Working from home

How to ask to work from home (and succeed in 5 steps)

How to ask to work from home - employer and employee in a discussion.
Photo from Unsplash

Are you wondering how to ask to work from home more or permanently, after getting used to it in recent years?

In the last couple of years, many of us have been fortunate enough to have jobs that allowed us to work from home. We were finally able to get the work/life balance in order.

Now the worst of the pandemic is behind us, many employers have asked staff to come back into the office, and you might not want to!

Perhaps you are now back in the office full or part-time as a hybrid worker. Or maybe you’ve started a new job and want to ask for more remote working, because you feel you can do your job just as well from home.

Use the following key steps to give yourself the best chance when tackling how to ask to work from home…

1. Bide your time

Depending on your circumstances, it may not be the right timing to ask to work from home straight away. Bide your time and show that you have given things a fair chance. Gather your data and think about how you will argue your case.

You need to be able to show comparisons and justifications, so track these accordingly. This could include things such as: more time and energy saved on a commute, financial savings for the company, increased motivation and so on.

If you’ve had a change of circumstances e.g. moving further away (quite common during and after the pandemic) or had a baby, that will also support your argument. Be ready to explain any recent or upcoming changes and demands you’re facing.

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How to ask to work from home

2. Don’t just start without permission

Some people start finding excuses to come in and take it for granted it’s OK to work from home. Don’t take liberties with this important ask. Be transparent and show you are a respectful employee.

It will help you much more to discuss things beforehand, rather than taking things into your own hands. Don’t be lazy about showing up in person before you’ve been approved for remote working. It could ruin your chances to get your request approved.

And when you do have the opportunity to raise it, ensure it’s at a face-to-face meeting in person. This further shows respect and conveys your motivation. Perhaps you aren’t the only one that wants to increase/restart home working, in which case you could get other colleagues on board.

3. Build a case

Put together a strong rationale for wanting to work from home beyond it just being personal preference. You need to show your employer that this is the right move for both you and them in terms of efficiency and productivity.

There has been a movement of employees mostly preferring to work from home now, given the option, so your employer won’t be surprised by the request. But you need them to present a strong argument, especially if you are asking for it full or most of the time.

You can build into your case how it improves your morale or ability to concentrate. Personally, I find it difficult and distracting to work in a crowded, noisy environment now, whereas before I just got on with it.

Improving your mental health is a strong justification. As is your need to balance work/life responsibilities and factor in your childcare needs and so forth.

How to ask to work from home - person working on laptop
Image by Dorothe from Pixabay

4. Offer up some extras

If it seems to be a hard sell with your manager or HR, consider what else you could offer to soften things up. Be strategic and prepare on how to ask to work from home. Perhaps they might consider a trial period to see how it goes first.

You could offer to start earlier or work later if that’s something that would help the team. Or maybe you’re happy to pay for your home office setup essential kit if you can. Normally, employers should pay for that but if they don’t many of the accessories I mention in the post are affordable or have cheaper alternatives.

Also, explain how it will work day-to-day so they feel comfortable and informed of your plan. Offer to share your calendar with anyone that works closely with you. Suggest using Teams or Skype more if you don’t already, so they can check in with you quickly and easily if needed.

5. Don’t be complacent

if you’re approved for home working, make sure you continue to show your employer the benefits of this arrangement in the following ways:

  • Keep up 1-2-1 meetings with your manager and other regular meetings as normal
  • Engage in meetings online, speak up and turn your camera on
  • Keep communication going with colleagues (read the post for more tips) and don’t become a hermit
  • Continue to share your calendar: be open about your schedule and routine at home
  • Be available on Teams, Skype and phone as necessary
  • Look presentable on zoom/video calls. Don’t look slobby at the other end of the camera!
  • Be flexible if you are needed to attend in-person meetings or events
  • Show that you are giving 100% when working remotely

Final thoughts on how to ask to work from home

For those with laptop-bound jobs, the above should put you in a strong position, if you want to approach how to ask to work from home with a positive outcome. If you don’t get the result you want (say full-time at home), you can still push for part of the week or an increase on what you do now.

Remember, while it’s important to show the added value of working from home to your employer, you need to take care of yourself too. Ensure you are practicing self-care when working from home, find ways to exercise while at home and get outdoors too for added health benefits.

Are you preparing for how to ask to work from home? Have you been expected to come back into the office much more than you’re comfortable with?

For more on working from home life, check out staying productive when working from home and share gifts for working from home mums with your friends and family (drop those hints!).

Pin this for saving and sharing on how to ask to work from home! Thank you for reading.

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How to ask to work from home


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