How to Ask Your Boss for Work from Home

Asking the “work from home” question and how to get your boss to agree!

Today one of our readers asked this question…

“I want to work from home, but how do I email my boss to ask for work from home”


The thing is, suggesting to your boss that you want to work from home isn’t always as simple as sending an email.  In fact, just charging forward and sending an email to your boss could ruin your chances to work from home right up front!  A lot depends on how forward thinking your boss is and how open your boss is to change and trying new things. It will also depend a lot on what you’re currently doing in your role and if there is flexibility for alternative work arrangements or an alternative work schedule.

You need to have a plan and adjust your tactics according to your role and circumstance. If your boss is someone not likely to consider a new way of doing things, you might like to “test the waters” by doing a small project from home demonstrating the effectiveness and benefits of a work from home agreement.

Below I have outlined 6 steps to help you with your work from home request. (I have personally seen these strategies work in the real life workforce). This article isn’t about our “sack the boss” campaign.  It’s about getting your boss on board to embrace the new modern way of doing things!


1.  Start working on your work from home resume reputation long before you ask “the work from home” question.


Before you even consider your work from home request, you need to ask yourself some questions first.

  • Have you made yourself an invaluable staff member to your boss?
  • Do you always give 100% – not slackening off when the boss isn’t around?
  • If you decided to quit, would your boss be devastated?
  • Have you invested in your relationship with your boss, showing personal interest in their life and displaying commitment to your role…with their success in mind as well as your own?

If you can’t say “yes” to these questions, then you can’t expect your boss to say “yes” to your requests.  Before moving onto to step 2, I’d recommend you’d start working on your work from home resume first 🙂

2. Detail what parts of your role could be done from home.


If you can confidently answer yes to the questions above, then it’s time for you to detail everything you do.  If you have a position description, use that as your guide.  If not, document everything you do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

Beside each of your tasks make a note as to HOW it could be done from home.  Use this list to work out if your entire job could be done from home OR if you could at least do part of your role from home. This is also where you identify any extra resources, training or changes to your alternative work schedule you need to arrange.


3.  Prepare a list of objections your boss will likely raise, then come up with solutions to each of the objections.


Now this is where the “selling” part of your work from home idea begins. Come up with a list of objections your boss is likely to have to you working from home. What would be the reasons to reject your proposal?  Make a list of them.  Then go through your list and address each objection. Use this as your communication guide. Your boss may happily say “yes” to your work from home proposal…however you need to be prepared to overcome any objections that may arise.  This is a very important part of the process!


4.  Let your boss know what’s in it for him/her


So now you’ve got the objections covered.  It’s time for you to explain exactly what’s in it for your boss.  It’s ok to cover off on the benefits to you, the why YOU want to work from home – but at the end of the day your boss will want to know what’s in it for them. There are many benefits for your boss, better productivity is just one of them.  Spend some time to get your facts right.  Keep it specific and tell your boss how they will benefit personally by you working from home. At the same time, you can also cover what your boss will miss out on by saying no to your request!


5.  Muster up the courage and ask the question.   Be firm and clear about what you want


If you’ve done your preparation up to this point – the only thing left to do is ask the question. Be firm on your decision about wanting to change your work arrangements in order to work from home.  If your boss values your input, sees that you’re serious and that you’ve done your homework then they will likely be open to consider your work from home proposal.  The keys are preparation and determination.

If the answer is “YES” then congratulations!  Well done!  Be sure to follow through on your promises and delivery 100% to prove your alternative work schedule works for you and your boss.  If the answer is “NO” then the next step is to make an offer no reasonable person could refuse, and that is…


6.  Offer a trial “work from home” alternative work schedule first!


If your boss isn’t open to you working from home at this stage, then you need to find out what it is that’s holding back the decision. What’s the REAL objection?  What’s the REAL concern?  Then find a way you can overcome that objection or concern.

You could offer to do a trial project or a trial period of time to demonstrate your proposal in operation.  Once you DEMONSTRATE to your boss what the benefits are they will find your proposal very difficult to refuse.


Don’t give up.  Even if you don’t get the exact response you want first up, just sow the seeds and start over from Step 1. Don’t miss any of the steps…there are no shortcuts.

If you want some more help, then that’s what we’re here for. You can get personalised assistance by signing up here:

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