Do you love your job but wish you could work from home a few days a week? The problem that most of us struggle with here is thinking of how to ask for remote work days. We don’t want to seem like we’re looking for an excuse to waste time but as we all know, since 2020, remote work days are more accessible than ever before.
It can be tricky to broach the subject with your boss, but if done correctly, it can be very beneficial for both parties and provide you with a better work life balance, so this is well worth pursuing if you think working remotely will improve the quality of your work.
As an employer who loves to encourage my team to work away from the office, I want to share an insider’s perspective on how to ask for remote work days in a way that your boss won’t be able to say no to!
So whether you’re already working remotely and want more flexibility, or are just starting your career and want to explore the possibility of asking for remote work days, I’ve got you covered!
Before we dive in, here are a couple of essential things you need to consider before you ask for a remote work day.
Ask in person, not via e-mail
Do not e-mail your boss and ask for a remote work day. Especially not on the day you want to take your remote work day. Nobody likes to be put on the spot or made to feel like you’re trying to fool them into having a paid day off.
You should approach your boss in advance of the remote work day, explain the work you’re planning to carry out on your remote work day, and ask if that fits with the office schedule.
This will go a long way with your boss because it shows you’ve given great consideration to how you will work from home and in the long term, they’re more likely to say yes the next time you ask.
If you’re hoping to take regular remote work days, follow a similar approach but make sure you detail to your boss the work you will carry out on those days on a regular basis. Similarly, explain the tasks you may not be able to complete and explain they will be carried out on your days in the office. Again, this shows forward thinking and planning for how you can keep up with your workload.
Expect some discomfort, but don’t be dissuaded
Even though remote work days are a lot more commonplace nowadays, your boss may still be hesitant, particularly if you are new to your role.
Most workplace environments still have some reservations about remote work days so you should expect some hesitance when you first ask. You’ll find this the case especially if your boss works from the office every day because they will probably feel that if they can work from the office every day, why can’t you?
If you find your boss initially says no then you should respect their decision but ask them to reconsider in the future once they’re satisfied with your job performance. Alternatively, you could ask them to allow you to try this for a day and see how they find it. This is your opportunity to show how beneficial remote work days can be for your productivity – so use it wisely!
How to ask for remote work days
Time your request carefully
You are going to need your boss to trust you before you ask for a remote work day. You can’t just turn up for your first day in the office and ask to take a remote work day tomorrow.
If anything this is a one-way street to never getting any remote work days in the future!
You should be setting the groundwork in advance of asking for remote work days by proving your work performance to your boss, particularly with tasks you can carry out without their intervention. The more independently you can work in the office, the more likely you are to succeed at working from home.
Create a clear and specific remote work plan
If you want to impress your boss when you ask to work from home, provide them with a detailed remote work plan for how you will structure your day and what tasks you’re planning to complete.
Your boss may have concerns about how you will be able to effectively carry out work with a remote work arrangement and if you want to work from home then you need to provide them with proof that you can.
Your remote work plan should also list how you’ll access your documents, e-mail, and anything else you’d usually use in the office to complete your work. Show that you are dedicated to working from home in the same way you are dedicated to work in the office.
Prove that remote work is possible
Depending on the industry you work in, remote work may be more challenging. For example, if you work with sensitive data or require a lot of equipment that usually lives in the office. This blog post from Doist outlines the industries where this is the most achievable.
If this is the case then you’re going to need to prove that remote work is possible for your job role.
To do this, you need to have carefully considered the tasks you can carry out at home, the equipment you may need and how you’ll address any issues that may arise with not having what you need when working from home.
This is easier to manage if you live close to the office as you can stop by during your remote work day to get what you need, use equipment, etc. but if you don’t then you need a plan in place for these roadblocks. Particularly if you want your employer to be on board with letting you work from home.
Build immediate trust during your trial period
Your initial working from home days will likely be a trial period, even if your employer doesn’t tell you that’s what’s happening.
So if you’ve made a good enough argument to take a remote work day when you ask your boss and they have agreed, just know you will be on a trial until you can prove this works.
That means you should reply to all e-mails promptly, take calls when needed, and deliver all of your work on time.
Trust me, if you don’t, you’ll be back in the office full-time.
This is my final tip and one of the most important because when you start working from home you will probably feel a huge sense of freedom to do what you like. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but you have to ensure your productivity doesn’t suffer as a result of your newfound home office setup.
When you work remotely, you still have to have a desire to work and the discipline to ensure you get your work done. You also need to keep up regular communication with your managers or boss to prove you are working.
If you manage to achieve this then there’s no reason why your boss shouldn’t consider allowing you to work remotely one or two days per week and the benefits of your job will increase significantly. So make sure you take the time to approach this in the best possible way for a long-term outcome!