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Want to Work Remotely? Here’s How to Ask

In the midst of summer and warmer weather, the option to work remotely may feel more than appealing than ever. But if your company still expects you to be in the office from 9 to 5, be mindful of how you ask your boss. This could make all the difference in whether your request will be approved.

You will likely get nowhere if you pitch your boss based on all the reasons why a flexible work schedule will personally help you. Instead, make the case about how it will help your team and your company.

“As employees, you always have to make it from the point of view of the business,” says Tonya Lain, regional vice president of Adecco Staffing. “As soon as it becomes personal, it’s not credible, and you lose any opportunity to have a real business discussion.”

Make a Plan

Before you bring up the idea to your boss, make a formal plan of how you’d like to start working remotely. Determine whether you’d prefer to work from home every other Friday, or shift your schedule from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Explain how you will make yourself available throughout the day – whether through regular email or phone check-ins, instant messenger, video chat, etc.

Focus on Productivity

Outline how this new schedule could increase your productivity. For example, if your company has an open office environment, explain how working remotely could help you focus on tasks without distraction. If you commute to the office, calculate how much time you could save by working from home. If you work closely with colleagues, clients or vendors that are based in different time zones, explain how shifting your schedule could positively impact your work flow. Make sure to weave in how your new schedule will impact your goals.

Be Realistic

Does your role require you to have a lot of in-person meetings? Are you a newer employee and still getting familiar with your team and how it operates? Do you handle a lot of sensitive information? Even if working from home sounds appealing, a regular remote schedule may not be the best for you and your current role. If that’s the case, consider adjusting your plan to ask to work from home on special occasions, such as a Friday before a three-day weekend.

Adds Ochstein,“Not all companies in all industries can make flex time and remote working work due to their industry or the nature of their business. Companies that are hyper collaborative or that put an emphasis on working in teams may want their employees working face-to-face as opposed to Skype.”

Negotiate

If your company culture already embraces flex time, than it will likely be easier for you to get your plan approved. But if your company bristles at these kinds of perks, it could be an uphill battle.

One solution is to ask your boss for a trial period of 30 or 60 days. This allows your boss to proactively evaluate how your new schedule impacts your productivity. This also gives you the option to test out your schedule and adjust where needed.

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Does work-life balance matter to you? Check out our 25 Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance.

If working remotely isn’t an option for you, would more perks make a difference? Get inspired with our Top 20 Employee Benefits & Perks.

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