How'd You Convince Your Boss To Let You Work Remotely?

Even if you could easily do your job remotely, you still face a big cultural hurdle that stands between you and your home office. If you've convinced your boss to let you work remotely, we want to hear how you did it.

Photo by Joey Parsons.

We're a lucky bunch at Lifehacker: We're distributed all around the world, and our boss actually expects we've got the necessary tools to work from home. The whole work-from-home gig isn't an easy sell in a lot of workplaces (despite the potential upsides).

If you've successfully made the case that you could do your job as well if not better from home, we want to hear about it. Tell us what you said, how you approached it, and what strategy you think made the difference. (Likewise, if you're an employer, let's hear what would convince you.) Let's hear it in the comments!


    I'm not the employer, just the IT guy - but there's a few prime conditions that help sell an individual working remotely:
    1) Travel reimbursement. if you're paid to travel between work and other destinations on the company clock, it's a huge money saver to give you remote access. if you travel enough, you can probably get a company laptop and 3G dongle thrown in. Do the maths for this if you have to ($1k laptop + $200 dongle + $50/month data plan vs travel costs), and if you break even in under 6 months you'll be just fine.

    2) security. The management care less, I make them care - we have different levels of remote access we give to different people. If you dont need access to the confidential stuff, you can work remotely without the access. If you're using a work laptop and connection set up by me, that's fine. If you'll bring in your laptop and have me give it a once-over for dodgy shit and antivirus, that's probably fine...but we wont give you universal access to use from any netcafe if you're using personal client data.

    3) similar to 1, down time. a lot of our workers spend time at remote sites not doing a lot, while being paid to be there. If we throw them a netbook to write and submit reports, it's financially viable in months.

    4) If you want something specific, generalise it a bit so it applies to many more people. Somebody at our work wanted to be able to get phone numbers from the crm, we now have an internal mobile site that grab names/ addresses on the fly, add them to the address book and so on. The next iteration will plot them on a map, and feed them google maps directions.

    5) Extenuating circumstances. Whether you're worried the office burns down or a manager has has his gall bladder removed and wants something to do in hospital, remote access is covering for those eventualities. once the infrastructure is in place, it's hard for the company to say no to you using it.

    6) develop a medical condition. We have at least two full-time workers who spend half the week at home now, due to chronic medical complaints - nothing debilitating, just things like bowel disorders that make working in an office a bit unpleasant sometimes.

    Really, most of my advice boils down to: make a business case. Showing some simple numbers with an obvious benefit is hard to say no to. if you have some IT guys, check with them - chances are, a lot of the stuff you use can be made available remotely for under a few grand, and some may just take a change in the router settings.

    I have been working fro home for over 10 years now for a large firm in 2 positions. I basically made my self a valuable team member, the first time when I said I was going to move on they offered me working from home as an incentive to stay. Second time since my commute was 1.5 hrs I said either I need to be able to work from home or I have to leave, and they said work from home. In both cases I was willing to put my job on the line.

    If you are doing proactive things at work and delivering more than expected then it is much easier for the boss to let you work from home. They can see that your not going to slack off etc. It important to keep being proactive when you are working from home.

    When you do get to work from home try to make it as easy as possible for people to deal with you. Instant messaging is the best tool, people can see when your online and make sure you respond to people same as you would if they walked up to you in the corridor.

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