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4 Reasons You May Not Get to Work From Home

By Maurie Backman - Apr 4, 2019 at 8:18AM

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And what to do about them.

These days, a growing number of companies are hopping aboard the telecommuting train and allowing workers to do their jobs from home. And make no mistake about it: That's an arrangement you can benefit from greatly. For one thing, working remotely means no longer having to spend time or money commuting. It also gives you more flexibility in tending to matters in your personal or home life.

That said, you might face some resistance from your manager if you ask to work from home. Here are a few reasons why that request might be denied.

Woman taking notes at desk

Image source: Getty Images.

1. You're too new to the job

It takes a while to build trust between an employee and a manager. If you're a fairly recent hire, your boss might not know what sort of work ethic you tend to uphold or what sort of output to expect from you. As such, your manager might want you onsite for the foreseeable future until you get up to speed or prove yourself trustworthy enough for a work-from-home arrangement.

2. You don't have the best performance history

If you're that person at work who's known to skip out on meetings, show up late, or miss deadlines, then chances are, your boss won't be too keen on the idea of you working from home. After all, if your performance history is shaky at best in an office setting, it stands to reason that it might decline even more if you're given the leeway to work from home.

3. Your work is very collaborative in nature

Some jobs lend more easily to remote work than others. If your role is such that you tend to collaborate with colleagues a lot, or supervise people or on-site projects, then working from home may not be feasible for the most part.

4. Your boss doesn't want your peers working from home

Maybe your boss absolutely trusts you to work from home, but if the same doesn't hold true for your colleagues, he or she might deny your request to avoid a "playing favorites" situation. Having a teamwide policy is a good way for managers to evade conflict, so unfortunately, your peers might cause you to lose out on an otherwise sweet opportunity.

Making your case

Just because your initial request to work from home is denied doesn't mean the situation is hopeless. In fact, there may be things you can do to change your boss's mind or arrive at a compromise that works well for everyone involved.

First, be flexible yourself. You might want to work from home on a full-time basis, but if your work is collaborative in nature, a part-time arrangement might be more reasonable. Be prepared to explore this option, even if it isn't your first choice.

Furthermore, if you're a fairly recent hire, exercise some patience, especially if your boss indicates that doing your job from home might be on the table once you've proven yourself capable of independent work. At the same time, ask your manager if they are willing to establish a time frame for making that happen. For example, you might agree that you'll be granted permission to work from home part-time after a successful six months on the job, and that a full-time remote arrangement might be possible after a year.

If your personal performance history is the reason behind your boss's decision to deny your work-from-home request, aim to do better. Start handing in assignments ahead of deadlines, report to meetings on time, and do whatever it takes to show your manager that your days of slacking and falling down on the job are behind you.

Finally, if your peers are the reason you can't work from home, and your manager is gung-ho on a single teamwide policy, you might consider switching teams if the opportunity is there. Working with a more responsible set of colleagues might help move your career in a positive direction as a bonus.

Working from home isn't always a given. If you're denied that opportunity, aim to get to the bottom of things and take steps to eke out more flexibility. It's a better bet than dragging yourself into the office on a daily basis and getting no wiggle room whatsoever.

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