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Use these proposal guidelines to ask to work remotely forever

For those who want to continue working remotely but aren’t sure how to discuss with their bosses.

Use these proposal guidelines to ask to work remotely forever
[Photo: Unsplash]
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The majority of professionals who began working remotely in the spring as a result of the pandemic would like to keep working that way after it’s safe to return to the office. A recent FlexJobs survey of more than 4,000 people who’ve been working remotely during the pandemic found that 65% said they would prefer to work at home full-time after the pandemic.

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If you’re among that majority, you probably won’t find it surprising that 51% of survey respondents say they have been more productive working from home during the pandemic, and 95% of respondents say productivity has been higher or the same while working remotely.

For those who want to continue working remotely but aren’t sure how to discuss with their bosses, FlexJobs’s career coaching team has developed a template for requesting a more permanent work-from-home arrangement.

To approach your boss with this kind of request, career coaches recommend the following two-step process:

  • Email your manager and/or HR to request a meeting
  • Write a proposal to present at the meeting

In your proposal, include the request to work from home permanently, your reasoning for the request and the professional benefits of a permanent arrangement, and details or scenarios for your potential schedule and communication with the team.

Below, you’ll find the email template to request your meeting, and the proposal template to build your winning pitch for a permanent work-from-home arrangement.

Email to request a meeting

Subject line ideas:

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  • Long-term remote work options
  • Plans for continued remote work vs. return to the office

Hello [manager’s name],

I hope you’re doing well! To best prepare for the coming months, I’d like to get a good sense of the company’s plans to return to the office and what the options are for longer-term remote work. Are you the right person to talk to, and if so, could we set up a call for later this week?”

Best wishes,

[your name]

Proposal outline to present at your meeting

Send this to whoever you’re meeting with the day before your meeting, so they have time to review it.

Request: A long-term remote work arrangement.

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You may want to list the specific arrangement or arrangements you’d ideally like here. For example:

  • Work from home 2-3 days per week
  • Continue working 100% from home, with in-office visits as needed.
  • Work from home through spring 2021

Reasoning and benefits: Since beginning to work from home full-time during the pandemic, I’ve discovered just how productive and effective I can be at my job by working this way. This was also possible even though many other responsibilities and focuses shifted in my personal life.

Like many of us, because of remote work, I continued contributing at a high level at work while taking care of unexpected and challenging life circumstances.

Specifically, while working remotely, I’ve experienced: List specific accomplishments, achievements, and improvements related to work such as:

  • 95% client retention during a severe economic downturn due to excellent communication and availability outside traditional office hours
  • 15% fewer PTO or sick days compared to last year because I can keep working through mild illnesses, when children are home sick, etc.
  • Creative new ways of collaborating and communicating with coworkers leading to stronger working relationships
  • A faster turn-around time on projects/content/brainstorms/client requests because of the increased focus that remote work supports

Potential schedule and communication details: I understand how important it is for me to be reachable and available even when working remotely. Here’s how I can make that possible:

  • Stick to predictable hours that overlap with the team’s for synchronous work
  • Be available by email, phone, and online chat during work hours
  • Announce my arrival and departure every day just as I would in the office
  • Send schedule changes and other necessary info to anyone affected
  • Dial into all meetings and use video whenever possible
  • Make regular visits to the office and be available as needed for in-person meetings

Don’t forget to thank your supervisor for their time and consideration.

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If you don’t receive a “yes” right away, you might want to ask your manager what concerns they have, and then think of ways to address those.

Lastly, consider asking for a hybrid work situation where you’re in the office some days or weeks and at home others. Remote work has become more acceptable in the past eight months than ever before, even for skeptical managers, so if you don’t get a quick yes, try again in the future, or start looking for a new job that will let you work remotely.


Brie Reynolds is a career development manager and coach at FlexJobs.