Do you hate your commute, but hate the idea of hunting down a new job even more? Don’t give up on working from home just yet—a single conversation with your boss might be all you need.
Some workplaces are on the cutting edge of the remote work revolution. But others are run by people who still think workers should be in the office daily. If you can convincingly present the benefits of remote work to your boss, though, they might just change their mind.
Not sure how to start the conversation? Try these tips to pitch the idea successfully.
Be a Great Worker
It might go without saying, but before you schedule this meeting, make sure you’re in good standing with your company.
If you’re a great worker who’s been with the company for a while, your boss should trust you on some level. But if you just started, or your boss isn’t happy with your performance, give it time and work on improving your work reputation first. Then, you’ll be ready to pitch the remote-work idea.
Do Your Research
The first step is to come to the conversation prepared. Your superiors may bring up arguments against working from home. But when they tell you their concerns, you can counter with the real facts—if you’ve done your homework.
Lots of research supports the benefits of working from home. For example, studies suggest that remote workers tend to be more productive, not less. They’re also more likely to stick with the job and be invested in their work. With this knowledge (and the sources to back it up), the conversation will be much easier.
Talk About Benefits
As you do your research and prepare your pitch, focus on how the company will benefit from letting you work remotely.
Will the company save money on office overhead and equipment? Will you be able to take on more projects when you’re not dealing with your commute? That’s what your boss needs to know.
Clearly, you’ll benefit from the chance to work in pajamas and raid your own fridge. But that’s not what your boss cares about. Do not focus on what you get out of it; focus on what the company gets out of it. Spin the conversation around how the business will benefit from this arrangement, and they’ll probably be all ears.
Prepare to Compromise
If your job doesn’t typically offer full-time remote positions, your boss likely won’t give you one right away. While you can make that your initial pitch, you should have a reasonable compromise in your back pocket, too.
For example, you might offer to work from home one day a week at first, or suggest a trial period of a few months. If it goes well, your boss should agree to let you work from home more often.
Offer a Plan
Does your workplace involve specific equipment, processes, or credentials? If so, have a plan for how to make these logistics work from home.
If you make it easy for your boss to see how working remotely will function, they’ll be more receptive to the idea. You can even write up a one-page proposal where you outline this plan alongside the benefits of working from home. After you talk with your boss, you can send them the proposal to help convince them.
If you’re granted the chance to work from home, even for just one day, take the opportunity to prove yourself. Get more done than you would have in the office. Document your accomplishments so you can show your boss that they made the right move.
The good news is that without a long commute and distracting office, it usually is easier to get more done at home. Just make sure to set yourself up for success with a quiet workspace and any equipment you might need.
Your boss won’t let you work from home at all? In that case, try using one of your sick days, but working from home on that day. Be as productive as usual—or more. Come back to work with proof of how much you accomplished. If you got all that done while you were “sick,” your boss might be willing to reconsider your work-from-home pitch.
Of course, some jobs don’t suit remote work. But many industries today are primed for working from home, at least part of the time. It never hurts to ask (professionally and strategically), so why not give it a shot?
To prepare even more for the conversation, check out how we debunked these common work-from-home myths.