How to Work Remotely (With 6 Steps You Can Follow)

Updated September 30, 2022

There's a growing number of professionals who work from home at least once a week, with others working remotely more frequently or on a full-time basis. There are many benefits to working remotely, including the flexibility it offers you and the ability to work in a comfortable environment. Learning more about how to work remotely can help you determine if this working style is suitable for your role and lifestyle. In this article, we discuss the steps you can take if you are interested in learning how to work remotely.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Working from Home

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How to work remotely with your employer's support

You may be wondering how to work remotely and gain your employer's or manager's support for doing so. Here's a list of steps you can follow to help you prepare a strong request to work from home and encourage your employer to approve your request:

1. Ensure you're a top performer

If you've been in your position for a long time, it's typically better for your employer to keep you as an employee than to hire and train someone new. If your manager or supervisor trusts that you can get work done without regular supervision, they are more likely to support your request to work from home. Before asking to work remotely, you can consider aspects of your work. Here's a list of questions you can ask yourself to assess your performance:

  • What's your rapport with work colleagues and clients?

  • What type of positive feedback have you received?

  • Was there a time you overlooked a task or missed a deadline? How did you recover?

  • Have your past performance reviews been positive?

If you feel like the answers to these questions highlight your strengths as an employee, you can write this information down and use it as evidence to support your request to work remotely. If the answers to these questions leave you feeling uncertain, there's still hope that you can achieve your goal of working remotely. You can use these questions as an opportunity to determine why you're performing at less than your best and focus on how you can improve. This knowledge can put you in a better position to request to work remotely in the future and can improve your effectiveness in your role overall.

Read more: 9 Benefits of Working Remotely (With Tips for Remote Work)

2. Have clear reasons for transitioning to remote work

People work remotely for different reasons. For some, it's because they have a relative to take care of who isn't local, and they can't afford to or prefer not to hire someone to do it for them. Others may wish to work remotely for a change of scenery in their workday, but enjoy their job and want to stay with the company if possible. It's essential to have clear reasons why you want to work remotely. Clarity can help put the next steps in perspective if your employer rejects your request. Here are some questions to consider before submitting your request:

  • Are you still interested in the job if they deny your request to work from home?

  • What are your next steps?

  • Did you schedule a move-out date or book travel already?

It's important to express your reasons for wanting to work remotely clearly to your employer. For example, having the ability to work remotely and care for a sick relative at the same time can help you have more time to focus on the areas of your life that matter, or living in another location may also help you work in a more relaxed environment so you can give your full attention to your job.

3. Develop a plan

Before your meeting to discuss working remotely, consider the issues your employer may have with your request. This can help you anticipate the questions they may ask and prepare effective ways to answer them. For example, communication may be one of management's critical concerns. It's important to ensure that communication channels remain open even when you're not in the office. Outline a plan for maintaining regular contact and interaction with management and colleagues while you work remotely. You can suggest having regular video calls and establish forums for text chats and sharing documents on various online communication platforms.

Productivity is another typical concern for employers. Your employer may wonder how you plan to define work hours and maintain availability, particularly if you're working in a different time zone. They may want to know how you plan to attend or participate in meetings, critical discussions, and gatherings. Management may also have concerns about how you plan to make up for being away from the company's office culture. Having a clearly outlined plan regarding how you can maintain strong relationships with colleagues, management, and clients is very beneficial when discussing your options for remote work.

Related: 15 of the Best Remote Working Jobs: A Definitive Guide

4. Create a list of the benefits

Be sure to demonstrate to your manager the positive outcomes that can result from you working remotely to support your request. Think about how you can explain how working remotely can increase your ability to perform your job effectively and how it can have a positive effect on output and your team overall. You can get specific and talk about how you are able to focus on your job better when you work from home because you're more productive in an environment that you have control over.

If work-life balance is something the company holds as one of its values, you can talk about how working remotely allows you to achieve a better balance in your life. Another benefit you can discuss is how working remotely can reduce the stress you may experience from commuting to and from work every day. You can also highlight that working remotely means fewer interruptions from colleagues or activities happening in the office, which can help your output levels and productivity.

5. Have a conversation with your manager

If you're confident you're a top performer and you've prepared a thorough plan on how you can work remotely successfully, you can request a meeting with your manager. As you begin the discussion, make sure the conversation is about how everyone involved can benefit from the new arrangement. It's important for your employer to recognize that you've thought about addressing both the company's needs and your own. This is where your top performer evaluation is helpful. You can use it to highlight your unique talents and the experience you bring to the job. Be sure to also mention past successes in your role.

The aim of the discussion is to convince your employer that a remote work situation is the best solution for both you and the company. When presenting your plan, it's crucial to prove that you can be just as productive, or more, by working remotely. It may be helpful to discuss your reason for wanting to work remotely and how it can help you better focus on your job. Be sure to leave time for your manager to ask questions and address concerns. It's possible that there are further potential issues to consider.

Read more: Remote Work vs. Work From Home: Differences and Similarities

6. Suggest a trial period

If your employer seems open to the idea of you working remotely but still expresses concerns, you can suggest a trial period. This can provide an opportunity to prove that you can manage your same workload while working remotely for a short period of time. Your employer may be more willing to agree to a trial, giving you the opportunity to show that you can do the job regardless of the location of your office. It's also beneficial for your employer as they can measure the impact of your request without agreeing to it.

Ensuring you maintain productivity during this trial period may mean finding a reliable internet connection, creating a suitable home office, and determining how to log in to the company's system remotely. The trial period allows you and your employer to see what works and what doesn't when you're away from the office. It also gives you a chance to work out any issues, such as what to do if your internet connection were to fail during work hours. You can start to work remotely once a week and see how it goes for a few weeks before making a final decision.

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