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how to ask to work remotely: 6 tips + a sample script

a card with a word How?a card with a word How?
Gayane Hakobyan
written byContent Strategist, Remote Lifestyle & Career, EPAM Anywhere

With a focus on remote lifestyle and career development, Gayane shares practical insight and career advice that informs and empowers tech talent to thrive in the world of remote work.

With a focus on remote lifestyle and career development, Gayane shares practical insight and career advice that informs and empowers tech talent to thrive in the world of remote work.

The COVID-19 pandemic came with many challenges, shaking the world as we know it. However, it also came with the realization that we can work from home, often with better results than in-office work arrangements.

Despite this reality, bosses are sometimes reluctant to give up that in-office work environment. If you want to know how to overcome this trepidation, this article will provide six tips on how to ask to work remotely.

How to ask your boss to work remotely: 6 tips

#1: Check if you can work remotely

After the acquisition of Twitter, Elon Musk famously banned remote work. So, if you happen to work for him, you can't work remotely, and your company might have a similar opinion.

Despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary, Elon thinks he's right. Given that you can find awesome remote jobs at EPAM Anywhere, you can probably guess our opinion on the matter.

Of course, your company policy might not prefer remote work. Maybe they don't want to answer legal questions like those related to remote workers’ taxation. You might also work in a tricky industry, like healthcare.

You might ask yourself if an employer can dictate where you work remotely. There are some tricky legal areas and company remote work policy questions you need to ask before crafting your at-home work pitch.

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#2: Emphasize benefits for the company

Performance is one of the biggest reasons bosses decline WFH (work-from-home) requests. If you work from home, your leadership can't come in to check on you.

However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that employees are more efficient when working from home versus on-site. Bosses are also concerned that at-home employees will be "checked out" and no longer interested in the job. To address this concern, create a detailed remote work plan in advance.

You might also share your plans on how you plan to create the best home office ever. You can share how this customized office will make you more productive than the limited space of your in-office workspace.

It also helps to be honest, informing the boss how you plan on using your usual commute time to enjoy your home space and spend more time with your family. Translate these personal benefits into company-centric benefits. After all, you can only deliver your best if you yourself are at your best.

If this fails, you can dust off your resume and look for make-your-own-schedule jobs, which are flexible and more likely to be remote.

#3: Offer a trial period

A trial period tells your boss that you understand their concerns about you asking to work from home and are willing to go through additional scrutiny. Offering such a trial period shows that you’re willing to hit the undo button if necessary, encouraging bosses to at least try it out.

Be willing to set the trial period for as long as the boss wants, which can vary from a single day to several months. During the workday, you'll want to take extra steps to enhance productivity while telecommuting. Once you get the results, it will be hard for the boss to argue against you.

#4: Propose a communication plan

Another problem for bosses unfamiliar with remote work is the lack of communication. They might be used to in-person meetings and feel uncomfortable with things over video conferencing. Other managers may believe you simply don't achieve the same personal connection.

To address these concerns, you need to create a remote communication plan. This plan will dictate when and through which collaboration tools you can be reached. Collaborate on this plan to be sure your team members are comfortable with your system. You must know what to do in an emergency and what everyone’s preferred communication tools are.

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#5: Opt for an in-person meeting

Bosses might believe those seeking remote work to be antisocial. You need to schedule an in-person meeting to combat this argument and state your case powerfully.

Asking to set up a meeting provides two benefits. First, it gauges the boss' willingness to communicate with you. Second, it sets aside a time when you will only discuss your new remote work arrangement.

During the discussion, you can reference your potentially flexible work schedule, the benefits for the company, and whether the boss might consider a trial period. Below is a mock script between a manager and an employee to get you ready for this discussion.

#6: Get ready to deal with objections

Your WFH request might not go smoothly. In these cases, you should have a list of objections ready and know how to respond to them.

Here are some objections you'll likely run into:

  • We won't be able to check in on employees to be sure that they’re working.
  • Employees won't feel like they’re part of the team.
  • How can we be certain that employees won't get lax with security?
  • You need to go to the office to maintain a good work/life separation.
  • Meetings are a lot more engaging in person.
  • Working from home has too many distractions.
  • Social isolation can be a huge mental burden.
  • Employees aren't good at managing their own time.
  • People aren't as motivated at home.

The answers to these questions will vary from job to job, so be sure to develop answers to these questions before scheduling a meeting.

Once you convince the boss, check out our guide to hybrid remote work in tech.

How to ask for remote work: a sample script

Employee: Hi [Manager's Name], do you have a moment to talk?

Manager: Of course, what's on your mind?

Employee: I've been thinking about my work situation, and I wanted to discuss the possibility of working remotely.

Manager: Interesting. Please tell me more about why you're considering remote work.

Employee: Well, I've been researching the benefits of remote work and how it can positively impact productivity. I believe that by eliminating the time and energy consumed by commuting, I can be even more focused and efficient in my work tasks.

Manager: I see. How do you think remote work would benefit the company?

Employee: Remote work can lead to increased productivity and cost savings. Without a daily commute, both the company and I can save on transportation expenses, and I can dedicate more time and energy to my work responsibilities. Additionally, the flexibility of remote work would allow me to achieve a better work-life balance, leading to greater job satisfaction and commitment.

Manager: Those are valid points. How would you ensure availability and effective communication while working remotely?

Employee: I assure you that I will remain fully accessible during working hours, utilizing various digital tools and messaging platforms to stay connected with the team. These tools enable seamless communication, collaboration, and coordination, ensuring no compromise on the quality of our work.

Manager: I appreciate your reassurance. Would you be open to a trial period to assess the feasibility of remote work?

Employee: Absolutely! I think a trial period of [specific duration] would benefit both of us. It will allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of this arrangement, address any concerns, and make any necessary adjustments.

Manager: That sounds reasonable. Let's give it a try. We can revisit the arrangement at the end of the trial period and make any necessary decisions.

Employee: Thank you, [Manager's Name], for considering my request. I truly believe that remote work can enhance my productivity and contribute to the overall success of our team.

Manager: You're welcome. I appreciate your initiative and the thought you've put into this proposal. Let's work together to ensure a smooth transition and evaluate the outcomes.

Needless to say, not all discussions may go this smoothly. You'll need to edit the script to include your work performance, bolstering any claims you make for remote work.

Got rejected? Consider remote-forever jobs at EPAM Anywhere

Sometimes bosses are too stubborn and unwilling to change. In these cases, you've done well by trying to convince your boss, but it was doomed from the start.

However, if you still want to join the remote workforce, check out our remote IT jobs at EPAM Anywhere. We've got global jobs for those in the tech field. Best of all, they are remote forever, meaning you won't ever have to work from a company office again.

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Join EPAM Anywhere for full-time remote jobs with the freedom to pick your preferred project. Send your CV, and we’ll get back to you with a job match.

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Gayane Hakobyan
written byContent Strategist, Remote Lifestyle & Career, EPAM Anywhere

With a focus on remote lifestyle and career development, Gayane shares practical insight and career advice that informs and empowers tech talent to thrive in the world of remote work.

With a focus on remote lifestyle and career development, Gayane shares practical insight and career advice that informs and empowers tech talent to thrive in the world of remote work.

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