How to Negotiate a Remote Work Arrangement

Convince your boss to let you work from home

Man working from home - photo copyright Patagonik Works/Getty Images
Man working from home. Photo © Patagonik Works / Getty Images

Whether you're a new or an existing employee, it's possible to convince your company to let you start working from home, at least part time. The key to establishing a remote work arrangement is negotiating with your boss and proving that when you work from home you'll work even better than you do at the office. ~ Updated November 4, 2015

Note: If you're looking for a new job where you can work from home, see this How To Get a Telecommuting Job article for finding the best places to look for a work-from-home position.

Here's How:

  1. First make sure telecommuting is really for you. Working remotely is a dream for many, but it's not for everyone. You probably already know the benefits of telecommuting, but make sure you also know the disadvantages and carefully consider all the factors that will make telecommuting either successful or not for you personally (such as your ability to focus without supervision, comfort with being isolated from the office, quality of home/remote working environment, etc.).

  2. Know and strengthen your negotiating position: Find out more about your company's existing remote work policies and evaluate where you fit in as an employee in terms of being greatly valued and trusted. This information can strengthen your case for telecommuting.

  1. Arm yourself with research that proves the benefits of telecommuting arrangements for employers: Not too long ago, telecommuting was considered a perk, but today it's a common work style that benefits both the employee and the employer. You can use positive research findings about telecommuting benefits for employers, such as telecommuters' increased morale and productivity, to strengthen your proposal.

  1. Create a written proposal: This will help you fine-tune your request and will likely be taken more seriously than a casual mention. The proposal should include the benefits to your employer and details on how you will accomplish your job more effectively and efficiently. If you'd prefer to make your request in person, still write the proposal--as practice for when you talk to your boss. I'd suggest starting small: Trying out working from home for two weeks or so to see how things go.

  2. Get ready to discuss in person: Brush up on your negotiating skills (try this guide from MindTools). If it looks like your request will be turned down, find out why and offer a solution or compromise (e.g., part-time telecommuting vs. full-time, short trial run, etc.).


  • During any trial period, keep up your part of the agreement and maintain your productivity, of course (you can refer to your written proposal and the executed remote work agreement to stay on track).

  • Check-in regularly with your boss to show your progress and emphasize how working remotely has improved your work--so you can make this arrangement permanent.

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