The crucial asking for work-from-home etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior for asking your manager to work remotely politely and effectively.
What asking to work from home etiquette is
Asking for work-from-home etiquette is the set of rules to politely ask your manager to work remotely. Such rules include:
- How to make an appropriate request for work from home.
- The behaviors to avoid.
As an employee, when asking your manager to work from home, follow these etiquette rules to ask politely and make the right impression.
As a manager or an employer, promote asking for work-from-home etiquette to encourage your team to make mature requests and enjoy working remotely.
General asking to work from home etiquette principles
Asking for work-from-home etiquette is based on two main principles.
- Preserving trust with your manager and team.
- Not being perceived as entitled or selfish when asking for work from home.
Asking to work from home etiquette rules
1) Know what you are selling
Asking your manager to work remotely can be tricky. First, in most countries, working from home is not an employee’s right. Second, it may be unclear how employees working from home can benefit the manager or company.
Thus, when asking your manager for work-from-home, do not act entitled. For your request to be successful, you need to make it clear how your team or company will benefit. For example, if working from home saves you two hours of commute, you can argue that it will make you more rested and productive.
2) Choose the right time for asking work from home
The success of your request largely depends on the timing. Asking for work-from-home at the right time significantly increases the chances of success. While asking at the wrong time results in almost certain rejection. Make your request during a quiet period, when your team is fully-staffed and your manager is not in firefighting mode.
Before asking to work remotely, make sure that you are in good standing. Your last performance reviews need to be positive. Show constant effort and engagement in your work.
3) Ask for work from home as early as possible
Signal to your manager that you intend to request work from home a few days in advance. The shorter the notice you give, the lower your chances of success. On the other hand, if you ask well in advance the manager will have plenty of time to plan and approve your request.
4) Be clear and appropriate when asking for work from home
Assess what you can or cannot ask your manager. Understand the limit of what you can ask for. Do not overshoot as you risk losing credibility and harming your relationship with your manager and team.
For example, if everybody in the team is working in the office, start by asking for one day of remote work per week or month. Asking to work from home every day may be too much.
Start your request by making your intentions clear. State what you need and would like to get. Make your request precise, stating the exact conditions. Keep a positive tone of voice and positive body language.
Ask for work from home in person. Asking it over the phone, via text messages, voice messages, or by email is inappropriate. Such channels feel impersonal and the message and its tone can be misinterpreted. Never ask for working from home in public, as you risk putting your manager in an embarrassing spot.
5) Explain the reasons behind your request
When asking for work from home, state the reasons behind your request. Showing the reasons for your request increases trust.
Say why you think it is the right time, why working remotely will benefit you, and how it will benefit the company. Do not make it all about you, but also do not pretend that you care only about the company. Your request is successful if your incentives and the company’s incentives are aligned.
6) Respect a well-motivated negative answer
If the manager does not accept your request for working remotely, you should respect their answer.
However, it is perfectly appropriate to ask why they are rejecting your request. The manager should provide some objective explanation, such as a company policy.
Rejecting your request without providing any reason is impolite. If that happens, take it as a cue. It means that you are unlikely to get work from home anytime soon.
7) Thank your manager if work from home is approved
Be grateful if your manager accepts your request. Thank them and show gratitude. Doing otherwise signals entitlement and is against etiquette.
8) Confirm work from home in writing
Always confirm work from home in writing after its approval. First, people forget. Second, writing helps avoid any misunderstanding.
If your company has a clear policy to request and confirm work from home, it is sufficient to stick to it. Otherwise, you can send a calendar reminder, a short email, or a text message to your manager and team the day before.
Asking work from home etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst asking work-from-home etiquette mistakes.
- 9/10. Not thanking your manager after approval.
- 8/10. Not accepting a “no”.
- 8/10. Making an excessive request.
- 8/10. Not providing valid reasons for your request.
- 7/10. Asking for work from home in public.
- Working from Home Commission research paper: pc.gov.au