How to Tell Your Boss You Want to Work from Home

Working from home isn’t a new concept; it’s just become more of a buzz phrase this day and age. Whether you call it telecommuting, WAHM-ing (if you are a mother, for instance), working from home can mean keeping your regular day job at the office, without having to actually goto the office.

These days, more and more companies are seeing the value in work from home arrangements, especially for employees who are mothers. If you are one of those considering a telecommuting or work at home option, here are some approaches you can take before pitching the idea to your superiors.

Create a telecommuting proposal.
Zig Ziglar said, “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” If you want your boss to approve your plan to work from home, make sure you have a solid proposal. This plan should include the following elements:

  • The days of the week you would like to work from home;
  • The duties and commitments that you can work on, on a remote capacity;
  • Your technical specs, including the kind of hardware you have, Internet connectivity, cellular data (if there will be a need for you to work on-the-go)
  • Methods and processes for communicating with clients, if your job requires it.

Your telecommuting proposal will be unique to your situation, so craft it carefully.

Be able to explain — and show — that can productively work from home.
If your superior asks why you want to work from home, be strategic about your response. The wrong answer can make or break your chances of getting approved. Instead, explain to your boss how your being able to work from home will benefit the company, not you alone.

wahm 4Here’s the main thing: All your boss really cares about is that get your job done and that you are happy. (Well, assuming he’s an awesome boss, he should want his employees to be happy.) That said, you must be able to define your productivity benefits as you work at home. Is it more conducive to the kind of work you do? Are you more motivated to work efficiently? Think of the benefits in terms of how they add value to your place of employment.

I know of a friend who was able to negotiate a work-at-home/telecommuting arrangement, when she had her first baby. Her reason? She wanted to exclusively breastfeed her child, without having to bottle field. Since her work was administrative in nature and done mostly on a computer, her boss agreed to have her work at home. She was able to make the same work arrangements when she had her second child.

Remember that you can’t slack off.

When I compare my work at home setup to my work load at my previous job, I am actually doingmore these days, in comparison. However, I’m able to accomplish more work in less time, now that I work from home. Why? Because based on my plan, I know what work I can do most productively. Unlike my previous job (which was supervisory by nature), I’m doing creatives: copywriting, magazine and Web writing, consulting, blogging — stuff I’m good at and things I love.

And my clients know this. They know I’ll deliver.

And that, my friend, is the number one rule for working from home: You have to deliver, without anyone watching your back.

Make sure to be accountable to your boss and clients by communicating with them frequently. This might mean setting specific hours for your Skype and chat sessions: Be online when your clients or boss expect you to, especially if you are still employed. This lets your boss and colleagues know that you’re easily accessible.

In the end, you want to prove that — as a telecommuting employee or homebased worker — you will be committed to your company’s bottom line objectives.

So. Are you ready to propose that work at home setup to your boss? What other questions do you have about making the work at home shift?

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