I work in a field and industry where telecommuting is a feasible option for my role, and it is usually a matter of whether an employer will support it as a company policy. I've worked for both types: some that openly support it on a part-time basis (2 days a week usually), and some that don't support the idea at all. I usually find part time good, as opposed to 4/5 days, as it allows for in-person time to resync with employees or get face-to-face meetings done on those days.

At this point in my life I have a family and a young infant in daycare near our home. My wife and I both work, and commute 1-2 hr to our jobs in the NYC area. My wife is able to work from home and only needs to commute in a couple days a week. On those days, I need to be home to manage the child drop off and pickup, as well as any occasional problem that might occur.

My question is how do I work with potential employers in interviews or even an existing employer and express that this is not just a work preference, an occasional "cable guy coming by" event, but an actual family planning thing that is needed on a highly predictable 2-day a week basis?

For the interview: - I frequently bring up the question as one of company culture on working from home. This is usually met with, "we allow it occasionally for one off appointments, but we prefer everyone to be in the office". They usually back it up with management's opinion that this is best for cooperation, on a company level. Even at the end of a strong interview, it is very difficult for me to pose that it is a strong requirement for me. Even to the point where I might need to be an exception to the rule for a while. How can I express this need without disqualifying myself due to a blanket policy? Should I express this need before even interviewing?

Some people have advised to start with a company, and gradually try to work it in as an option. Prove yourself, start occasionally, and maybe they'll come around. I've not found this passive approach very effective.

For an existing employer: The topic can be challenging. It can be that several employees in the office do have a WFH arrangement, but new arrangements are generally rejected. As an employee, I end up with the conflict that I need this arrangement or I need to find a new job to accommodate the family schedule. Overall, what can be done to express this to an employer that you otherwise mutually value and wish to stay with?


If this is a hard requirement for you, there is nothing you can do beyond express that fact. If you don't tell them, you can't hold it against them later if they say no. Don't hold out that you might be the exception, especially as a new employee.

Ask about their policy and let them know that this is a must have for you. There is no point in wasting time for both sides if this is a deal breaker. You wouldn't want them to withhold critical information from you, and that is a two way street.


Do you really want to get into a position where you "feel" you can do this and just think that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission? You should be upfront about it, but like other aspects of the interview process, you should wait until later.

This is part of the salary and other benefits negotiation. Some employers may bring this stuff up earlier and some will wait until they are closer to or making an offer. A salary adjustment could be offered during a trial period. Focus on your prior experience with this practice and how you were able to make it work.

There are millions of people working remotely from part to full-time. As long as the company has the technology in place, you and the team should work around it.

  • "This is part of the salary and other benefits negotiation" -- an interest point. Would one wait until after an offer is received before negotiating this, even if it was a deal breaker? – Miro Nov 13 '14 at 19:13
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    I have had this situation arise a couple of times, where the interviewee didn't mention their need to work from home until after I've spent a fair amount of time preparing for the interview and actually going through the interview. Needless to say, I was not appreciative of the applicant holding back this information and wasting my time. Either the company is going to be open to the possibility or not. How well you do in the interview is not going to be much, if any factor. Don't waste their time or yours by keeping it a secret. – Dunk Nov 13 '14 at 20:09

You can always hire a nanny to take care of the kids in the morning or to run errands, so most employers won't understand that argument.

Stil, if it's a no-go requirement for you, you have to mention it during the interview. Tell them you would really love to work for them, but you have to take care of your kids and if there is a way to work around it.

Maybe more hours each time you are there or just taking off the mornings and working afternoons. Show interest in resolving the situation somehow and they will see how important it is to you.

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