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I've been at my current employer for just about 2 weeks shy of 1 year. At first, I was in the office 5 days per week but as winter rolled around many of us started working from home with the bad weather. Spring and summer came and most of us kept with the new-found perk of working from home. Most of my team usually only goes into the office once, maybe twice per week.

We usually just go in just for the sake of physically seeing each other, or if we have a meeting to attend. The latter is less important because our actual boss, and more senior half of our team works in a completely different state. So any meetings we have are just updates about our building, or status reports to a general manager for our department but this person is in no way responsible for delegating tasks to us or anything.

Lately, I've been growing less content with where I live in regards to the particular region and quite frankly I miss all my old friends and family. Moving here was sort of a "social experiment" to try and move away from home and what not. So, how can I bring this up with my employer?

For what it's worth, I'm a contract employee (most of us are, actually) on a rolling 6-month contract and I recently just got another extension. My actual boss has let me travel home for a week on two separate occasions to work remotely, already.

TL;DR I work from home 3 or 4 days per week and have no significant reason to go into the office. How can I, as a contract employee, try to discuss the option of permanently working remotely and moving ~500 miles back home?

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    Does this question help at all? workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/195/… – yochannah Sep 8 '14 at 20:28
  • @yochannah Some of it seems relevant, but kind of a 'different' situation since I'd like to be working very far from the office. Just adds an extra layer on top of the situation :/ – sab669 Sep 8 '14 at 20:37
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How can I, as a contract employee, try to discuss the option of permanently working remotely and moving ~500 miles back home?

There are no real options here. There's only one way - simply talk with your manager and ask if you can permanently work remotely.

Find a quiet time to talk individually with your manager. Explain your circumstances, and ask for what you want.

If your work has been great so far, if you have built up sufficient trust over the past year, and if company guidelines/practices permit this arrangement, then your manager will likely say "Yes". Having already worked remotely 3-4 days per week gives you a demonstrable remote work history to help your manager decide.

What are your options anyway? Would you decide not to move home, if your current manager required you to be in the office 1-2 days per week? Or would you just find a new contract either nearer to your home, or where you were permitted to work remotely on a more permanent basis?

  • I'd probably stick where I am until something changes. It's really difficult for me to interview back home as a contract employee because I'd need to take time off which means I don't get paid :/ – sab669 Sep 8 '14 at 22:37
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    I did just this and it worked out wonderfully BTW. I actually worked from my RV for 5 months while traveling with my family to different parts of the country to see where we might want to settle down. The best part was when we went west and the time zone difference allowed me to work early and then spend more prime time with the family. – Bill Leeper Sep 8 '14 at 23:23
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I've seen experienced employees go remote several times in the past. Different companies have different policies on it, but basically a discussion with the boss involves "I need to move to location X. I want to continue to work at this company, but to do so I will need to become a remote worker. Would that be possible?" Usually it's good if you've got a real reason you need to move (spouse gets a new job or goes to school is common). The problem is if they say "no" then you've got to be ready to find another job. You can try a lighter touch just to see if it's possible without risking your job, but this is the pattern I've seen work.

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    Yea, I'm just afraid that "I like working here but I'm unhappy living here" is kind of a dumb reason. Suppose there's no harm in finding out, and as you said, worst comes to worst just look for a new job. – sab669 Sep 8 '14 at 20:46
  • Yeah, in the end, you're forcing the company into a potentially difficult situation and decision, and they may decide to cut you loose to avoid it. If you can get them to sympathize with your situation you stand a better chance of getting their agreement. – Jared Sep 8 '14 at 20:55
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    A key difference is the asker already works remotely 3-4 days a week though.. – enderland Sep 8 '14 at 20:57
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    @sab669 - but you have to remember that just because it's not physically very different working from another state vs. working from home 3-4 days per week, doesn't mean it's not politically, and policy-wise very different. Of course physical should matter more, but it often doesn't. I hope you have a boss you can trust with this. – Jared Sep 8 '14 at 21:13
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    @sab669 - You'll be happier living closer to friends and family. That's not a dumb reason to move. – user8365 Sep 9 '14 at 11:40
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You may want to be careful if they feel you're giving an ultimatum: Let me move far away and work remotely or I'll quit. I've done this before. I told them I was moving, my boss didn't want to have to replace me, so I asked them to consider letting me work remotely. The biggest concern the company had was how long it would take before I found another job. They made me sign a contract to finish the year, and here I was worried they would soon want to get rid of me. Three years later, I'm still working for them.

Depending on your situation, they may feel there are some extra expenses if they need you to fly back. There have been situations where I had to take a pay cut to work remotely because of this.

Talk to your boss and listen carefully to his concerns or what he thinks his supervisor's/company's concerns may be. You may have to negotiate some things: salary, benefits, expected hours (time differences), etc.

  • Thanks for the input. I don't think it'd be an ultimatum, as I said in another comment it's too difficult for me to find another job since I don't get PTO- would have to travel last-minute for an interview ($$) in addition to not getting paid that day. So I'd probably just stick it out and deal with it =[ – sab669 Sep 9 '14 at 19:05
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The company might want everyone to come into the office from time to time. For whatever reasons, and they might not be convinced otherwise. If that is the case, and depending on the distance, being there three days every three weeks might be much more convenient than say every monday. If the distance isn't too far, one long drive or a flight every three weeks and two nights in a hotel might be acceptable to you. Obviously depends on the distance, traffic etc.

On the other hand, if they don't need someone at the office at all, the company can save money by removing your desk, moving to smaller premises (or hiring more employees without moving to larger premises), so that could be a useful argument for you. And there is plenty of software that can be used for employees to virtually talk to each other, as long as you have a good internet connection at home.

  • These are good points to argue in my favor, thanks. Our office actually just underwent a massive re-organization thing because we're getting too big for the building. I would be open to travelling occasionally if I was needed in the office, so that's something I could point out too. – sab669 Sep 9 '14 at 19:07

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