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How to Get Your Boss to Let You Work from Home

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These days more and more people are working from home — yours truly included — whether that be freelancing or telecommuting. The trend from working in an office is definitely shifting to the comforts of home.

Many people, primarily working moms, are finding that the ridiculous costs of childcare have them considering other alternatives. That’s what happened to me. I knew full-time daycare was not in our budget. We couldn’t afford me quitting my job and being a stay-at-home mom. I couldn’t burden my extended family with full-time daycare, and I wanted to be there for my children while still earning a decent income.

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work from home Telecommuting was the answer to my prayers at the time. And eventually, I shifted from telecommuting to a brick and mortar employer to entirely working from home as a freelancer in my role as a proofreader, virtual assistant, and blogger.

If you’ve been wanting to talk to your boss about working from home and don’t know how to go about it, my experience and tips can help guide you.

Give it a lot of thought first

Before you talk with your boss, really evaluate if this is the best alternative for you. Can you realistically get your work done at home? Don’t ask to work from home so that you can slack off. Do you have the workspace and distraction-free zone to complete your work? I love using noise-canceling headphones to drown out my loud family when I’m working. Taking time to evaluate this change will save you a lot of headache down the road.

Benefits to the employer

The best way to improve your chances of getting your employer to agree is to highlight the benefits to them of you working at home. Costs will be on you to work at home. You’ll be using your Internet and utilities. This will mean extra savings for your employer. Employees who work from home are happier, more productive, and less likely to take sick days. Check out this great post for more reasons to help convince your employer.

If you’re a valued employee (like I was), they’ll want to do what they can to keep you. It’s so much more costly to hire someone new and get them trained. As a former human resources professional, I know this firsthand.

Overcome obstacles

Look at what you’re doing now and how you can accomplish your work from home. How productive can you be? And if you’re in need of a morning makeover, this course is a lifesaver. Can you complete the majority of your work at home with a computer and telephone? Is it realistic to communicate with colleagues via email/video calls mostly? If so, then yes, telecommuting is doable! If not, perhaps you can work out a schedule to only telecommute some of the time. Realistically you’ll have to spend some time at the office — especially for company events like meetings and training. Make sure you have a reliable system in place to keep up with appointments and other obligations.

When I was an HR professional, I still had to conduct in-person interviews with applicants and new hire orientations. I could not accomplish this at home. So I spent 50% of my time at the office and 50% of my time at home.

Also, if you are a part-time employee, set solid “office hours” where coworkers know they can quickly reach you.

My official office hours were from 10 am – 2 pm, but I could still complete other tasks outside those hours.

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Trial Period

Your boss will be more likely to agree to this arrangement if you offer a trial period. Ease into it by offering a trial period of three to six months then an evaluation. This trial period benefits you and your employer. You’ll be able to give it a trial run to see if telecommuting is feasible and your employer can do the same on their end.

So it goes without saying you MUST wow your employer during this trial period to make it a permanent situation.

The Meeting

Now, the hard part, actually talking to your boss. Hopefully, you’ve already set a meeting beforehand. I would recommend going to the meeting with a short proposal highlighting the key points. Make sure to polish your proposal ensuring it’s error-free. I love using this tool to help me clean up my writing.

You could even mention the numerous studies out there of the benefits to employers of having remote employees. Just do your research. But please don’t overload your boss with too much data. Don’t oversell it.

Keep it friendly and casual. Again, don’t bombard your boss with a ton of information; highlight the key points. After finishing, give your boss time to think about your proposal. Depending on the hierarchy of your organization, your boss may even need to seek approval from their boss and possibly human resources. Don’t expect an answer right away. Be hopeful but try not to get your hopes up.

Get Started

Putting yourself out there and asking for something you need is never easy. We all have that fear of rejection. But if you don’t try, how will you ever know? And if you let fear stop you, you could be missing out on the equally high chance that they’ll say yes.

So do your homework and due diligence. Put yourself in your employer’s shoes, and imagine how someone would sell working at home to you.

Follow my suggestions, and you’ll be more likely to work from home soon.

Did I miss anything else you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

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