How To Talk To Your Boss About WFH

Chances are, you’re reading this in an office.

Most of our days are spent in an office. And working in recruitment, you’re more likely to have a boss who sees the link between ‘time at desk’ and ‘success’ as inextricable.

It’s not, obviously.

The amount of big billing bulldozers romping round the room on headsets is testament to that. Even if you don’t read the actual research.

You don’t need to be at your desk. Or even in an office. You could be on a treadmill. At home in the garden. Or walking the dog. Providing the dog doesn’t mind hearing your booming voice and tired clichés.

But if you are in the office daily, your input’s there for all to see.

It’s a difficult task to convince your boss working from home’s a good idea. They won’t be able to see you working, and surely it’s just a chance to have a day off?

There’s enough research to confirm the idea as a good one.

Working from home’s more productive and handled correctly, increases job satisfaction.

And trust me, as someone who’s been working from home for the last 2 years, the former statement is very much true. You will get a lot more done.

And it doesn’t really matter which angle you take in your case for the defence. The difficulty you’ll have is changing the mindset of a boss stuck in their ways.

So, here are some tips.

Ask for it

You’ll have no doubt discussed working from home with the powers that be. So you’ll know how likely permission is to be granted. The first obstacle you’ll have is objection handling.

“We don’t allow working from home” could well be the first response.

But that’s not an objection. It’s just a statement. You need to find out why they don’t. I’m going to try and guess what these reasons might be, but there’ll be an answer available for anything they come up with.

Once you know why, you can tailor your approach to suit.

Here are some potential one liners:

i) “If I offer it to you, I have to offer it to everyone”

ii) “You won’t do any work”

iii) “It’s not productive”

iv) “We need you in the office five days a week”

And some responses:

i) “I’m suggesting you do offer it to everyone”

ii) “Let’s test that?”

iii) “It’s been shown to be more productive, so let me show you how productive I can be”

iv) “You need me at work. And I will be, just not in this building”

Pinpoint days in the week it might be easiest

No one’s going to give you a Monday or Friday out the office the first time they let you work from home. The reasons for that are fairly obvious.

But, imagine being your boss.

If they have doubts over the amount of work, or productivity you’ll manage, a Monday or Friday are the most likely days to slack off. Either side of the weekend’s possibly the most important to be present in the office, too.

There’s the Monday meeting, and Friday beers. Both equally important.

So aim for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in your first request.

Prove your productivity

You can’t underestimate the power this part has in convincing your boss. I’m currently writing this article from home. And my colleagues have utmost faith in the fact I work just as hard, if not harder, when not in the office.

But I’ve proven that.

And that’s all you need to do.

With the amount of reporting available and the many measures your company takes in proving effort, you’ll be well set to simply carry on in this vein. Whilst I’m not suggesting you sandbag deals or wait until the day from home to fulfil your KPIs, it might be that’s what’s needed initially.

You wouldn’t be in recruitment if you wanted an easy ride. And given your work’s directly rewarded with commission, why would you slack off?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll do more work and have less breaks when distractions are limited.

Prove your home productivity and it’s difficult to argue with the premise of home working.

Here’s an article to help you.

Scale it

Once you’ve proved your ability to smash the back doors out of a Wednesday, there’s only going to be positive reasons for you to work from home another day of the week.

They say working from home’s most beneficial when it’s staggered across the week. And even when you change scenery occasionally.

So, Tuesdays and Thursdays will mean you’re working remotely. But have the opportunity to minimise distractions and get your head down too. Sure, there’s your home desk. But there’s also the local cafe and park at the end of the road.

This part of the process may take time.

Just because you’ve had one successful day working from home, don’t take your eye off the ball. Make sure your WFH proposal is a foregone conclusion. You don’t want an argument over effort or results. You want an adult discussion formed around facts.

Be regimented and remember to break

If your boss was hard to persuade in the first instance, you’ll have to be fairly regimented for the first few months.

This means regular check-ins, calls to the office and clearly productive results. But hopefully after a while, you’ll be trusted to get the job done without doing the ‘busy-work’.

Given the fact you’ll have more time, without the commute, regular passers-by and phone ringing for people other than you… it’s crucial to take breaks. So your mind actually works when you want it to.

Work to half an hour periods and remember to stand up and walk a lot. Ensuring you’ve got the right chair and posture will assist your long-term health too.

And if you want to know the best way to work from your new homely office, click here.