8 Steps to Pitch a Work-from-Home Schedule

Six months ago I pitched the idea of working from home. It was something I’d toyed with for a while but was too afraid to ask.

I’ve worked at my job for more than three years. I knew my job as a writer could be done most anywhere. Every weekday I faced a draining 2 hour 30 minute round-trip commute. I was restless in my cube and my happiness with my position was depleting. Telecommuting just made sense. So I took a leap of faith and proposed working remotely once a week – and got it.

It’s just one day, but it’s made a world of difference. I’m more focused, motivated, and productive, and by the time Tuesday rolls around, I’m refreshed and optimistic about the week ahead. Even better, it’s boosted my satisfaction with my job and overall outlook on life.

More and more companies are agreeing to alternative schedules, allowing employees part- or full time telecommuting arrangements.

Ready to join them? Here are some things to keep in mind as you draft your work-from-home proposal and tips on how to pitch it:

1. Make sure it makes sense
Not all positions allow the flexibility of working from home; some rely heavily on face-to-face communication. Make sure telecommuting makes sense for your position. Ask yourself: Do you typically work independently or with a team? Do you communicate mostly by email and phone or in-person? Do you manage others?

2. Outline your responsibilities
Divide your duties into two categories: tasks that would be difficult to do outside of the office and tasks that would be easier. Be honest when identifying these responsibilities, as they will play a major role in your pitch.

3. Identify your benefits
Why do you want to work remotely? Maybe it’s to eliminate your lengthy commute, keep you better focused, or gain some extra personal time at the end of the day. Whatever your reasons, identify at least three ways telecommuting will make you a better employee and asset to the company, and share these with your supervisor.

4. Identify the company’s benefits
Think: What’s in it for them? When presenting the benefits, find a good balance between your interests and the company’s. For example, I have an extremely long commute. By eliminating this, even one day a week, I get more than two hours of extra time in the morning. I can use that time to mentally prepare for the week ahead, workout, make a healthy breakfast, or get some extra rest. By the time I sit at my computer, I’m refreshed and energized, and being outside the confines of my cube keeps me focused and productive.

5. Make a plan
Outline your proposed schedule. Are you hoping to work from home one day a week, two, or even full time? Will you start at the same time you currently do or earlier since you won’t have a commute? Go ahead and type it out. Make talking points. It will put your mind at ease during the pitch and show your boss how serious you are.

6. Assure your boss
Put yourself in your boss’ shoes. When drafting your proposal, assure him or her you’ll be fully present each day by phone, text, email, etc. Propose a trial period. After 30, 60 or 90 days, revisit the new schedule to see if it’s working for everyone.

7. Prepare for concerns
You’ll be working remotely – hold yourself accountable. Set up a face-to-face meeting with your boss to discuss weekly tasks and productivity. Help put her mind at ease by showing you’re truly working, not taking unaccounted vacation time.

8. Pitch it
Instead of a casual mention during conversation, set aside 30 minutes with your boss. Be mindful of timing. If you’re fairly new to the company or it’s a busy time of year for your department, consider tabling your proposal for a more appropriate time. Don’t expect an answer right away. Most managers will want to think it through and get the OK from upper management. Be flexible and available to discuss additional questions or concerns she may have.

When it came time for me to make my ask, I knew I would struggle with confidently presenting my proposal without a set outline. If you know you’ll struggle with wording as well, start with this:

I’ve been thinking of ways to increase my productivity, and I’d like to talk about potentially working remotely. The bulk of my work is X, Y and Z, which I feel are easily portable. Telecommuting will allow me to complete aspects of my job more efficiently and effectively, without as many distractions. I enjoy my job, and this shift will help me enjoy it even more and help me in ways both professionally and personally. Working remotely will not affect how I perform my job. I can be reached by phone, text and email. If you’re on board, I’d like to give this a trial run. We can check in weekly, face-to-face, and reevaluate after 30 days to see how it’s working for everyone.

Now that you’re armed with the tools to ask to work remotely – good luck! I’ve found working remotely to be incredibly refreshing and hope you will, too.


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Abby Downs

Abby Downs is a St. Louis native and professional writer. If she doesn’t have a pen in her hand, it’s a camera. When she’s not busy combining these two loves, she can be found binge-watching 90s sitcoms, trying new cheeses and planning her next big adventure.