No, I’m not writing this article in my pajamas on the couch. In fact, I’m writing this from my home office that is set-up with all the bells and whistles! As an entrepreneur, I’ve had the privilege to set my own hours and I’ve also worked for organizations with various office cultures.
When Marissa Mayer banned working from home at Yahoo in 2013, I was one of the first to voice my opinion – employees should be able to work remotely, at least part of the time. Workers are happier, healthier and generally more productive when they have the flexibility to work from home.
But, not everyone has the option to set their own hours, so how do you convince your boss to let you work from home?
Try this plan:
Show off, take a sick day
I know what you’re thinking – is she crazy!? How can taking a sick day prove to my boss that I’m reliable? Take a personal (sick) day and work from home. Work the entire day (or at least part of the day) and make sure your team knows it. Who knew it was possible for you to be even more productive from home? Hopefully now your boss.
Write that press release or blog post from a coffee shop
Next time your boss asks you to write a press release or blog post (or report, etc.), request a couple of hours to head to a coffee shop nearby. Explain that getting out of the office in a new surrounding will help you focus and be more efficient with the task at hand.
Document your work
Before you approach the topic of working from home, make sure you have a record of your tasks. Create an excel list of projects and write an O for office and an H for home beside each one. Now sort the tasks so you can view all of the ones with an H beside it. This should allow you to demonstrate what you will be able to work on from home to yourself and to your boss.
Communication is key
Research tools to help you manage your projects and keep in regular communication with your manager. Personally, I love Basecamp. Anytime I upload a new project or discussion, I can send an automatic update to my team. Bonus points as I now have a record of how I bring value to my job. (Check out this new book Remote: Office Not Required from 37signals (Basecamp) founders Fried and Hansson!)
Start the Discussion
Lead the discussion with how working from home will help the company and not you personally. One of the most common situations is a long commute. You could demonstrate that by working from home (full time or part time), you could gain an additional two hours of working time per day. Do you have client meetings that are located closer to home? This is a great way to demonstrate how you are saving the company time and money.
Be ready for NO
Your company may have a “no working from home policy,” but before you completely give up present your plan B. This could range from changing your hours (i.e. 10 hour days, Friday’s off) or re-negotiating your compensation plan. Before you approach the discussion, be very clear with yourself on how important this lifestyle change is for you. Good luck!
Do you have tips for working from your home office? Please comment below.