As more of us look to realign our work-life balance, reduce our carbon footprint and avoid uncomfortable commutes, the prospect of remote employment has become increasingly enticing. The problem is many of us aren’t sure how to ask for work from home.

Tackling the subject with a line manager can be tricky, but the good news is you are not alone in struggling to figure out how to ask for work from home. All you need is a little preparation.

1. 5 Steps on How to Ask for Work From Home to a Manager

5 Steps on How to Ask for Work From Home to a Manager

If you’re considering how to ask to work from home permanently, it might be helpful to rehearse a few discussion points before you broach the subject with your manager.

1.1 Recognize your problems when working from the office 

Recognizing the problems you have with working at the office and addressing them with your boss is a good place to start a discussion about remote employment. Do you struggle with distractions in the office? Does getting to work create stress before you’ve even begun your day? Are you worried about the transmission of COVID? The issues are likely to affect not just your wellbeing, but also your productivity – essentially, a lose-lose situation for you and your company.

1.2 Highlight the benefits of working from home 

When you’re thinking about how to ask for work from home to a manager, make sure you detail the pros. Studies suggest that remote workers have better levels of productivity, performance and engagement, in turn generating more profit for a company. The greater flexibility might mean you can work around childcare or medical appointments, rather than having to leave the office early or request time off.

1.3 Create a remote work plan proposal 

Have a clearly thought-out plan about how you would structure working from home. Is the end goal how to ask to work from home during COVID, or do you want to make this a permanent transition beyond the pandemic? Do you have the right space at home for you to be an effective remote worker? Are you hoping to work from home all the time or just a few days a week? Even if you want to make the switch completely to remote, it might be worth suggesting to your boss that you trial it on a two-days-per-week basis first, to demonstrate that it won’t diminish your performance – this could also help you to identify issues with home working that you hadn’t anticipated so you are well-prepared on how to ask for work from home.

1.4 Discuss the proposal with your manager 

If you’re considering how to ask for work from home permission, bear in mind that the process should be framed as a discussion. Instead of firing the proposal at your manager as an ultimatum, leave room in your plan for feedback and compromise. Your manager might have a legitimate concern about your proposal that you haven’t considered. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are opposed to the idea, it may just mean they want to ensure all the angles have been worked out.

1.5 Build trust as you shift to remote work

This should be obvious, but make sure you aren’t shirking off when you shift to remote work. You need to be able to demonstrate that your productivity and motivation have not suffered, otherwise your manager will, quite rightly, question whether home working is suitable for you. As part of how to ask for work from home, make sure that you specify clear lines of communication, so that even though your boss can’t just wander over to your desk anymore for clarification on something, they can still easily reach you via email, text or phone call.

2. 8 Email Templates to Ask for Work from Home      

8 Email Templates to Ask for Work from Home

Now that you’ve considered the key bullet points around how to ask for work from home, the next step is to craft an appropriate email. Even if you have discussed the idea with your boss face to face, they will most likely want you to send them a formal request outlining your proposal, so there is a clear written record.

2.1 How to Ask Work from Home on a Trial Basis 

How to Ask Work from Home on a Trial Basis 

If you want to ease your boss into the idea of work from home or are just interested in seeing if the concept is effective for you, make sure to clearly list the reasons and potential benefits.

Dear [Insert Line Manager Name],

As I discussed with you earlier, I would like to request a work-from-home trial.

The two-hour commute to the office often leaves me feeling drained before I begin the workday, which I believe has a negative impact on my efficacy and overall wellbeing. Additionally, while the office floor can be an enjoyably exuberant environment, it is sometimes a distracting place to work, especially when I am up against a tight deadline and need to focus.

I acknowledge there are concerns around how remote working would function in practice, which is why I would like to suggest a trial over the next month, where I would work from home twice a week, during which you could assess my performance. Personally, I think this would increase my productivity and leave me more energized in my approach to tasks. 

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request. I look forward to your response.

Many thanks,

[Insert Name]

2.2 How to Ask Work from Home for 15 Days

How to ask for work from home when sick is probably something you will consider if you have a short-term ailment. Though you may still feel up to working, you may not necessarily want to confront the stress or noise of a commuter train or bustling office.

Dear [Insert Line Manager Name],

I am writing to a request to work from home for 15 days, commencing on [Insert Date]. 

I am undergoing minor surgery on [Insert Date]. While the doctor has said it would be feasible for me to come into the office, he has recommended I work from home if possible while I recover fully.

Having done some research, I believe I can still effectively do my job from home. I would be fully reachable by phone and email, as well as the company messaging board. 

Please let me know if you have any concerns around the proposal and I would be happy to discuss them and hopefully come up with a suitable solution.

Many thanks,

[Insert Name]

2.3 How to Ask Work from Home for a Month

Similar to the previous point, you may be considering how to ask for work from home due to a unique situation that has arisen but are not asking for a permanent transition.

Dear [Insert Line Manager Name],

I am writing to a request to work from home for a month, commencing on [Insert Date]. 

As you know, I have been working on my MBA and hope to complete the final coursework in the coming month. I believe this qualification will improve my overall ability to deliver at work and make me a more valuable member of the company.

In order to complete my MBA, I would like to temporarily arrange for more flexible working hours.

My plan is to repurpose the hours I would normally spend commuting, starting my working day earlier and finishing earlier, so that I can free up the evening to work on the essays for my master’s. Naturally, I would ensure all my meetings were arranged appropriately, so that my adjusted hours would not affect my performance. 

Please let me know if this would be acceptable to you or if you have any concerns regarding the proposal.

Many thanks,

[Insert Name]

2.4 How to Ask Work from Home Permanently

Perhaps you’re wondering how to ask to work from home after COVID, now that you have become accustomed to remote working, in which case it’s worth highlighting how successful it has been so far.

Dear [Insert Line Manager Name],

I am writing to a request to work from home permanently, commencing on [Insert Date]. 

Following on from our conversation earlier, I wanted to put down in writing the reasons I think continuing to work from home would be beneficial for me and the company.

Over the past few months, we have necessarily had to resort to remote working. Initially, there were of course some challenges inherent in the transition, but now that Ibelieve we have identified the correct communication tools as well as put in place robust procedures and workflows to deal with distributed teams, we are well prepared to continue working from home.

I believe that there is plenty of evidence that the quality of output has not suffered while we have been situated away from the office. In fact, I would argue the general productivity and demeanor of myself and my colleagues has generally been more positive, in spite of the difficult situation we have found ourselves in due to the pandemic. 

While I am aware that the company’s official policy is currently that it is safe to return to the office, I feel sure that the points stipulated above make it worth considering a permanent change to our working patterns.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Many thanks,

[Insert Name]

2.5 How to Ask Work from Home for Health Issues (Health Issues of the Employee Themselves) 

Rather than a short-term illness, you may have long-term health issues that could be alleviated by home working. This might encompass conditions related to mental or physical wellness. So here’s another template on how to ask work from home on health grounds.

Dear [Insert Line Manager Name],

I am writing to request you to consider allowing me to work from home permanently.

The past couple of months, I have been dealing with diagnosed social anxiety. Considering the nature of the open-plan office, I sometimes struggle coping with my anxiety when at work. This has an impact on my productivity as well as my wellbeing. 

I believe I am equally effective working remotely, where I am not faced with the same challenges. I would still be readily reachable via phone or email.

I appreciate you taking the time to consider my request and I look forward to allaying any concerns you may have regarding remote working.

Many thanks,

[Insert Name]

2.6 How to Ask Work from Home to Take Care of a Sick Family Member  

As parents age, it’s not unusual for them to suffer from issues with health that may necessitate you taking greater care of them. If you need help on how to ask for work from home, read on.

Dear [Insert Line Manager Name],

I am writing to request a transition to remote working.

My mother has been struggling with mobility for some time and, as a result, my spouse and I have made the decision to ask her to move in with us, so that we can better care for her. This, of course, will necessitate some changes in our lives, and it would be a great help if I was able to perform my role from home, so that I can ensure my mother does not struggle or suffer any accidents.

While I do not anticipate the situation affecting my work hours or my ability to deliver on projects, I appreciate you may have some concerns or queries regarding my request. I would be happy to discuss any suggestions or thoughts you had at your convenience.

Many thanks,

[Insert Name]

2.7 How to Ask Work from Home Due to Childcare 

Childcare can entail all sorts of demands on your time, and you may be wondering how to ask work from home, so that you can pick your child up from school or be at home to give them a meal when they get off the bus.

Dear [Insert Line Manager Name],

I am writing to  request a transition to remote working, in order that I may better accommodate my childcare needs.

In the past year, when we have through necessity been working from home, I have found it much easier to balance my commitments as a parent with my commitments as a working professional. Previously, I often felt stressed by the problems with juggling the two aspects of my life, leading to a lack of efficacy all round. The last few months have clearly demonstrated to me that I can be more productive and organized when I am working from home.

I appreciate that there are some days where I will need to come into the office for team discussions or go out to meet with clients. My partner and I have discussed this probability and believe we can ensure our schedules accommodate such eventualities.

I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Many thanks,

[Insert Name]

2.8 How to Ask Work from Home Due to Pregnancy

As you come closer to giving birth, you have concerns around managing prenatal appointments and overall physical discomfort, in which case it may be beneficial to consider how to ask for work from home during pregnancy.

Dear [Insert Line Manager Name],

As you know, I am due to give birth in a few months. In light of this, I would like to request that I be allowed to work from home until I go on maternity leave.

Without going into too much detail, I’m sure you can imagine that there are some days when I am in considerable discomfort and would prefer not to have to make the journey into the office. Additionally, it is much easier for me to pop out briefly for hospital appointments when I am working from home, rather than having to take several hours out of the day to travel from the office to the hospital.

I would of course be available via phone or email throughout the day.

Thank you for your understanding and I look forward to receiving your response.

Many thanks,

[Insert Name]

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