People who work from home are healthier, happier, and more productive. Scientific studies show it, and anecdotal evidence abounds--besides, it just sort of makes gut sense. 

Maybe you work for someone else, however, and you'd have to convince your boss that you should work from home (at least sometimes). If so, there's some good news.

An unusual quirk in this year's calendar means you likely have a better chance right now to get permission to work from home, than at any other time during a 19-year period.

Yes, I acknowledge this sounds both oddly specific and a bit extreme. The opportunity arises from the fact that July 4 falls on an unusual day this year--and the timing creates a domino effect that can help you make a compelling argument.

The Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday

It's really rare for July 4 to be a Wednesday. The last time it happened was 2010; next time will be 2029.

Most years, employees get used to taking July 4 as part of a three or four-day weekend. But in 2018, having a paid federal midweek holiday throws everything off and creates an HR headache.

Bosses are left to wonder: Should my employees only get July 4 itself off? Maybe they'll want to take Monday and Tuesday, too, and make a five day weekend? Or perhaps they'll want Thursday and Friday instead. There's no consensus.

The result will likely be a mess, and one of the least productive weeks this year. That opens up a big opportunity for employees to argue that instead of taking time off to travel, or risking everyone wanting vacation at once, next week, they should be able to work from home.

(By the way, hat tip to the folks at CyberLink, who reminded me of the odd calendar this year. Not coincidentally, they're running a promotion to help workers to convince their bosses to let them work from home.)

Working backward, in order to be able to work from home

It's a lot easier to make a successful work-from-home argument, if you can present it as a simple, temporary experiment. You also want it to be something that will legitimately benefit your employer, as much as yourself.

As Tim Ferriss, author of theThe Four Hour Work Week puts it, make the proposal when the facts are so in your favor, and don't ask for a long-term commitment. It makes refusing your idea seem unreasonable.

Since we're talking about the July 4 opportunity, you probably need to have the talk with your boss this week, ahead of time. Knowing nothing about your situation of course, I'd start with the presumption that Thursday, June 28 is likely the best day to raise the idea. 

It's close enough to be a problem that your boss might realize needs to be solved, but far enough ahead of time to be a responsible, forward-thinking request.

Request it, do it, and report back to your boss

Here's a bit more on the steps involved in arguing to make the transition to working from home (at least part time).

  1. Pick a defined period of time to propose working from home, hopefully when there's another reason to do so besides your convenience. (As we've noted, the July 4 week likely checks the box.)
  2. Request permission. If you think permission won't be coming, maybe just do it and ask for forgiveness later. You know your boss and whether this will fly, of course; I don't.
  3. Ensure that your work from home performance is at least as good as the work you do in the office--and that you actually like the experience. But, to reiterate: Make darn sure your work is at least as good as what you'd accomplish in the office
  4. Track your progress during your work from home days, and share the results with your boss, demonstrating that you're more productive away from the office.
  5. Formalize the whole thing, and push until you get permission to work from home on an ongoing basis. 

Yes, but what about the Canadians?

It's possible that you're an exception and July 4 doesn't provide a big opportunity in your professional situation. Maybe you have vacation plans already. Heck, maybe you're Canadian.

Or maybe this article winds up being so popular that we ruin the July 4 loophole for everyone else. (Sorry!)

No problem, the strategy works in other situations, too. Be sure to propose it during a time when it makes sense from your boss's perspective, not just yours--maybe when the real alternative would be not to work at all. A few examples:

  • When your boss will be traveling, but you won't.
  • When a medical or personal issue would require you to be out of the office anyway.
  • When your home makes more sense temporarily than your work due to geography. Imagine if your office is an hour from your home, but you'll be spending a chunk of time at a client that happens to be much closer to your house. 
  • When a weather emergency or some other event makes your office temporarily inaccessible. 

You get the picture. Remember: first convince yourself, then convince your boss on a temporary basis, then prove that it works, and then work out a long-term arrangement.

Then, relax and enjoy your new one-minute commute. You might wonder how you ever did otherwise.

Published on: Jun 27, 2018
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