How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work Remotely

July 24, 2018
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Thanks to technology, opportunities to work remotely are now abundant as nearly 3.9 million full-time U.S. employees report doing so at least half of their work week. This total reflects the increase in telecommuting workers of a whopping 115% in a decade, according to a report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs.

If you commute to an office, but would like to work somewhere else and need courage convince your boss, follow these four steps.

1. Mull over your motivation. Before you broach the subject with your boss, determine the exact reasons you want to work remotely. Are back-to-back meetings and conference calls stealing every second you would normally have to actually work? Does an open office environment make it difficult to focus? Or perhaps your personal responsibilities have grown—caring for young children or aging parents; having to exercise regularly to thwart serious health issues, etc. Honestly reflect on your reasons ‘why’ before you present the ‘what’ to your manager.

2. Arm yourself with information. You could argue that by not having to commute, you’ll save time and therefore be more efficient. Without facts to fortify your request, however, your plea may not be given the attention you hope. Here are a few facts worth noting:

    • Working from home increases productivity, efficiency, and engagement according to a Harvard Business Review article.
    • Working from home allows you to be more focused and efficient according to Karen Dillon, coauthor of How Will You Measure Your Life?
    • Allowing a single worker to telecommute at least half the time can save an employer more than $11,000 a year according to the aforementioned Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs report.

3. Create your proposal. Your next step is to apply Dale Carnegie’s 3rd Human Relations principle, ‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ by crafting a proposal your boss can’t refuse.   Define the parameters of your flexible working from home or remotely schedule and include a backup plan for those days your boss would like your presence in the office. For example, it’s appropriate to request to work remotely daily except for Thursdays when all sales representatives are in the office. Also include commitments to be available via phone and email. Show how the parameters will benefit your boss and organization. For example, by not commuting for an hour each morning, you could provide assistance as needed to employees in later time zones.

4. Chat with your boss. Dale Carnegie said, “Take the chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes furthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The ‘sure thing’ boat never gets far from shore.” You should feel more confident and courageous after following the first steps. Instead of bulldozing your boss with facts, gently begin, for example, by explaining that you read a recent article that shows how allowing workers to work remotely improves results. Then share that you’ve thought a lot about how it could benefit your organization and present your proposal.

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