These days, almost anything you need to do for work can be done in the comfort of your home.
Unfortunately, though, there's still a false perception among some employers that working from home actually means you're not working at all.
But in reality, people who work from home can actually experience an increase in productivity, getting a lot more work done than if they were in the office. In fact, in a two-year study, Stanford Professor Nicholas Bloom found that participants gained up to one additional day of work as a result of working from home.
Thankfully, most companies are starting to recognize this and are becoming more willing to embrace this new work-from-home culture. But, if you're still struggling to ask your boss--or if you're just not sure if working from home will work for you--I've provided a strategic four-week plan you can follow.
At the end of the four weeks, you may experience a boost in productivity and more autonomy, which will ultimately increase your joy at work, your performance, and your boss' willingness to let you do this more in the future. It's a win-win for all!
1. Make a Game Plan
Come up with your desired number of days or time of day that you want to work from home. Let's say it's two days a week. Figure out which days or partial days of the week work best. It may be that you don't have any team meetings on certain days or on Fridays, the traffic to get to work is the worst in the summer. Pick days where there is an obvious benefit to staying home whether it be office related or environment related. Make sure to list out these reasons.
2. Present to Your Boss
Go to your manager and lay out your plan. Mention the pros and cons of being in the office on the days that you're requesting. Mention that you want to do this as a test for four weeks. You will track your performance and results during this time and then report back at the end of the four weeks with what you learned. Most managers will be receptive to this and will actually be curious, as well. Maybe you can convince them to let you present your learnings to your whole team.
3. Nail the Trial Run
Do your test. Make sure you create a tracking system that will track the following: How much time you worked from home versus in the office, your productivity (what you accomplished, your results), the quality of the work, your mood and engagement (how did you feel, the end result), what was gained or lost?
4. Put Together a Recap
At the end of the four weeks put together all of the data you collected and create a presentation for your manager or team. Was working from home a success? Calculate the cost savings i.e. money not spent on gas or public transport, money saved by your organization for not having you use office space, etc. Think through all pros and cons from your organization's standpoint, as well as your own and decide with your manager how you think you should proceed going forward.