How to start working remotely

If you have a desk job, it’s probably crossed your mind at least at some point: You could technically do your job from anywhere. Instead, you’re doing the daily commute and sitting at a desk at your office for kicks — or, at least, it can feel that way. Learn how to start working remotely now.

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That naturally leads to a major question: Can you work remotely? And, if so, how can you actually make it happen?

Every job and every situation is slightly different, but there are some important steps to take if you want to make your existing job remote. Keep the following in mind:

1. Come up with an honest list of what your job involves

Sure, you and your boss know what your job is, but writing down exactly what you do on a daily basis and what is expected of you can help you figure out upfront if working remotely is even possible for you. If you spend the vast majority of your time behind your computer, this is probably a good option for you. But if you’re required to be in a lot of face-to-face meetings or to meet with clients on the premises, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to work remotely in this particular job.

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2. Find out if anyone else is working remotely

There’s power in numbers and, while you can definitely be the first one to go this route, it definitely helps your cause if someone else has already been the trailblazer. If there are other people in your organization who work remotely, find out what they do, how senior they are, and who OKed their remote work.Also, try to suss out how well their remote work is received in the office. If it’s not really seen as a big deal, it could definitely bode well for you.

3. See what similar companies are doing

Your boss wants to work hard to retain their staff, and that usually means keeping up with the competition. If similar companies are allowing their staff to work remotely but yours isn’t, take note.

4. Check out the company handbook

Is there anything in there that says that people can’t work remotely? It’s also important to look for vague rules that can imply this. If not, keep moving forward.

5. Think of the reasons why your boss shouldn’t allow you to work remotely — and come up with answers

In a perfect world, you’d ask to work remotely and your boss would immediately be on-board. But odds are, it’s going to take a little more thought and work. So, be prepared to have answers to all the reasons your boss will think of for why they shouldn’t let you work remotely, and then have smart answers for why you should.

By the way, there are a bunch of studies out there that argue in favor of remote work, finding that remote workers are happier, healthier, and more productive than their office-bound counterparts. Also, your boss is always interested in saving the company money, so if you can figure out how you working remotely will do just that, you’ll definitely have a leg up.

6. Figure out what you actually want

Do you want to work remotely all the time or just for certain periods of time? Do you want to have more flexible hours where you’re available or will you keep the same hours? Are you willing to give up certain things, like company health insurance coverage? What about changing your status from being a full-time staff member to being an independent contractor (which is cheaper for the company)? It’s important to know this before you go in.

7. Approach your boss

Set up a meeting and come armed with a plan on how you’ll approach this. Just know that they’re probably not going to be okay with you going 100 percent remote right away. Instead, they may be okay with testing the waters by having you work remotely a few days a week and then reevaluating at a set point down the road.

If they give you the green light, make sure you stick with the guidelines you set and consistently deliver. That will set you up for success if you decide you want to push to go full-time remote in the future, or to become a digital nomad.

If your boss didn’t go for it, handle it with grace…and then see what other options are out there. Plenty of companies are now hiring remote workers, letting their existing workers go remote, or being remote-only. The odds are pretty high you can find something in your field that’s a better fit for your remote lifestyle dreams.

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