You’re a super star staffer. You arrive to work on time each day. You complete your assignments on time. You get along (for the most part) with your coworkers, and you’ve even been known to burn the midnight oil in order to get the job done. So when some changes occur in your personal life and you ask your boss for some work flexibility, you automatically assume that your boss will grant your work-from-home request.
But instead, you get a big fat “No.”
Does this mean that you’re not a good employee? No. Does this mean that you should pack it up and start looking for a new job? Not necessarily. What it means is that you need to rethink your plan. Here’s what to do to turn that “no” into a “yes”.
Do maintain your professionalism.
After you receive a rejection, you might be tempted to perform less as a worker. Suddenly, you’re clocking in at work a good 45 minutes later than you should be. Your work now has some sloppy mistakes in it. You take longer lunches and have a lousy attitude. But it’s important to maintain your professionalism, even if you get a negative answer. After all, you don’t want to sully everything you’ve worked so hard for simply because your employer is hesitant to allow you to work from home. Instead, keep working as hard (or even harder) in your job. That way, if you approach your boss again, she can’t reject you again due to your poor work habits.
Don’t take it personally.
It’s hard not to take your boss’ rejection of your work-from-home request as a personal affront. Thing is, you might never know why your boss turned down your request. It might be that he’s concerned about having to allow your entire team telecommute, too. Or your company’s IT infrastructure might not be equipped to handle remote work—yet. Just keep in mind that the reason for the rejection might not be a reflection of you and your work.
Do research your company’s remote work policy.
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to find out your company’s overall stance on work flexibility. Some companies shout it from the rooftops, while others have a policy in place that they rarely practice. Others, unfortunately, only offer it to executive-level employees. Talk to HR to find out what the real scoop is on the company’s flexible work policy. That way, if you decide to bring up the topic again, you can go into your meeting armed with this info, potentially making it harder for your boss to say no again.
Do show your boss that you can work from home anyway.
Even if your boss turns down your request, that doesn’t mean that you can’t work from home anyway. How? Well, as we saw this winter, depending on where you live, your area might be hit with snowstorms and ice-covered roads, making getting into the office an impossibility. But instead of calling in because you can’t commute, work from home anyway. This will show your boss that you’re able to work remotely, keep up your productivity, and work with the current tech tools that your company offers. This can be an ace in your pocket should you decide to ask for flex in the future.
Don’t give up.
It’s easy to give up on your work-from-home dreams if you’ve already been given a negative answer. Thing is, you shouldn’t. Wait a little while, and then resubmit your request. Before you go into the meeting, though, go through every aspect of your job to determine what can be done from home—and what might only be accomplished in an office. Make sure your request focuses on the business benefits of flex, rather than your personal needs. And above all, be flexible yourself. Offer to work remotely just one day a week to start, so you and your boss both have time to get used to the transition, and take it from there. You might be able to build up gradually to the remote work schedule that you always wanted.
Don’t despair if your boss turns down your work-from-home request. A “no” might just be a “no” for right now.
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