Working remotely is here to stay, so it’s important to know how to work from home and have the best practices in place. If you haven’t yet, you’ll want to come prepared with reasons why your boss should approve of remote work and what you do best as an employee who works remotely. Working from home can be challenging and requires practice, so make sure you know how your body responds and what tools are available for help when the going gets tough.
Working from home is a reality for many people, and you can maximize your potential when doing so. Whether you are looking for work or making the switch from the office to your home, knowing how to successfully work from home is always key.
While many people turned to work from home to lower their risk of infection during the pandemic, many have found success in being home, citing a sense of increased productivity and improved well-being. As offices reopen, employees feel some uncertainty about returning to work and in severe cases, anxiety surrounding the return-to-office.
Some people may wonder why they would want to leave their home and return to an office. The switch from commuting long distances to being able to work from wherever you are is appealing, especially if you are able to take advantage of the flexibility it offers.
Laura Vanderkam, author of The New Corner Office, says that remote work gives us an opportunity to innovate rather than replicate. She has been working from home for the past 18 years and challenges us to think about how normal workdays look.
According to a recent article by Forbes, experts predict that remote work will increase in popularity over the next several years. As professionals, it’s our responsibility and right to dig into how employers and our fellow employees are navigating the increasingly remote work environment.
People experience remote work in different ways. Just because you like working remotely now does not mean you can’t enjoy aspects of past office days.
Asking your boss to work from home
If you’re not in a remote position already but are interested in making the transition, your boss or manager can help. A talk with your boss is a good way to get ready for a switch to remote work and will help you prepare for the challenges involved.
If you’re having trouble doing your job, take some time to reflect if working remotely might be a good option for you. Working from home is not for everyone, and bosses are typically less likely to give low-performing employees any added perks. That said, some of us have to work remotely, so understanding how to do so is crucial. We’ll get to that later.
Now that you know whether remote work is right for you, let’s talk about how to approach the “May I work from home?” conversation with your boss or manager.
List out some of the ways remote work benefits you, such as increased productivity, fewer sick days, quick project turnaround, or more time to focus on work-related tasks. Whatever your reasons for seeking remote work, make sure to highlight how it will benefit the entire company.
Account executive at Evenbound Nate Silvey, who has been working from home since 2020, suggests setting the table by first mentioning why you enjoy working at your current company, your value to the team, past performance. He also brings into consideration personal passions of yours and the need for more time away from the office.
You are going to encounter pushback from your manager, so be gracious and understanding. Offering up set expectations can help put your manager at ease. What days will you work remotely and why? How will you communicate while at home? Will meetings be accessible (virtual or in-person)? Is a hybrid schedule more fitting? Your boss will want to know that your day-to-day responsibilities won’t suffer as you work remotely, so be strategic in your approach.
Vanderkam suggests that people start working from home by assessing what works best for them. She advises setting up good practices, whether it be investing in a few hours of child care or carving out open space for creative thinking, which will lead to a smoother transition and continued quality performance. “What works for you on a day-to-day basis?” she asks. “Is there anything that’s a pain point that you can get help with?”
How to succeed while working from home
The pandemic drove people from the office to work remotely and revolutionized the workplace. We’ve set up new boundaries between home and work; now more than ever, knowing how to best work from home is essential. You have the potential to set yourself up for greater success in both your career and personal life by knowing how to best work from home.
Remote workers have been able to pursue hobbies and personal interests outside their work, like Silvey.
“It has allowed me to close the laptop at five o’clock and pursue those passions, when I would probably be behind the wheel.”
In addition, he recommends setting up ‘Do Not Disturb’ on all work apps, limiting notifications and access for certain apps, separating your work and sleep space, trying not to live in your inbox, scheduling meetings with people outside of work, time blocking your work day, seeing your friends and getting a pet.
Silvey’s two dogs ring the bell when it’s time for a walk. That’s a good reminder for him to go outside, take one, and connect with people in person. He stresses the importance of this when working in a new environment or town.
Having the proper tools and learning how to work effectively from home will make you a more well-rounded employee or job candidate. Knowing how to advocate for yourself and your needs goes a long way in any career—remote, hybrid, or in-person.