How To Ask the Boss If You Can Work Remotely


chessYou’ve considered it. You’ve researched the implications. You’ve spoken to your significant other/landlord/dog and made sure they’re comfortable with the idea. You’re all ready to work remotely. All that remains is (cue suspenseful music) to ask the boss.

I don’t know your boss, and I don’t know whether you’re a dedicated member of your team or you spend half the day chatting with your friends, but for the purposes of this exercise, I’ll assume you’re both a reasonable person who is happy in your work and see that you have a future with your current employer.

1. What’s your motivation?

Do you want to spend more time walking Fido, reduce your travel time and costs, or simply get more work done? Once you can work out your key motivation, you can identify whether it’s a priority for your boss. Let’s face it, Fido is not going to be a standout winner in the Good Reason Stakes.

2. What will motivate your boss?

If you want to work from home for some (or all) of the week, you’ll need to figure out what will motivate your boss. If your motivation and his or her motivation do not coincide, you need to find a way for them to do so.

For example, imagine I want to work from home so that I can commute less and spend more time with my kids when they get home from school. And let’s say that my boss is heavily focused on productivity and, with recent redundancies, is trying to increase my workload.

Perhaps my reasoning would point out to my boss that currently I always need to leave work at five on the dot so I can get home to my kids, but the rest of the team is more flexible than that. So if I worked from home, I’d be able to be more flexible about my finish time, too, which could help me to work my time frames in more smoothly with theirs. Without the commute, I might also be able to start earlier in the morning on some occasions, which might be helpful to other members of the team, clients and others.

3. Suggest clear performance indicators.

If you can identify a clear reason why working from home will be beneficial (e.g. with less commute time and distractions, I’ll be able to turn projects around more quickly), your boss may find it easier to justify the decision to let you work remotely. They may also feel that they have a clear indicator of performance that they can use to assess the arrangement down the track.

4. Consider some sweeteners.

What if your boss is doubtful about the idea? What if they’re concerned about the cost of getting you a mobile phone, or that you’ll drop off the face of the earth as soon as you start working remotely? It’s not a bad idea to decide on a few compromises or sweeteners that might make the idea easier for them to get their heads around.

  • Perhaps you’ll be willing to arrange your own work phone and home office set-up, at no cost to your company.
  • Maybe you’ll be happy to make a trial arrangement for a couple of weeks or a month, with a meeting after that time to assess the success of the arrangement, and discuss any issues.
  • Perhaps you’d consider forfeiting the next scheduled pay increase, or accepting a slight reduction in your current benefits, in order to work from home.

5. Believe.

Once you’ve worked out your strategy, aligned your motives with those of your employer, and considered the sweeteners you’ll be willing to offer, there’s just one thing you need to do: truly believe that this arrangement will benefit both yourself and your employer. If you don’t think it has any real benefits for your boss, that will likely come across in the way you present and discuss the idea. If you believe in the benefits you’re telling your boss the arrangement will produce, you’ll be much more convincing.

These are my tips, but there are thousands of people here who have done the same thing with different approaches. How did you convince your boss to give you the opportunity to work remotely?



Nice article, I also have a preference for working from home, Ostrix I will agree with the self discipline bit you said. Being ADHD I find the lack of distractions when working from home rather comforting.


Working at home has been always preferable for me, it indeed saves time and increases my productivity, because I feel relaxed and more focused. Naturally, it has its disadvantages and requires a trait not everybody has – strong self-discipline. But it also depends on what kind of work you’re doing… As a bottom line, I say there are no “rules” whether it is good or bad to work from home. It is very flexible and depends on your status, job, location, home-conditions, self-discipline etc. There is no one recipe.


People want to work from home because it saves money, time, and (for the most part) wasted effort.

If you go into the office, you waste time in meetings, chit-chat with your neighbors, getting interrupted by someone stopping by your cubicle, etc.


why people need to work remotely …
If you work is not covering up in working hours It means either u r performing slow Or ur Boss have Extra burden on you …..

realty It is a bad trend going on today working on weekends & even you Boss will not happy because Recession is also going :)


Good article.

While I agree telecommuting can work very well – look at 37signals and how their people are all over the country – and the tools exist to make it effective (video chat, etc.), there *are* some things you lose.

By not being around your coworkers, you miss out the context – and yes, the scuttlebutt – for some of the things which happen in the company.

Also, by being a relatively autonomous employee, you’re also a very clean branch to prune if the need ever arises.

Still, I’ve worked from home and I’ve worked to overcome these issues, mainly by making sure I made daily contact (voice or video) with coworkers. I want them to think of me as being on another floor instead of another area code.


I’m sure that bosses are not pleased of this decisions indifference if the employees are productive. Is that fear that it’s not at the office and maybe it’s not doing the job right. But i think this can be solved once that you gain yours boss trust and respect.


When I went to my boss and asked to work remotely (from another state), the following had already happened:

1) I had been at the company for 2 years
2) I had shown that I was utterly dependable, perhaps too much so
3) I had been on vacations visiting in-laws in another state where I had worked from there while my wife and kids enjoyed grandparents.

An aspect that helped for me I think is that I am not part of a team of web workers, I’m it. So there are no day-to-day collaboration issues. I get emails or calls to make something happen online and I go to work.

When I asked I basically just said, “I can do this web stuff from anywhere- if we moved, can I still work for you?” If they let you do the remote work to extend a family vacation and it went well, it will be a good clue that this might work out.

In response to the previous comment about “why would you want to?” my reasons why it is good are that I in fact get more done from home. I have very little ‘meaningless’ interaction with company personnel- and none from the people I don’t work with. No over-the-cubicle conversations. Almost never grabbed for a meeting. In short, if you enjoy the work in working, you may like working from home.

Yes, being at home can be distracting. But when we bought our house, we bought one that had an office with thick door and that passed the scream test. Place a child in what will be their room and have them scream while you have your office door shut. If the scream isn’t well-muffled, keep looking.

A workaholic will be a workaholic regardless of where they’re working. The line does get blurred sometimes, but you just have to be firm with yourself and with others.

For those that like the social aspect of working I would say you should probably avoid working from home full-time. As a salaried web worker who has plenty to do and never needs to find clients etc., I don’t leave the house during the workday.


Yet, I don’t really understand why people would like to work at home.
It’s like reducing to the minimum (almost nothing) the barrier between professionnal and private life. It can be very dangerous for your psychological balance and even health if you start working like hell at home, even taking request during dinner time.

I am talking about that, because I have seen what a small blackberry can do to the life of a person even with small responsabilities toward his company. Now, it is very easy to call that person when he’s out of the office or even on vacation. And of course, that is not supposed to be the case, but everyone now expect him to check his emails a couple of times a day.

My last argument is mostly valid for me only: I can’t focus at all at home on some work. And I need to see people as well.

I think I will always try to avoid as much as possible working from home, even if that means 3 hours spend on commuting everyday (at least, I will have some time to spend on reading books and so on)

Comments are closed.