After about six months at the company, this “wasted productivity” was getting to him

  • Be honest with yourself about your motivations for wanting to work from home
  • Make your case with empirical evidence. It’s hard to argue with someone who is reasonable and prepared
  • Experiment with a three- or six-month test run, after which you and your boss discuss what went well and what needs fine-tuning
  • Bother with an elaborate presentation of your argument; a conversation followed up with a one-page proposal is appropriate
  • Be deterred if your request isn’t granted. Form a group of colleagues to investigate how other organizations handle employees working from home, and present your findings to HR
  • Be sneaky. Take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate that you can work from home effectively and productively

Case Study #1: Propose a pilot and then ace it by being responsive and productive Two years ago, when Mark Scott took the job as chief marketing officer at Apixio, a digitized medical records company, he knew that his commute would be bad. “But I didn’t realize quite how brutal it would be,” he says.

The 40-mile commute from his home in the East Bay to his office in San Mateo typically takes about an hour and a half – each way.

In a previous job he’d worked from home four days a week, and he knew he needed to ask his current boss if he could do something similar in the new role.

While Apixio didn’t have a formal policy on working from home, Mark was confident that the company’s culture was “open, supportive, and adaptable” and that his boss would sympathize with him. But he also knew that he would need to “quell any concerns” about him not being physically present. “I lead the ,” he says. “Face time in the office is important.”

Mark suggested a pilot that involved him working from home every Tuesday. “Our staff meetings are on Mondays, so Tuesdays made a lot of sense,” he says. “I told my boss I’d like to try it out for a few months and see how it goes.”

It’s fine

His boss agreed to the trial. All Mark had to do was “kill it” as a remote worker. “The best way to get traction is to demonstrate that you are accessible, productive, and responsive. The proof is in the pudding.”

The new arrangement was indeed successful, and Mark continues to work from home regularly, with support from his boss. “We never had a formal conversation about it, because it was going so well,” he says. “He said, ‘Just work from home when you need to. ‘”

members to work remotely on projects that require intense concentration. “Now even our CEO and CFO work from home from time to time,” he says. “Sometimes you just need a break from the water cooler chat.”

He added that he would, of course, come in on any Tuesday he was needed

Case Study #2: Present evidence to make your case, and then be flexible and committed to the job Wade Vielock had worked as a manager at Employer Flexible, a Houston-based human resources and recruitment company, for a year before he was transferred to San Antonio. At the time, the company had only a modest presence there, and Wade’s business agenda included making hires and building out the sales and service teams.

Two years later Wade earned a promotion, and his boss asked him to come back to corporate headquarters. But returning to Houston was not something Wade was prepared to do. “I have a wife and two kids, and I really didn’t want to pick up and move back” so soon, he says.