How to negotiate work-from-home at your current company

Want to start easing your boss into the idea of you working remotely? Here are some helpful tips on how to negotiate work-from-home with your company.

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7 minute read

“60% of the top 20 companies listed in the annual World's Best Workplaces list have an active remote working policy  - Great Place to Work® Annual Reports.”

From Salesforce to Hilton to American Express, everybody is embracing remote work as it dramatically expands their talent pool globally. Besides the immediate cost savings from maintaining a larger office space, it also leads to enhanced revenue generated through increased productivity.

Implementing a work from home policy in these organizations is keeping their employees happy and satisfied, reducing the attrition rate, and retaining the best talent. Inclusion of work from home policy is, therefore, a win-win situation for all.

Why should you consider working from home?

A 2-year case study by Stanford professor exhibits just how efficient working from home is. Telecommuting comes with a whole lot of benefits such as no commute, increased productivity, better work output, no office distraction, a flexible schedule,  working from anywhere, fewer sick days, etc.

It's clear: remote work is fantastic. The problem is the barrier to entry. Companies that employ remotely often require new hires to have remote work experience. What you can do instead is start working remotely at your existing company. Asking to go remote is scary and frightening.

Don't panic, we've got you covered. We'll systematically try to answer each question with two bonus email templates. So, dig in.  

Analyze your situation

Asking to transition from office setup to remote work requires a little bit of struggle. Analyze and compare your productivity, focus, and time management skills while working from home.

Whenever you decide to come out to your manager, show them the numbers. Numbers don't lie. If you're able to do everything you're able to accomplish in the office, and more, then there is no reason your manager will stop you.

Be prepared to showcase an excellent case that demonstrates your belief in your abilities and the evidence that people in your industry and job are working from home effectively.

Identify the benefits to your organization

The art of persuasion starts at someone else's benefit. In this case, it's your company. Your work-from-home setup should be mutually beneficial. Addressing your manager's concerns and incorporating solutions for those in your flexible work arrangement is a win-win situation for both.

  • Does working from home help you do your job better, and how?
  • Will working remotely affect your productivity and project delivery?
  • How will you manage your accountability on daily tasks while working from home?
  • Would you be able to work given the distractions at home?

Be prepared for all such doubts your employer might have. It will show your employer that you've thought through everything carefully. Be flexible and look at it from the company's perspective when negotiating a work from home arrangement.

Prepare your proposal for a work from home arrangement

Formulate a well-documented proposal for your remote work arrangement. Consider your timing as well: If you're a newbie or you're chasing a promotion, now may not be the best time to ask.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Meet your employer to discuss your situation in person, instead of an email.
  • Bring a strategic plan/proposal to the table, with a clear outline of your work schedule and responsibilities.
  • Your work schedule should not be drastically different from your current working hours. It can throw off your employer and can be a potential red-flag. If you're changing time zones, let them know in advance.

Sample e-mail to kickstart a conversation

Hey [Boss’s Name], 

I hope you're having a wonderful day.

I wanted to talk to you about something that is on my mind for the last few weeks. It's regarding my work arrangement and making it so that I am accomplishing my responsibilities and duties more efficiently. 

I'm free on [time/date slots] and checked you don't have any meetings during that [date-time slot]. Shall I go ahead and block half an hour of your time? 

I am looking forward to discussing this in more detail. 


[Your Name]

Ultimately your goal should be to satisfy every doubt your employer has, understanding your remote work arrangement. Assure him that your productivity is going to be similar, if not better, compared to working from the office.

Your remote work plan should address the following topics:

  • Schedule: Sticking to a schedule is essential. You need to update your shared calendar, mentioning your availability.
  • Performance analysis:  Complete your daily tasks on time. Give daily updates via Zoom and email, plan your daily and weekly commitments using tools like Trello or JIRA.
  • Advantages your employer has: Draft a proposal that shows significant positive changes in your work output, that favors the company.

On top of these, communication, working setup at home, and security are also a top priority for employers.

Set up a trial run, prove yourself and build immediate trust

If working from home is not a common scenario in your company, your boss is going to be a little hesitant. Suggest a trial run for a month or two. Ask for telecommuting on some days in a week like on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you manage to grab a work from home day, consider it an investment and smash it. Don't just meet deadlines, beat them. Use this trial period to prove yourself, which will ultimately drive you to remote work for a longer duration.

Use these tips to make your trial period a success:

  1. Show the power of a distraction-free work environment by achieving your deadlines.
  2. Be always available and visible(even more than in office). Be responsive by email, message, and phone.
  3. Establish disciplined work habits. Use noise-canceling headphones and a concrete schedule to work from home.
  4. Be a team player and be willing to adjust over time to gain immediate trust.
  5. Be reliable and flexible.

Sample proposal

Complete this proposal, schedule a face-to-face meeting with your manager to bring up the idea, and then email this proposal as a follow-up.

Hi [Manager's Name],

I hope you're having a good day!

I've been with [Company] for [X years]. I love the culture, the people, and what [Company] stands for. 

During this time, I've made many significant contributions like [description of things you did]. Recently, I've also [description of the thing you did fairly recently]. Least to say, I take pride in my work, complete it on time & love every minute of it.

 I want to take this moment to propose an alternative working style that has worked for me in the past. I believe I am more productive when working from home, and it also gives me a few extra hours each day by cutting down the commute.

I propose telecommuting [twice a week]. I believe I can make it work since my position solely requires a Laptop and Internet. I am more productive working from home, with fewer distractions and breaks throughout the day.

Please consider my request; I am confident we can make it work. To keep me accountable, I can mark my availability on a shared calendar and will report back on the progress with regular check-ins.

Thanks for considering this. 

I am looking forward to discussing this with you in person.


[Your Name]

Persevere, but don't be hung up

Stay positive and confident, and don't be disheartened if you don't get an immediate yes. Your employer will likely need to consider your proposal and discuss it with his superiors. Remote work is the future. Telecommuting brings several benefits, the reason being a lot of companies are going fully remote.

The original post appeared on DailyRemote. 





Daniel Wolken is a software engineer, entrepreneur, and remote work advocate. He works at DailyRemote, a remote job board aimed at helping people find their dream jobs. He also operates a LinkedIn group for job seekers and manages content for DailyRemote’s Blog.


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