I didn’t realistically think I would work remotely full-time until I was at least in my mid-thirties. When I started my career, it seemed like a distant goal; something that only parents can do when they need to see their daughter’s soccer game after work.
Yet here I am.
It’s been 3.5 years since I started my career after college. I spent 2.5 of those years commuting back-and-forth between Boston and New Hampshire, working in your typical cubicle in your typical downtown Boston office (the building is really snazzy though).
Luckily for me, all that has changed.
No more are the days of running out into the cold at 5:45 AM for a 1.5-hour commute each way! These days, I roll out of bed around 6 AM and work on Home at 30. I have breakfast around 8:30 and open up my laptop to get started on my full-time job.
The best part about working remotely is the fact that I don’t need to physically be at home. I can work wherever I can be responsive with a laptop and cell phone.
I realize how lucky I am – I’m basically addicted to working out on my lunch breaks now. Working from home has significantly reduced the stress in my life and it’s a luxury that not everyone enjoys.
Depending on your job and company culture, chances are you can start working from home too. Here’s my advice for how to convince your manager to let you work remotely.
Get a sense of the company culture
It’s going to be tough to work remotely if your company either doesn’t have the capability to support it or doesn’t allow it for some reason. That’s why it’s very important to understand your company’s official stance on the matter of working from home.
If people only work at home during blizzards and you literally don’t know anyone who’s doing it, there’s a good chance it’s a long shot. Otherwise, ask your coworkers (that have been around several years) how the company feels about it.
The last thing you want to do is look stupid in front of your manager for not knowing a widely known company policy!
Be ultra-responsive on the job
I don’t care if it’s first thing in the morning, right before lunch, or twenty minutes after you were supposed to leave… when your manager needs something from you, step up and deliver!
Naturally, this applies to your clients as well, because you never know who’s giving feedback to whom about your performance. Do you think your manager will let you work remotely if he/she can barely get a hold of you when you’re in the office? Hell no!
You should be ultra responsive even if you don’t care about working from home, but the stakes get raised when you want to escape the office life. Do yourself a favor and leave no doubt about your ability to stay focused and ready.
Deliver outstanding results
Companies like to keep people around who consistently deliver outstanding results for them.
Being a high-performer gives you great leverage, and this leverage can help you earn a higher salary, work on projects of your choice, or get a better working arrangement like working from home (or the corner office – so 1990s)!
From the company’s perspective, it’s usually better to have great employees work remotely rather than see them leave for another company. You just need to make sure you’re someone they can’t afford to lose.
Demonstrate your work ethic and dedication
It’s not enough to be a high performer – anyone can get lucky for a couple of years. Your manager needs to see that you’re pushing yourself and doing the little things to be successful every day.
There’s a stigma that goes along with working from home. People typically assume you’re in your pajamas, sending emails in between TV commercials while playing with your cat. It all comes down to the professional brand you’ve built for yourself.
Discuss your performance and working remotely with your boss
The best way to approach working remotely is to set up a time to discuss it with your manager. You can frame it as a performance check-in. You do not want to bring it up unexpectedly.
In the meeting, here’s what you want to do:
- Get feedback on your performance (should be positive)
- Discuss your professional development goals (skills / performance goals)
- State that you think it would be beneficial to work from home a couple of days a week, with their approval
The first couple parts are to get your manager feeling really good about your performance and the things you plan to do to help the team. The last part is where you drive home the point that working from home could help your performance/development even more.
This has a great chance to work if you have a long commute (over an hour) and the company has a fair amount of people who work remotely. If neither of those are true, it’s an uphill climb, and suggesting a trial run may be the better option.
Suggest a trial-run
Suggesting a trial run is the go-to strategy if your manager objects to your initial inquiry about working from home.
Ask to try it out for two weeks, one day per week. With a good manager and a little luck, your wish will be granted. When the trial is up, ask your manager for feedback. If it’s positive, ask if you can extend it to 2 days per week.
Exceed prior performance levels
Regardless of whether you’re in a trial run, working from home, or stuck in the office for life, I want you to exceed your prior levels of performance!
First of all, it’s just good business. Secondly, if you’re not able to work remotely, you might be able to change their mind, or if you are working remotely, you want them to know it was the right decision.
Are you ready to execute? Have you tried approaching your manager about working remotely? Let me know in the comments section!
All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.
Author: Josh Ramos
Josh has paid off $130k in student loan debt in 4 years. By founding Home at 30, he wants to help end the student debt crisis by helping students and young professionals make decisions that will reward them for a lifetime.