How to ask to work from home

How to ask to work from home

Now more than ever, it is possible for many different types of professionals to work from home.

According to Global Workplace Analytics, 5 million U.S. workers currently work from home at least half the time. That represents 3.6% of the American workforce, but many more people could work from home who currently do not. The firm reports that 56% of the U.S. workforce holds jobs that are compatible with telecommuting.  

Allowing employees to work from home benefits employers as well as workers. Telecommuting saves the company valuable resources, potentially cutting down on real estate and utility costs, while boosting employee productivity and loyalty.  

If you’re thinking about working from home, you should make a strategic plan to approach your employer. Decide on what type of schedule you would be interested in, and what would work best for both you and your company.

Be prepared to be flexible when negotiating a work from home arrangement. The more flexibility you suggest to your employer, the better your chances of getting a “yes” answer.

How to Ask Your Boss to Work From Home

Prepare Your Case

Build a case based on business needs. Working from home may help you save money, cut down on your commute, and otherwise boost your work-life balance. But don’t lead with the benefits to you. Start by outlining the gains for the company. Emphasize cost savings, productivity gains, and other ways in which working from home will help the organization reach its goals.

Know company policy. Your employer may already have a formal telecommuting policy in place, in which case you’ll want to know it before you sit down to talk to your boss. If your employee handbook doesn’t refer directly to flexible work options, consider what you’ve seen around the office. Do other employees work from home, and if so, which employees, how often, and how does that work?

Do not reference other employees in your discussions with your manager. Keep the discussion to your situation and how your working from home would benefit the team.

Create a plan. Writing up a telecommuting proposal for how you can effectively work from home can help your supervisor make a case for you. In fact, you may want to put your request in writing prior to your meeting. That way, your boss isn’t surprised by your request and you’re prepared with a rationale as to why you don’t need to spend all your working hours in the office.

Use sample letters to shape your request. Typically, it’s best to talk to your boss in person when asking to work from home. However, templates and samples can help you organize your thoughts and prepare to make your case. Review sample letters for working from home before you create your own.

Request a Meeting

Ask for a meeting to discuss the matter. Don’t surprise your boss with a request to work from home. Schedule a discussion ahead of time and be sure to select a time when your boss is likely to be receptive. (In other words, don’t put in your request during your team’s busiest season or when things are otherwise more hectic than usual.)

Prepare to address any concerns. Especially if telecommuting is not widespread at your company, you may have to allay your boss’s fears before you receive approval. Your manager may be concerned about productivity, accessibility, or team morale. Have answers ready and remember that your goal is to persuade—don’t be defensive or lean on appeals to emotion.

Show That You’ll be Available

Offer proof that you’ll be accessible. Commit to being visible, communicative, and available. Depending on how your team typically communicates, this might mean being on Slack every day from 9 to 5, or emailing your boss with progress reports at set intervals, or being available for Zoom chats on a regular basis.

Be Flexible

Ask for a trial period. Perhaps you’ll work from home every Friday for the rest of the quarter, or twice a week for the next month or two, and then reassess. Suggest a trial period that works for your team and your company and set goals for deliverables.

Be prepared to wait for an answer. Keep in mind that your boss may not be able to give you permission during your meeting. Your manager may need to check with their supervisor and/or the organization’s Human Resources Department.

Published on October 19, 2020 – By Cecilia Amador de San José

If you’ve been working from home since the pandemic started, chances are you’ve already found a new work rhythm that allows you to be productive while working from home.

Despite the fact that many workers have reported some negative aspects to working from home, the majority of workers have stated in recent surveys that they want to continue working from home, at least part-time.

A recent FlexJobs survey found that 65% of workers want to become full-time remote employees post-pandemic. 31% would prefer a hybrid arrangement that allows them to work some days from home and some days from the office.

Whether you’d like to work remotely permanently or part-time, you’re likely wondering how to best approach the subject with your manager, especially as more organizations get ready to welcome back employees to office.

FlexJobs found that some employees have already started to request the switch to permanent remote work arrangements post-pandemic. While some have been approved, others haven’t.

So, how can you increase your chances of being cleared to work remotely permanently?

FlexJobs’ career coaching team developed a template for requesting permanent work from home (WFH) arrangements. The template includes:

  • Email example to request a meeting
  • Proposal outline to present at the meeting including:
    • The written request to WFH permanently
    • Reasoning and benefits of a permanent arrangement
    • Potential WFH schedule and communication details.

Email to Request a Meeting

Subject Ideas:

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?”

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. [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.]

· 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

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· 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.

Benefits of WFH Arrangements for Employers

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more organizations are coming around and warming up to the idea of remote working.

However, many organizations and CEOs are still skeptical about the benefits of remote work.

Among them, Reed Hastings, co-chief executive of Netflix Inc., said the following to the Wall Street Journal about working from home:

“I don’t see any positives. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”

Similarly, Rajat Bhageria, CEO of robotics startup Chef Robotics, stated:

“We tried it…It’s just not the same. You just cannot get the same quality of work.”

Ellen Kullman, CEO of 3-D printing startup Carbon Inc., also expressed concerns about permanent remote work arrangements:

“What I worry about the most is innovation. Innovation is hard to schedule—it’s impossible to schedule.”

On the bright side, there are various organizations that are fully embracing remote work. Among these are Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox, and Slack.

While there is no doubt that some things cannot be replaced by virtual settings, there are benefits associated with allowing employees to work remotely:

  • 81% of survey respondents say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.
  • 27% of workers said that the ability to work at home as much as they want is so important to them that they are willing to take a 10% to 20% pay cut to have that benefit.
  • Employees who work remotely, at least part-time, have higher engagement than those who don’t ever work remotely.
  • Organizations that have engaged employees report better productivity levels and employee performance.
  • Allowing employees to work remotely can help broaden an organization’s talent pool.
  • Organizations that plan to allow employees to work remotely can save costs by reducing their real estate footprint and overhead. Chris Herd is the CEO of startup FirstbaseHQ estimates that the difference between supporting employees in the office vs remotely is ten-fold, “going from $20,000 per employee per year in office space costs down to $2,000 per employee per year for a remote work setup.”

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about requesting a permanent switch to remote work, there’s one key thing that you need to keep in mind:

You need to present the benefits and advantages that remote work will bring to your company.

You need to be able to convey why remote work will be beneficial for the company overall, otherwise, your boss won’t be as motivated to let you work remotely, even part-time.

Many employees today work from home to increase productivity, reduce distractions and enjoy a better work-life balance. Even if your company doesn’t currently offer a remote-working program, they still may agree to allow you to work from home if you approach the subject in the right way. Learning the steps to take to ask to work from home can help you be more successful with your own request.

In this article, we discuss why it’s important to know how to ask to work from home and the 10 steps to take if you’re asking your own employer to work remotely.

Why is it important to know how to ask to work from home

It’s important to know how to ask to work from home, since asking at the right time and being prepared with research that emphasizes the value of working from home can increase the likelihood that your manager will agree to your request.

How to ask to work from home

Here are x steps to take if you want to approach your manager about working from home:

1. Perform your research

If you’re preparing to have any conversation with your employer about working remotely, it’s important to be prepared. Your preparation for the meeting should include spending time evaluating how common it is for people to perform remote work in the industry and also in your company specifically.

As you assess how common remote employees are in your company, learn more about the arrangement that remote employees have. For example, some employees may work remotely all of the time, while others may work from home one or two days per week. Also inquire whether your company already has a remote work policy in place.

2. Focus on company benefits

As you prepare to meet with your employer, it’s important to look at the situation from their perspective. The majority of your pitch to work remotely should be focused on how it benefits your employer. In order to accomplish this, during your research, you should also gather data on the benefits of working remotely. For example, research shows that employees who work from home are often more productive, are less likely to quit and are often less expensive for the organization.

Be prepared with specific examples of how your work and the company would benefit from a remote working arrangement. For example, you should be able to explain how you would be able to do your job better, in what ways you would be more productive and why and whether you might be able to work hours that better accommodated your company. You may also want to consider how working remotely would impact your focus and your ability to work uninterrupted.

3. Identify any concerns

Before the meeting with your employer, it’s important to identify the possible concerns that they might have. For example, they may be concerned about productivity or whether you will be as reachable if you’re working from home. Once you identify what you believe will be their greatest concerns, prepare a list of solutions. For example, if you think they will be concerned about communication, you could suggest a regular work schedule where you will be at your desk and available through a web-based communication tool.

4. Create a plan for working from home

After completing all of your research and identifying the top concerns your company would likely have, you should create a document that outlines how your work-from-home arrangement could work. This plan should include the schedule you intend to maintain when working remotely and the process you will follow to track your performance and communicate with team members. If your company isn’t currently using any tool for communication or project management, you may want to include recommendations for digital tools within your plan.

5. Time your request strategically

Your request to work from home will be most successful if your manager already trusts you do to the job and values your efforts. The best way to increase the likelihood they will agree is to make the request at the ideal time, such as after completing a big project successfully or achieving another goal with your work.

6. Ask in person

It’s important to make your request in person, versus in an email format. If you typically have regular check-ins with your manager, bringing up the idea of working remotely during that meeting is appropriate. If you don’t have regular check-ins, then schedule a time to have a conversation.

The tone for the meeting should be reflective of the relationship you have with your manager. If you have a laid back, casual relationship, then you can be direct with your request, opening a casual conversation on the matter. If you have a strictly professional relationship, then it’s important to make a formal request to meet with them and suggest that you have ideas for how you can improve your work environment.

7. Be prepared to lead the meeting

Be prepared for the likelihood that you will need to lead the conversation with your manager. Explain that you’re interested in working remotely and address how common it is for people in your industry and company to work fro home. Highlight projects you worked on that demonstrate your ability to effectively manage your time and work independently.

8. Open a conversation

Be prepared for the possibility that your employer may not approve your request to work from home initially, especially if that type of working arrangement isn’t common within your company. When you present the idea, let your manager know that your request is flexible. Share with them the benefits of working from home and present any solutions you have to overcome possible concerns.

For example, if your manager brings up concerns, you could respond by saying, “I’m actually glad you brought up the some specific examples of concerns you might have. I’ve actually done a lot of research into how other similar businesses successfully implemented remote work arrangements.” You can then share with them a physical, written proposal that outlines your solution to the problem, including when you will be available, the security measures you will put in place to protect company data and how frequently you will check-in to ensure the new arrangement is going smoothly.

9. Suggest a trial

To help your employer feel more comfortable with the idea of you working from home, suggest starting small by working from home one day per week. Once you have this idea approved, you can then demonstrate that you achieve your highest levels of productivity when you’re working from home. As you establish that you’re reliable as a remote employee, you can ask to increase the number fo days that you’re working from home.

10 . Build trust in a trial period

If your employer approves a trial work-from-home arrangement, use it as an opportunity to develop trust. Over-communicate about the work that you’re doing. If you’re working on a project, think about what you could need from your manager att he beginning and ask for it right away. If you are spending some days in the office, make sure you’re highly visible during those times. When you are remote, suggest using video chat for check-ins and meetings rather than phone.

How to ask to work from home

Many organizations are flexible when it comes to working from home when you’re feeling sick. In fact, many companies encourage you to take a sick day or a remote work day when you’re feeling under the weather.

If your team is already working from home, you can connect with your team virtually by claiming your free account with Lifesize. And if you prefer to work from home due to Coronavirus but don’t know how to ask permission, here’s how to create your email request.

Three steps to creating a work-from-home email request

The last thing the company wants is an outbreak of influenza taking out the entire sales staff. So, when you feel that tickle in the back of your throat and your temperature starts to register triple digits in degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to draft that work-from-home email. Here are a few tips and a sample letter to get you started:

Do it early

Most office viruses can be spread before your symptoms peak and well after you’re feeling better. If you feel contagious, stay home and take it easy. Nap when you’re tired and work when you’re feeling up to it. Check out these six common office illnesses and their contagious periods to learn more about when you should just stay home.

Inform your core group

A note to your supervisor is useful for Human Resources’ records, but extending the message to colleagues you work with day in and day out allows you to set the expectation that work coming from your end may be delayed.

Make it simple

Save the graphic details and stick to providing contact details and noting next steps your group can take to cover you while you’re out.

Sample work-from-home email template

Here’s an example work-from-home email template:

Subject line: Work from home request

I’m starting to show some signs that I’m coming down with ________________. If it is what I think it is, I want to keep it out of the office, so I’ll be working from home for the next few days. I’ll still be reachable by email, and you can always call me on Lifesize if you need me.

Thank you for processing my request,

For when you need to focus sample work-from-home email template

Here’s a more generic email template for you to use for when you’d like to some more focused work-from-home time:

I’m going to go heads down on this project and work from home to really focus. Feel free to reach out if you need anything from me. I’ll be online and available!

4 examples of when it’s appropriate to work from home

Thankfully, home-based work is becoming more common due to the nature of cloud-connected teams and the ability for online work to be done from anywhere for industries like education, health care and work from home call centers. The number of telecommuting remote workers has increased by 115% in the last decade and more than half of workers have conducted video calls for work from their homes at least once. Here are a few scenarios where you should consider turning your home or apartment into your home office for the day to help reduce the spread of the office flu:

1. You’re coughing, sneezing or contagious in any way

The pressure to always be in the office can be overwhelming, resulting in 9 out of 10 workers admitting to coming to work with cold or flu-like symptoms. But in reality, most employers would rather you take a sick day than feel obligated to bring your illness into the office. The trick is knowing the common contagious periods for illnesses so you can justify when to work from home when you’re not so sick that you can’t work.

2. Everyone around you is sick

Flu season can have a snowball effect around the office — once one person gets a slight cough and body ache, everyone starts getting a cough and body ache. Don’t risk catching what your coworkers have! If your work-from-home/remote work policy allows, call in, work from home and save yourself the sick day downtime. Just because your team members are sick doesn’t mean you have to suffer too!

3. You have a family matter to attend to

Maybe this time around your kids or spouse is sick instead of you. Having to juggle being there for your family and being available for your team at work is something we all deal with. Do your company a favor by preventing the spread of germs floating around the office — video conferencing technology makes being able to take your calls from home and still taking care of your family easy.

4. You need a break

Presenteeism is a feeling of obligation to come to work even if you aren’t fully functioning — whether due to an illness, injury or just plain exhaustion. If you need a break, many employees find it beneficial to take advantage of work-from-home days to focus on projects without getting distracted by impromptu meetings or side conversations. Some employees even feel they are being more productive at home than at the office.

Work-from-home FAQs

What are the advantages of working from home?

Employees cite improved work–life balance, flexibility and the reduction of travel/commute time as advantages of working from home, and according to a recent survey, 80% of employees want to work from home at least part time.

How do you negotiate working from home?

By doing your research, having a clear plan on how you would go about working remotely and asking your supervisor in person, you can position yourself for success. After you do get the okay to work from home, make sure to do your best in building trust and reliability during those first few days by overcommunicating, being flexible and proactive, and being more visible. You’re setting an example for how working from home can be a success for your company, so make sure you do your best to make a lasting impression!

What is the best video conferencing solution for a home office?

The camera built into your laptop or phone can make and receive calls just fine, but if you’re a full-time work-from-home employee, you might be interested in setting up a dedicated video conferencing system to help build out a more productive home office. Check out our full post for three video conferencing solutions for your home office.

Work from Home with Lifesize Video Conferencing

For too long, businesses have settled for “good enough” video conferencing. We’re here to let you know that you deserve much better. Your video conferencing solution at work shouldn’t be worse than the 10-year-old backup TV you keep in your spare bedroom. Video at 720p and compressed audio aren’t good enough — not for your business, not for your first impression with clients and not for your mission-critical relationships. Lifesize was the first to HD more than a decade ago, and we’re the only solution for 4K video and full-motion 4K content sharing.

Schedule an interactive Lifesize demo to learn how video conferencing technology can help you stay connected even when you need to work from home.

How to ask to work from home

How to ask to work from home

Let’s be honest, the news cycle isn’t the greatest right now. We’re all dealing with stressful daily updates on the spread of the Coronavirus.

To mitigate, companies around the world are implementing work from home policies to help employees avoid catching or spreading illnesses. In fact, our recent study showed that 91% of US employees believe that working from home can help decrease the spread of illness, and 89% are willing to work from home to avoid getting sick.

How to ask to work from home

As more states and countries are relaxing their isolation rules, many businesses are beginning the transition back to the office. This can prove to be a hardship for many with immunodeficiencies, children to watch over while working remotely, or simple safety concerns.

But if you’re waiting to get the go-ahead to work from home, try these email templates to start the conversation with your manager or leadership team. Simply copy and paste them and fill in your own details where necessary.

We’ve provided a few variations to reflect your needs:

How to ask to work from home

“Request to work from home” [with an explanation]

Use this template to ask for the ability to work from home, backed by resources on why going remote is a good thing for your company.

I’d like to request the ability to work from home while local officials assess the ongoing situation with Coronavirus. Given how quickly the virus is spreading, I believe going remote is the right thing to do to help the larger community.

Experts recommend social distancing to help stop the spread of the disease. As a result, companies like Google, Amazon, and Twitter have all asked employees to work from home. Since we have a communication and collaboration tool that helps us work together even when we’re apart, I believe our team will stay just as productive while at home.

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

“Request to work from home” [with suggestions on technology to implement]

Use this template if your company hasn’t invested in a communication and collaboration tool like Flock (i.e., a tool that enables instant messaging, videoconferencing, file sharing, and collaboration).

I’d like to request the ability to work from home while local officials assess the ongoing situation with Coronavirus. Given how quickly the virus is spreading, I believe going remote is the right thing to do to help the larger community.

To keep our teams productive while working outside of the office, I’d suggest considering a tool like Flock or Slack. A communication and collaboration tool allows us to send direct messages, group messages, videoconference and screen share, share files, and status updates so that we can work together even when we’re apart. With one of these tools in place, I believe our team will stay productive while at home.

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

“Request to work from home as a 1-day test” [For companies skeptical about work from home]

Some companies have not really considered work from home options, so a long term telecommuting scenario may feel impossible. Use this template to ease them into the idea of working from home. Regardless of the news cycle, it’s always a good idea to stress test a business’ systems and processes.

In light of recent news about how many companies are asking employees to work from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I’d like to suggest having our team test out working from home for a day.

I understand we’re not sure if we can sustain a long term work from home scenario, so this one-day experiment could help us stress test our systems just in case. I did some research and found a guide on how we could run the day, if it’s helpful.

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

“Request to work from home for health reasons” [For the immunocompromised]

Some people can’t risk waiting to get the green light to work from home. For those who are immunocompromised, or live with family members who are at greater risk, use this to request work from home status. Share as much or little as you want about your health–these templates are meant to be customized!

I’d like to request the ability to work from home for personal health reasons. Given how quickly the Coronavirus is spreading and the potential risk it poses to immunocompromised people, I believe I / my family could be at greater risk for [X reasons].

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any concerns or if I should reach out to someone in HR.

“Request to work from home due to illness” [For when you’re feeling sick or have a sick family member]

Look, if you’re feeling sick, your manager should have no problem with you working from home! Use this template to request to work from home if you’re not feeling well or to care for a sick loved one.

I’d like to request the ability to work from home because I’m not feeling well / I have a sick family member. I want to make sure I stay away from the rest of the team in case I’m contagious.

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any concerns or if I should reach out to someone in HR.

Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to work from home, but we hope these templates help you broach the topic with your manager.

Resources for working from home during Coronavirus

If you’re looking for more resources to help your leadership team think strategically about their response to the Coronavirus pandemic, check out these resources.

  • Coronavirus Employee Resource Template For Businesses. This is a thorough template for businesses outlining how we’re responding to the outbreak, guidance on how to prevent the spread of illness, official work from home and travel policies, and HR contacts for employees to reach out to.
  • How to Test a Work From Home Day with Your Team: A Guide for Managers. This guide walks through a test work from home day to get your team prepared for the possibility of long term remote work.
  • Set your remote team up for success by creating an effective remote work policy. This post outlines how to create a remote work policy for your business.
  • How managers keep their remote teams productive. A guide for managers to promote productivity as their team works from home.

How to ask to work from home

“This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

If you fight traffic every day getting to the office, only to spend 8 hours in a gray cubicle, how does this sound… I just got off a call with a client, and I’m in sweats and a t-shirt. At 1:43 pm.

I had always heard the term work-life balance, but it never sunk in until suddenly I was setting my alarm for an hour later.

I was hitting the gas station once a week instead of every other day.

And as I watched my kids on the soccer field, or worked out at the gym at 4:30, I’d think of how I used to be racing home about now.

How to ask to work from home

It took a little convincing in my case, but once my manager agreed to try it, I was able to show her that my productivity could actually go up working from home.

So if you’re tired of the commuting grind, here are four keys to pitching the idea that’ll give you the best shot at getting approved.

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance?

Even if your office hasn’t offered work from home opportunities yet, don’t assume it’s impossible.

As long as your job isn’t entirely customer facing – whatever part that’s done electronically or on a phone, can be done from home.

Whether you work in a office of two thousand people, or you’re one of three in a construction trailer, there’s only one extra layer of security needed to work from home.

Your office would need to setup a VPN or virtual private network connection. This is something any IT department is familiar with. It’s so common, that many people setup VPN’s at home for their own use.

The VPN just adds a layer of security, so you can log into their network from an external location instead of inside the office. All it means to you, is one extra ID and password.

Companies Have Incentives to Offer WAH Arrangements

Since so many companies offer some form of work at home arrangement now, those that don’t, know their chances of retaining good employees are shrinking each year.

The cost of office space, along with heat, electricity, furniture and security rise every year, so it’s more cost efficient to lease a smaller space. Instead of dedicated desk space for every employee, it’s cheaper to outfit the office with at least some commuter desks.

There’s a good chance also, that companies may get work from home incentives from the state to help reduce carbon emissions.

How to ask to work from home

Many organizations are flexible when it comes to working from home when you’re feeling sick. In fact, many companies encourage you to take a sick day or a remote work day when you’re feeling under the weather.

If your team is already working from home, you can connect with your team virtually by claiming your free account with Lifesize. And if you prefer to work from home due to Coronavirus but don’t know how to ask permission, here’s how to create your email request.

Three steps to creating a work-from-home email request

The last thing the company wants is an outbreak of influenza taking out the entire sales staff. So, when you feel that tickle in the back of your throat and your temperature starts to register triple digits in degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to draft that work-from-home email. Here are a few tips and a sample letter to get you started:

Do it early

Most office viruses can be spread before your symptoms peak and well after you’re feeling better. If you feel contagious, stay home and take it easy. Nap when you’re tired and work when you’re feeling up to it. Check out these six common office illnesses and their contagious periods to learn more about when you should just stay home.

Inform your core group

A note to your supervisor is useful for Human Resources’ records, but extending the message to colleagues you work with day in and day out allows you to set the expectation that work coming from your end may be delayed.

Make it simple

Save the graphic details and stick to providing contact details and noting next steps your group can take to cover you while you’re out.

Sample work-from-home email template

Here’s an example work-from-home email template:

Subject line: Work from home request

I’m starting to show some signs that I’m coming down with ________________. If it is what I think it is, I want to keep it out of the office, so I’ll be working from home for the next few days. I’ll still be reachable by email, and you can always call me on Lifesize if you need me.

Thank you for processing my request,

For when you need to focus sample work-from-home email template

Here’s a more generic email template for you to use for when you’d like to some more focused work-from-home time:

I’m going to go heads down on this project and work from home to really focus. Feel free to reach out if you need anything from me. I’ll be online and available!

4 examples of when it’s appropriate to work from home

Thankfully, home-based work is becoming more common due to the nature of cloud-connected teams and the ability for online work to be done from anywhere for industries like education, health care and work from home call centers. The number of telecommuting remote workers has increased by 115% in the last decade and more than half of workers have conducted video calls for work from their homes at least once. Here are a few scenarios where you should consider turning your home or apartment into your home office for the day to help reduce the spread of the office flu:

1. You’re coughing, sneezing or contagious in any way

The pressure to always be in the office can be overwhelming, resulting in 9 out of 10 workers admitting to coming to work with cold or flu-like symptoms. But in reality, most employers would rather you take a sick day than feel obligated to bring your illness into the office. The trick is knowing the common contagious periods for illnesses so you can justify when to work from home when you’re not so sick that you can’t work.

2. Everyone around you is sick

Flu season can have a snowball effect around the office — once one person gets a slight cough and body ache, everyone starts getting a cough and body ache. Don’t risk catching what your coworkers have! If your work-from-home/remote work policy allows, call in, work from home and save yourself the sick day downtime. Just because your team members are sick doesn’t mean you have to suffer too!

3. You have a family matter to attend to

Maybe this time around your kids or spouse is sick instead of you. Having to juggle being there for your family and being available for your team at work is something we all deal with. Do your company a favor by preventing the spread of germs floating around the office — video conferencing technology makes being able to take your calls from home and still taking care of your family easy.

4. You need a break

Presenteeism is a feeling of obligation to come to work even if you aren’t fully functioning — whether due to an illness, injury or just plain exhaustion. If you need a break, many employees find it beneficial to take advantage of work-from-home days to focus on projects without getting distracted by impromptu meetings or side conversations. Some employees even feel they are being more productive at home than at the office.

Work-from-home FAQs

What are the advantages of working from home?

Employees cite improved work–life balance, flexibility and the reduction of travel/commute time as advantages of working from home, and according to a recent survey, 80% of employees want to work from home at least part time.

How do you negotiate working from home?

By doing your research, having a clear plan on how you would go about working remotely and asking your supervisor in person, you can position yourself for success. After you do get the okay to work from home, make sure to do your best in building trust and reliability during those first few days by overcommunicating, being flexible and proactive, and being more visible. You’re setting an example for how working from home can be a success for your company, so make sure you do your best to make a lasting impression!

What is the best video conferencing solution for a home office?

The camera built into your laptop or phone can make and receive calls just fine, but if you’re a full-time work-from-home employee, you might be interested in setting up a dedicated video conferencing system to help build out a more productive home office. Check out our full post for three video conferencing solutions for your home office.

Work from Home with Lifesize Video Conferencing

For too long, businesses have settled for “good enough” video conferencing. We’re here to let you know that you deserve much better. Your video conferencing solution at work shouldn’t be worse than the 10-year-old backup TV you keep in your spare bedroom. Video at 720p and compressed audio aren’t good enough — not for your business, not for your first impression with clients and not for your mission-critical relationships. Lifesize was the first to HD more than a decade ago, and we’re the only solution for 4K video and full-motion 4K content sharing.

Schedule an interactive Lifesize demo to learn how video conferencing technology can help you stay connected even when you need to work from home.

How to ask to work from home

How to ask to work from home

Let’s be honest, the news cycle isn’t the greatest right now. We’re all dealing with stressful daily updates on the spread of the Coronavirus.

To mitigate, companies around the world are implementing work from home policies to help employees avoid catching or spreading illnesses. In fact, our recent study showed that 91% of US employees believe that working from home can help decrease the spread of illness, and 89% are willing to work from home to avoid getting sick.

How to ask to work from home

As more states and countries are relaxing their isolation rules, many businesses are beginning the transition back to the office. This can prove to be a hardship for many with immunodeficiencies, children to watch over while working remotely, or simple safety concerns.

But if you’re waiting to get the go-ahead to work from home, try these email templates to start the conversation with your manager or leadership team. Simply copy and paste them and fill in your own details where necessary.

We’ve provided a few variations to reflect your needs:

How to ask to work from home

“Request to work from home” [with an explanation]

Use this template to ask for the ability to work from home, backed by resources on why going remote is a good thing for your company.

I’d like to request the ability to work from home while local officials assess the ongoing situation with Coronavirus. Given how quickly the virus is spreading, I believe going remote is the right thing to do to help the larger community.

Experts recommend social distancing to help stop the spread of the disease. As a result, companies like Google, Amazon, and Twitter have all asked employees to work from home. Since we have a communication and collaboration tool that helps us work together even when we’re apart, I believe our team will stay just as productive while at home.

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

“Request to work from home” [with suggestions on technology to implement]

Use this template if your company hasn’t invested in a communication and collaboration tool like Flock (i.e., a tool that enables instant messaging, videoconferencing, file sharing, and collaboration).

I’d like to request the ability to work from home while local officials assess the ongoing situation with Coronavirus. Given how quickly the virus is spreading, I believe going remote is the right thing to do to help the larger community.

To keep our teams productive while working outside of the office, I’d suggest considering a tool like Flock or Slack. A communication and collaboration tool allows us to send direct messages, group messages, videoconference and screen share, share files, and status updates so that we can work together even when we’re apart. With one of these tools in place, I believe our team will stay productive while at home.

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

“Request to work from home as a 1-day test” [For companies skeptical about work from home]

Some companies have not really considered work from home options, so a long term telecommuting scenario may feel impossible. Use this template to ease them into the idea of working from home. Regardless of the news cycle, it’s always a good idea to stress test a business’ systems and processes.

In light of recent news about how many companies are asking employees to work from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I’d like to suggest having our team test out working from home for a day.

I understand we’re not sure if we can sustain a long term work from home scenario, so this one-day experiment could help us stress test our systems just in case. I did some research and found a guide on how we could run the day, if it’s helpful.

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

“Request to work from home for health reasons” [For the immunocompromised]

Some people can’t risk waiting to get the green light to work from home. For those who are immunocompromised, or live with family members who are at greater risk, use this to request work from home status. Share as much or little as you want about your health–these templates are meant to be customized!

I’d like to request the ability to work from home for personal health reasons. Given how quickly the Coronavirus is spreading and the potential risk it poses to immunocompromised people, I believe I / my family could be at greater risk for [X reasons].

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any concerns or if I should reach out to someone in HR.

“Request to work from home due to illness” [For when you’re feeling sick or have a sick family member]

Look, if you’re feeling sick, your manager should have no problem with you working from home! Use this template to request to work from home if you’re not feeling well or to care for a sick loved one.

I’d like to request the ability to work from home because I’m not feeling well / I have a sick family member. I want to make sure I stay away from the rest of the team in case I’m contagious.

Thanks for considering this request, and let me know if you have any concerns or if I should reach out to someone in HR.

Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to work from home, but we hope these templates help you broach the topic with your manager.

Resources for working from home during Coronavirus

If you’re looking for more resources to help your leadership team think strategically about their response to the Coronavirus pandemic, check out these resources.

  • Coronavirus Employee Resource Template For Businesses. This is a thorough template for businesses outlining how we’re responding to the outbreak, guidance on how to prevent the spread of illness, official work from home and travel policies, and HR contacts for employees to reach out to.
  • How to Test a Work From Home Day with Your Team: A Guide for Managers. This guide walks through a test work from home day to get your team prepared for the possibility of long term remote work.
  • Set your remote team up for success by creating an effective remote work policy. This post outlines how to create a remote work policy for your business.
  • How managers keep their remote teams productive. A guide for managers to promote productivity as their team works from home.