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Image / Agenda

How to talk to your boss about working from home after lockdown


By Megan Burns
26th Aug 2020
How to talk to your boss about working from home after lockdown

If you’re reluctant to give up your WFH life, there are ways that you can approach it with your boss to see if you can make it a more permanent fixture. 


In March, many people who previously had never worked from home became telecommuters overnight. Companies suddenly found their whole workforce functioning through the power of technology. Meetings became Zoom calls and popping over to someone’s desk became emails.

And while many have found it challenging, perhaps you’ve had your eyes opened to the benefits of ditching the office. Many people find they are much more productive without the distractions of colleagues, and others are reluctant to go back to a commute that wastes a huge chunk of their day.

If you’d like to ask your boss about continuing to work from home after lockdown ends, here’s how you should approach it.

Consider how well suited it is to your position

No matter how much you want to work from home, if your job usually requires a lot of in-person collaboration with others, your company is unlikely to agree to it. Similarly, if you supervise or manage a team, it can be hard to do this from home if they are all going to be in the office.

However, if you have been successfully working from home during the pandemic, then you can make a case for how you would continue to do so after lockdown. Have your video calls been more efficient that your normal meetings? Have you scheduled daily phone call check-ins with each team member? Take note of what has been successful and how you could make it work long-term.

Ask yourself how you performed during lockdown

Andrew Sheehan, Head of Marketing at Recruiters, says employees need to consider how their boss will have perceived their work during this crisis. “A good culture is incredibly important to businesses and they want you to be part of it,” he explains.

“If you have lost contact with your colleagues or line managers by not attending virtual social events or communicating regularly, they will be less likely to let that continue. They want to feel your presence and contribution to the company culture even if you’re not there.”

So if you’ve been somewhat off the grid when it comes to work communication, or you’ve been getting less done than usual, your boss is less likely to allow you to keep working from home.

Plan your case

Andrew advises anyone approaching their boss to ask about remote working to carefully plan their argument. “Similar to asking for a raise, you need to build a case. Don’t just tell them that your activity and output increased during the lockdown, show it. If it increased as a result of you working longer hours, remember that this will be your new benchmark, rightly or wrongly.”

You need to show that working remotely will not negatively affect your work, or that of your colleagues who you collaborate with.

Create a specific plan

You are more likely to be successful in your request if you can show that you’ve carefully planned out what your remote working schedule would look like, whether that’s for full-time remote work or balancing it with some days in the office.

Be realistic, too. If you have a regular company meeting on Tuesdays, then that’s probably a day you need to be in the office.

It’s also a good idea to be clear about what hours you would be online, and how you would keep in touch with the rest of your team. One benefit of asking to work from home after lockdown is that your company probably has already been using online tools to make this easy, whether it’s video calls or planning software.

If cutting out your commute would mean you could start work earlier or move your shift into the evening, point out the benefit of this to your boss.

Be honest

Andrew points out that there’s no point pretending that you want to work from home solely for the benefit of your employer. “Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest. Explain how much you have enjoyed working from home, how it’s helped your confidence and any personal situations.”

Lockdown should have given you plenty of examples of how working from home has benefited you, so don’t be afraid to share them. “At the end of the day, good employers want their staff to be happy because this leads to productivity, creativity and long-standing relationships,” Andrew says.

“Times have changed and employers need to change with it. However, the importance of output, cultural match and your managers’ opinion remain the same.”

Featured image: Daan Stevens via Unsplash


Read more: ‘The pandemic forced us to pivot our business model — this is how we did it’

Read more: Esther O’Moore Donohoe: ‘After a week back in the formal office structure, what have I taken away?’

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