Working from home can cut your commute time, help make you more productive, and allow you to better balance work and family life. There's just one problem if you're hoping to arrange your work life so you can do your job from your couch -- or at least from your home office: You've got to convince your boss.
Not all companies allow work-from-home arrangements, but there are ways to increase the chances your boss will be open to allowing remote work. To maximize the likelihood you'll be given the go-ahead to work from your house instead of corporate headquarters, try these five techniques.
1. Start off small
Instead of asking your employer to immediately allow you to transition to working exclusively from home, ask to work just one or two days a week out of the office. This won't appear to your employer as such a major shift in the status quo -- and it will give you a chance to demonstrate how productive you can be.
2. Suggest a trial period
Your boss may be uncomfortable with the idea of allowing you to work from home and may worry problems will arise if you're asked to come back to the office. To make sure your boss doesn't say no out of fear of the arrangement failing, suggest a trial period. Suggest you give it a go for a month or two, and then regroup to see how everything is working out and if changes need to be made.
3. Explain how the company will benefit
While your boss may be sympathetic to your long commute, the company's goal is to make a profit, not to make your life easier -- so don't present your request in terms of what working from home will do for you. Instead, come ready with clear and specific examples of how you can be more productive and better serve the business by working from your house.
Maybe you'll be able to increase the number of customers you can call each day when you don't have the noise from the office to contend with, or you'll be able to tackle an extra project because you can focus more intently in your own space. The more advantages to the business you present to your boss, the greater the chances your plan to work from home will be approved.
4. Come ready with evidence
Convincing your boss that a work-from-home arrangement would benefit the company is easier if you have evidence to back up your assertions. If you've ever had the chance to work remotely before, highlight your increased productivity during that time period. Have specific examples to back up your claims, such as finishing a project that you had two weeks budgeted for in only a week's time when working from home.
You could also research whether other departments in your organization or other competitors have successfully allowed work-from-home arrangements. Or you could come ready with statistics on the benefits of remote work. By presenting hard data to your boss, you make it more difficult for your employer to successfully raise objections to your claims that working from home could be a good thing for everyone.
5. Address your employer's concerns
If your boss seems open to the idea of remote work but isn't ready to commit, take the time to address the company's concerns. Ask your employer why they hesitate to allow you to work at home, and then make a plan to overcome those fears. Your employer may be afraid you won't get much work done if you have kids at home -- so explaining you have day care and a backup sitter could put your boss' mind at ease.
It's worth the effort to try to score a work-at-home arrangement
While it may take some time to build your case and you may not get a yes immediately, it's worth the effort to try to convince your company to let you work from home. Just be persistent, polite, and prepared in your requests -- and make sure you do your job well if you're given permission to work from home so your boss doesn't regret giving you the chance.