How to Get Your Boss to Let You Work From Home

Q: Dear CC: I want to ask my boss if I can work from home, but is that career suicide?

A: As someone far wiser (and far randier) than CC put it, it depends on what the meaning of the word is is. If you're a road warrior - in sales, for instance, or software development - then your advancement will depend more on what you're bringing in or turning out and less on face time. If your field is collaborative, then your rise could be hindered without the team-building, brainstorming, kismet, or kiss-ass moments office life provides. But a career is rarely a steady, steep incline. Your life changes, your role changes, and you can get back to being in the office full-time when you're ready, if both you and your company are savvy.

Q: Do I have to accept a lower salary if I want to work at home part of the time?

Keep any talk of a pay cut or reduced benefits off the table unless you'll be working fewer hours. Just because you'll be researching hedge funds in your sweatpants doesn't mean you won't do it as brilliantly as before.

Q: How do I make sure the bosses know I'm working and not hitting the Barneys Warehouse sale?

Keep a constant dialogue with home base. And be flexible - if Thursday is your day to work at home but a big meeting has been called, try to attend in person. Unforeseen issues are going to arise; it's your job to figure out how to make the deal work for the company first, you second.

Q: I'm a new boss, and two people on my team have asked to work at home one day a week. Should I allow it?

Tiffany leaves early every other Wednesday and Jessika is out on Thursdays (never mind that Bob is stoned all day most Fridays). It can be torturous to juggle everyone's schedule, but this is why they pay you the big bucks. Each case should be handled on its merits, and arrangements made on a trial basis, with you reserving the right to scrap the deal if necessary.

Photo by Martin Adolfsson

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