I have it in my head that working to live or living to work is pretty much the worst thing in the world. I’ve recently found myself flirting with this trend and have made moves to avert it. About a year ago I proposed to my boss, a full time, work at home schedule. He said he was all for it but that we should start with 1 or 2 days per week. Not my 5 days but better than none I thought. This did 2 things; allowed me to work on my own time and avoided wasting my day sitting in an office simply because somebody came up with the arbitrary 9-5 schedule. Since then, I’ve persuaded them to let me work at home full time when I’m in town (I travel frequently for my job) which has made my life much better.
My technique for allowing myself to work at home isn’t revolutionary. Probably the best advice I can give is to be confident in your requests. Act like you there isn’t an option for your company to say no and if they do, you’ll look elsewhere for employment. This might be slightly easier for somebody in my shoes (ie. not married, no kids, no mortgage and no real tie downs) but it’s worth a shot. Here’s how I approached my company.
1. Before going to your boss, make sure you’re getting your work done at the office. Keep a diary of your daily tasks, in particular, keep track of what work you do on your computer that you could have done from home. Also record any necessary interaction you have with other employees at the office. Continue this for 2 weeks. It’ll seem like a long two weeks but trust me, having proof when you go to the boss man will go a long way.
2. Summarize your findings and put together a short letter/report to bring to your meeting
3. Schedule some time with your boss or HR department to “discuss your current position”
4. Confidently explain your request. Make sure you practice what you are going to say. Write it out and have a friend look it over. You should be speaking as though this move will not only benefit you but also the company. These benefits will vary depending on your particular circumstances but things like being happier doing your job, more flexible schedule would be your perks and lower company overhead and increased productivity would be your company’s.
5. Start small, ask them for a trial period of 1 or 2 days per week of working from home. If it doesn’t work out, you can go back to your original work agreement. If you’d like, mention that if it works out, you might like to extend your at home to 3 or 4 days per week. Emphasize that you will always be available to come in to the office should it be required (for meetings etc)
My point is that you should live life to its fullest and stop worrying about a career path. Take a pay cut for some extra free time to enjoy life. Don’t fall into the 9-5 trap if you can help it (and you almost always can).