But there are ways to improve your chances of getting to work from home
You’ll have to work for this.
Working from home isn’t nearly as common as you might think. Less than one in four (22%) employed people worked from home in 2016, according to data released this week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What’s more, it’s mostly the rich and educated who get to work from their sofas or home offices. More than four in 10 workers (43.1%) over age 25 with an advanced degree do some or all of their work at home, while fewer than 1 in 3 with a bachelor’s did and just 8.8% of those with less than a high school diploma did. And more than 1 in 3 people who earned $1,441 per week or more worked from home, compared to just 8.6% of people who earned $560 a week or less.
But you don’t have to be a highly educated rich person to get your boss to allow you to work from home. Here’s how:
Take note of others who work from home. If you truly don’t need to be physically present at work — and you’re a stellar employee as it is — then the first step to getting to work from home is to “survey the company to see if others have negotiated this sort of arrangement,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “If so, you have a better chance of convincing your boss and others that it will work and will benefit everyone.”
Dive into the details. Think through the details of how working from home would work and analyze the pros and cons of it, says career and job search coach Cheryl Lynch Simpson. Simpson also suggests making sure that you can think of ways to eliminate the cons as concerns. Be able to address questions like “how will your work and time be monitored?” and “will you be available and accessible without having to track you down?,” says Cohen. Ensure that you already have all the tools — a laptop or other work-related supplies — at home so that getting work done will be simple.
Make it benefit the company. After you’ve done that, and you’re ready to make the ask, request a private meeting with your boss, says Simpson. Position your ask as something that will benefit the company and give a couple points that support this, says Cohen. So, for example, “if the commute takes hours and you know that the time could be deployed more productively on behalf of the company,” he explains. Simpson says it’s also important to “define your value to the organization in terms of your past achievements and contributions. Gently remind your boss that you have produced $X in revenue or savings, for example, and believe that the increased focus and productivity that a work-from-home option will give you will more than pay for itself.”
Be prepared for some pushback. “Anticipate your boss’s objections and develop responses in reply. The more you can overcome his or her objections, the more likely you are to get a ‘yes,’” says Simpson.
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