Asking to Work Remotely – How To Make it Happen

By: Mariah Rogers
Feb 12, 2021 • 6 min read

Asking to Work Remotely – How To Make it Happen.

Learning to work remotely has become the “new normal” for many of us in the workforce. It’s hard to believe that almost a year has gone by since we began working from home! In the beginning, we were confused. How long would this last? When do I have to kiss working in my sweatpants goodbye? Well, this timeline has been extended much longer than any of us ever expected.

For some of us, this transition to remote work has been a blessing in disguise. We’ve cut down on our long commute, no longer have to leave the house an hour before our shift’s start, and get to spend more time with our family. (And pets, of course!) It has become easier to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and we can even throw in a load of laundry in between Zoom calls.

For others, working in the office is a fond yet distant memory. Having unexpected breakroom chats, going out for coffee with coworkers, and enjoying your quiet and productive office space made working a peaceful experience. Working from home might serve as more of a distraction than a true benefit. Some might actually be eager to go back into the office when others can’t stand the thought of it!

work remotely

Is Working From Home Really Helping Your Productivity?

Is working from home really helping your productivity? Or, do you simply enjoy having access to all the comforts of home right at your fingertips? Working from the couch can be a nice break from office-life, but it’s time for a reality check! Are you being as productive as you were in the office? Are you being more productive than you were being when working in the office? Be truthful with yourself and know how you work best.

If you truly feel more productive working at home in your remote office, this is fantastic! There are a lot of perks to working from home. One of them being you are able to have more flexibility when designing your personalized work schedule. This can help promote work-life balance, resulting in employees having higher levels of productivity.

Is Working in The Office a Safe/Possible Option For You?

No matter how badly you want to return to the office, this might not be a possibility for you. COVID is still a real threat, even though the vaccine has started to be administered. Working in the office might not be a feasible or safe option for you or your family at this time. Before opting to start working in-house again and making your workplace debut, consider all of the pros and cons. If you are someone who is high-risk or you live with an elderly family member, going back into the office might not be the best idea. In this case, you should most definitely advocate for yourself to work from home.

As protocols and recommendations change, be sure to review the COVID guidelines outlined on the CDC website. 

work remotely

Build a Strong Case

In order to continue working from home, especially if your boss is requesting employees return to the office, you’ll need to build a strong case. Convincing your boss to let you work virtually will require you to provide examples and reasoning as to why they should allow this accommodation. If the only reason you want to stay home is to stay in your pj’s and wear slippers during Zoom calls, this isn’t going to cut it!

Think of tangible, concrete reasons as to why working from home is beneficial for your performance at the company. Try to center your conversation around your performance levels working from home versus working in the office. Persuade your boss to believe that you are a greater asset to the company while working as a virtual employee!

You’ll need tangible evidence to prove your case. Collect stats, deliverables, and outcomes you have achieved while working from home. Organize this “evidence” prior to meeting with your boss. This will help strengthen your case as you will come across as organized and determined to achieve your desired outcome at the meeting. Employers love to see their subordinates prove their case and advocate for themselves. Your boss wants you to do your best work! So prove to them that working from home is where the magic happens.

Examples of Solid Reasoning

When crafting your case, it’s important to gather information on why you should continue working remotely. Here are some examples of possible claims you can make when trying to persuade your boss!

Example #1: Since working from home, I have been able to increase my bandwidth and take on more projects for the team. I have not only been collaborating with the design team, but I’ve been able to work with the marketing team, too! This has helped strengthen my projects tremendously as I now have a more well-rounded understanding of our customers as a whole.

Example #2: Working from home has given me the ability to work in a focused and quiet space, allowing me to come up with more creative project ideas. I’ve been hosting a team brainstorming session every week, and our team has benefited tremendously because of it!

Example #3: I’ve always been passionate about improving my collaboration abilities. Ever since our team started working remotely, I have taken on the role of team leader. This has taught me so much, and I would love to continue being the go-to person for all virtual employees!

Example #4: Since many of our customers are also based at home working virtually, I believe it would be beneficial for me to continue working remotely in order to best meet their needs.

man in white button up shirt sitting at the table

What If They Say No?

What happens if your boss turns down your request to continue working remotely? This is an unfortunate possibility, as many managers are eager to have their team back in the office collaborating face-t0-face once again. This is especially true if your boss has not had previous experience managing remote teams before! Working in the office is traditional and within the comfort zones of many company leaders. However, times are changing, so it probably won’t be the normal way of working for many jobs going forward! If you are still trying to persuade your boss to consider a remote work approach, try these tips during your next 1 on 1 meeting.

Tips for talking to your boss: I completely understand your desire to have all employees return to working in-person at the office. I was wondering if we could explore a few alternative options that might help meet both of our needs.

Flexible Work Schedule

If your boss turns down your request to work from home full-time, you have a couple of options that you can explore next. If working remotely is still your main priority, try to offer the idea of a flexible work schedule to your manager. Flexible work schedules are becoming more and more popular as employees return to a “normal” work routine. Flexible work schedules allow employees to go into the office a few days out of the week and work from home on the other days. For example, someone with a flexible work schedule might go into the office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but work remotely on Tuesday and Thursday. If your boss turns down your request to work from home full-time, try to persuade them into letting you try a hybrid approach!

Tips for talking to your boss: I was hoping we could try a flexible work schedule approach. The hybrid model would allow both of our needs to be met. I would come into the office 3 days a week and work from home the other 2.

silver MacBook Pro

Offer a “Trial Run”

Another option you can explore when trying to convince your boss to let you work from home is offering a “trial run.” Essentially, you propose the idea of working from home for a few weeks to see how things go. If your boss is not happy with your performance or would rather you be in-person every day, then you will return once the trial run is over. This is your chance to really show off! Prove to your boss that your productivity and involvement is just as high when working virtually as it is when you are in the office. If all goes well, they might consider allowing you to work from home full-time or at least explore a flexible work schedule option.

Tips for talking to your boss: I would like to explore working remotely for the next two weeks and then meeting with you to talk about how this trial period went. If you would still prefer for me to come back to the office after these two weeks, I will be more than happy to do so!

Explore Other Options

If your boss does not budge on letting you work remotely, even only some of the time, it might be time to explore other options if working from home is crucial for you. If this is the case, don’t worry! Due to the pandemic, many more companies are onboarding and training new employees to work virtually full-time. If working from home is the best choice for you and your family especially due to COVID, it might be time to start your next job search.

So, what’s your opinion? Would you rather return to the office or continue working from home? Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from you.

More to Read:

Questions to Ask When Applying for a Remote Job

8 Red Flags You Need to Look Out For in Job Postings 

What Does Remote Work Mean For Job Seekers?

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