Can you do your job easily from home? Do you have the self-discipline and accountability to manage your time without supervision?
2. Identify good reasons for wanting to work from home
Before you march into your boss’ office to make your case for remote working privileges, make sure you have solid reasons for wanting this. Not “just so you can beat rush hour traffic”, mind you. Your reasons need to be in the company’s favour. For example, a good reason would be that “working from home would minimise distractions from being pulled into ad-hoc meetings or discussions, therefore resulting in improved productivity”.
Highlight how spending less time at the office would require a more organised approach towards scheduling meetings and involve more use of online collaboration tools such as Skype and Google Drive, which would boost overall efficiency and productivity.
3. List the pros and cons from your boss’ perspective
To win over your boss’ trust and confidence, it’s important to stay objective and neutral about this. Having a clear list of pros and cons to share with your boss will assure him that you’ve undertaken a careful review of the situation and given all due consideration to how the change will affect the overall process flow and productivity of the department.
Having a pro-con list will also help you anticipate objections and concerns from your boss. Having the discussion with your boss fully prepared shows your boss you’ve put a lot of thought and consideration into this request and increases the chances of him staying open to the idea.
4. Suggest a trial period to minimise the risk of lost productivity
To play it safe, suggest starting with a trial period of say, 2 days a week for the first 4 weeks. This will give both you and your boss a good chance to evaluate how well you perform working from home, minimising the risk of lost productivity during the transition period.
5. Present a thorough plan that details your new workflow process
Finally, put together a thorough plan that details your proposed workflow process for working from home. The plan needs to convince your boss without doubt that you will perform even better (if not just as well) as you normally do working in the office. The plan should outline the different procedures and online tools you will be utilising to remain connected with your team and stay on top of projects and daily tasks.
You could also propose weekly catch-up meetings in person with your boss to review your performance and productivity levels and address any unexpected issues that crop up from the change.
It’s all about inspiring trust and confidence in your boss that this isn’t a change you’re taking lightly. Assuring your boss that you have no intention of abusing the privilege will put his or her mind at ease and increase the chances of them approving your request.
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