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I work in a company that allows to work from home 20% of the time. Currently I do it once a month (on average), because my manager prefers when everyone is in the office (it's easier to communicate with colleagues then). Asking to work from home usually requires providing a good reason, e.g. a private appointment in the middle of the day, expecting a big package, a plumber coming to repair the sink or something similar. I tried asking for home office a few times without providing a reason, and my manager didn't explicitly reject the requests, but he wasn't very happy with it.

I enjoy working from home for many reasons: my place looks way nicer than the office, I can do sport during the lunch break, I can start and finish working earlier, because I don't need to travel to work etc. There are days when I have no meetings and a lot of work to do that doesn't require talking with colleagues. So I would like to do home office a bit more often (maybe 3-4 days a month), but I'm afraid to ask my manager if I can work from home just because I would like to.

How can I discuss it with him? I don't want to give him the impression that I want to abuse this possibility and get less work done, or that I don't like collaborating with colleagues, or whatever his concerns are.

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    "I work in a company that allows to work from home 20% of the time" Is this written into your contract? If it is, then your contract is a good enough reason for the ~6 days a month. – sf02 May 28 at 20:10
  • @sf02 Yes, it's in my contract, but I don't want to just tell my manager that I want to do home office because it's in my contract and I have rights to do so. Good relationship with him is more important to me that a few days of working from home. – lawful_neutral May 28 at 20:16
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So I would like to do home office a bit more often

I work in a company that allows to work from home 20% of the time.

So the odds are in your favor... you would just ask what is already available.

but I'm afraid to ask my manager if I can work from home just because I would like to

There is no extraordinary reason needed to justify some home office, especially if it is an existing option already. It's no secret that it's more convenient for people - it's actually the point. There is no benefit in exhausting your employees more than necessary.

How can I discuss it with him?

Ask him if it's ok for you to work more from home. If he says 'no', object that others do as well, and even more than you are asking for (if that's the case). If he persists, then accept it.

If he asks for a reason, tell him it saves you a lot of time and energy. If you believe it increases your productivity (in the short-term or long-term), tell him. Consider asking what reasons others have for taking home office.

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    I accepted this answer, although the other one has more votes (and it's pretty good), because it focuses more on benefits instead of concerns and issues. – lawful_neutral May 30 at 18:54
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Suggest to him on a temporary basis, with clear guidelines for how he can tell that you are more productive.

Hey Boss, I feel that on days that I have no meetings, and really need to do some head-down work, that I am more productive when working from home. I know that you prefer us to be here at work. Could we try, perhaps just for a month or so, for me to work from home one day a week? I would keep you updated on my status, and you can check to see if I am actually getting a bit more done. If you see the increased productivity, and no team communication issues or other problems pop up, then I'd like to talk about continuing the experiment past a month. But if there are issues with my work, then of course I'd be willing to work here, where you can keep closer tabs.

The wording there isn't great, but essentially

  • Make it for a limited time, at least to start
  • Make sure your productivity is clearly seen
  • Make sure communication is still happening well

Then, if there are no problems at the end of the limited time, his excuses for why it's not a good idea have less standing. And he'll also perhaps be more comfortable with it, once he sees it working. This way also, he can see if there isn't the productivity gain, it's fine to pull you (or others) back to the office, so if (when) he extends it to your teammates, it's not a right. It's still a privilege. Leave the ownership and control in his hands. Help him see that he still has the ownership and control, even with you not physically there.

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