The unwritten rules of asking for time off when you work remotely

By next year, it’s expected that nearly half of all Americans will work from home.

With more and more jobs providing the option to work remotely or have flexible hours, you may already have a role where you can work anywhere with Wi-Fi.
So, for some, there is a temptation not to mention that instead of your regular coffee shop, you’ll be logging on from a Starbucks a few states away next week. Does your boss need to know you’ll be out of town for a wedding? Or, that you need to spend the morning getting your car inspected? If you could complete the rest of your work later that evening, does it really matter?

Well, it can. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Remember that flexible doesn’t mean anything goes

“It doesn’t matter where or when I work, so long as I meet my deadlines,” said some employees, at some workplaces. But other workplaces aren’t so lenient. Maybe you only work from home one day a week, and while you get the perks of dressing down and skipping rush-hour traffic, your boss wants you to know work from home isn’t code for “run a bunch of errands and fit some work in.”

Does your company have written rules on working from home? Or perhaps your manager or someone in HR made expectations clear during the interview process or as you implemented your flex work arrangement? Do they specify that you need to work at a primary location (like a home office) or must be available during business hours Eastern Standard Time?

Trust is integral to successful remote work arrangements. One of the quickest ways to lose your boss’ trust — and the ability to work from home — is to try and circumvent your office’s protocol. If you’re asked to check in (or come in) and you’re unavailable for the few hours that you were going to make up later that night, you’ll have a difficult conversation ahead of you.

Oh, and if you do work for one of those companies (or supervisors) who’s pretty laid back, be sure to earn that leniency by getting your work done. I’ve found myself on a multi-hour car trip a handful of mornings, and I always email my boss that I’ll be slower to respond to email those days — and working later those evenings. This open communication reinforces trust (and saves me from ever looking like I ignored an urgent email).

2. Consider a workcation for multi-day trips

Are you familiar with the term workcation? No, I’m not suggesting that you should spend your hard-earned time off working. If you want to plan a vacation away from work, by all means, do so. But in certain instances — when you’ll be working, but would like to do so from a different place — a workcation can be the perfect solution.

Essentially, you ask your manager if you can work — just from a completely different location. In my experience, the hours may shift a bit, too, but the benefits outweigh some emails sent at 5 a.m. or 11 p.m.

This kind of trip can be advantageous because you don’t have to choose. You can stay current on emails and projects and enjoy a different locale, especially during all of the other hours in the day. Just be sure to ask (rather than tell) your boss and stick to the hours and timetables you agree to in advance.

Working from home already reinterprets the traditional notion of work and takes it out of the workplace. Just be sure you’re not taking too many liberties with preexisting expectations by following the rules above.

By Sara McCord  |  The Muse



item Career: The unwritten rules of asking for time off when you work remotely
The unwritten rules of asking for time off when you work remotely Career
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