How To Approach Your Boss About Wanting To Work From Home

Sleeping in an extra hour, actually having time to make a decent breakfast, and staying in your pajamas all day while you write reports from your couch. Yes, working from home sounds like bliss. The need to reduce human-to-human contact with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 revolutionized the way we operate in many facets of society, including making telecommuting a reality for many. Employers learned that employees can often get their jobs done from home, and workers discovered that they don't need to sit in an office to be productive. Even two years after the start of the pandemic, nearly 60% of workers that could perform their duties at home were still telecommuting most, if not all, of the time, according to Pew Research Center

Of course, some work-from-home employees also realized that this work style isn't always the fantasy they envisioned. As Payscale points out, telecommuting can actually mean longer working days, misunderstandings with family and friends about your availability, and little support when you encounter technical difficulties. Still, many telecommuters prefer the disadvantages that come with working from home to those that come with on-site work.

As COVID restrictions continue to ease, many companies are continuing work-from-home arrangements with their staff. But if you've always worked from the office, approaching your boss about a more flexible routine can be daunting. It's important to think carefully about how to have the work-from-home talk with management to avoid immediate rejection.

What to consider before working from home

Before approaching your boss to discuss working from home, make sure that you've really thought the option through yourself. Aside from the fact that there are some jobs that simply can't be completed at home, some personalities benefit from the social interaction you tend to find in the office. According to Black Dog Institute, working from home for long periods of time can have negative effects on a person's mental health, resulting in feelings of loneliness and disconnect. You might also experience insomnia or an inability to switch off from work. If you feel that you may be prone to these symptoms, or have experienced them in the past, working from home might not be the best option for you.

Additionally, telecommuting is not advised for people who are easily distracted or are not self-motivated in their jobs (via USA Today). If you work better when you're closely held accountable or checked up on during the day, you might find that working from home does not allow you to achieve your full potential.

It's also crucial to make sure you've got the right setup. Vantage Circle explains that a healthy work environment at home includes an ergonomic chair and keyboard, enough light, and the right technology and tools. Once you're fully prepared to work from home and believe it's the right choice for you, it's officially time to have the discussion with your boss.

How to ask your boss about telecommuting

To avoid any miscommunication, it's better to approach your boss in person about working from home. Start by doing some research into how telecommuting works in your industry (via Doist). Find out if any of your colleagues work from home and how they achieve results this way, so you can formulate a detailed plan to bring to your boss. The Muse advises that having an exact plan in mind, including how your schedule will work, how you'll communicate with others, and how you'll meet your targets, will make your boss more likely to come around to the idea.

Let your boss know the reasons you want to work from home, illustrating how the arrangement will benefit the company and result in more productivity. Timely recommends backing this up with data, showing evidence that workplace distractions and long commutes can reduce overall output. Then suggest a trial period. This can further help your boss agree to the idea because it takes away the necessity for them to commit to the arrangement for the long term. A trial period will also be beneficial for you, as you might find that working from home isn't the right choice for you after all.

In many cases, working from home can result in increased productivity and employee satisfaction, making it a win for everyone. Make this clear to your boss in an honest conversation and you could soon reap the benefits of telecommuting too.