I am not a native English speaker, so please excuse my grammar.

I am 22 years old working in an other town as a full time web developer currently living in Germany. I am the only web developer in a very small company from which I got a raise two months before offered by the boss of the company. I commute about 4 hours daily in total, 2 hours to get work and 2 back, sometimes a bit more when I don't leave work early enough missing to catch the bus and the train.

The above happen because the agency moved to another far area of the town one month ago. I also have to switch quite often between bus and train, and I can get the train/bus only by running and hoping I have not to wait for the next, that's stressing. And in the train to home I have to stand almost always 45 minutes because all seats are taken. Now, the problem is, I only go to home to eat something and then I go to sleep (1,5 - 2 hours free time) only to wake up early to rush to the train. Work starts at 9 AM. I am starting to get depressed, something my girlfriend has noticed. I have to change that. Music did not help, I cannot sleep or read a book because I have to switch the bus/train to often. So no relaxing possible.

At work I almost never have customer contact except over mail or phone, so technically it would be possible to do the work at home. The Question is, how can I speak about that? I'd be even willing to suggest to get paid 200€ less (My current salary is 2600€). That would be something he could like. It does not hurt me because train and bus cost 200€, money I would not need to pay anymore.

Additional information: I can not move to the other town because my girlfriend is schooling in an another town next where we live. If we'd move she'd have to shuttle around 6 hours daily, not possible. A car would cost too much and would reduce not significantly reduce travel time.

I am already watching for another job but these are currently rare in my hometown and environs. I do not like this job this much but I have enough time to educate myself and learn new things I could use someday.

  • 3
    Maybe there's a middle-ground? Instead of asking to work 100% remotely, how about you ask for a couple of days a week? That's more reasonable with the arguments you have in your hand. That way you'd have 8 hours of free-time saved from the commute to do hobbies or everyday stuff. – cbll Jul 22 '16 at 7:49
  • 2
    Just bring this up with your manager just like you did in this question. I think he will understand, and you can suggest to start working remotely for 1-2 days, and if that works out after a few months, then maybe make it 3-4. – Eric Smekens Jul 22 '16 at 7:52
  • I know having a car is expensive in most European countries, but I think 2600 should be enough in Germany? For example in Finland, it costs about 400 - 500 euros per month to have a car (not including a loan for buying the car), and it's still doable. It must be cheaper in Germany, so are you sure that is not an option? It will probably make the commute also much more comfortable, even if it's not much faster or cheaper. – Juha Untinen Jul 22 '16 at 8:10
  • @JuhaUntinen The OP clearly stated that even a car could not change travel time much. – paparazzo Jul 22 '16 at 8:28
  • But it could still be more comfortable. One of OPs biggest grievances appears to be that the commute is stressful and difficult (eg. 45 minutes standing). A car would eliminate those factors, even when it's not cheaper or faster. – Juha Untinen Jul 22 '16 at 8:30

When you're requesting something like this you need to write it up as a proposal and focus on how this change will benefit the business and how it won't interfere with your ability to do your job. Most companies don't like disruption for no gain (from their perspective).

You may have a very understanding boss who wants to help you out, but if you can preempt objections and have an answer for them this will really help your case. From their perspective they hired you to work full time in the office, you presumably declined any relocation package for personal reasons and continued in the original role.

I would probably focus on things like, a home setup will make you more able to help in an emergency. You aren't stuck unable to help with problems for four hours on a bus. You shouldn't offer to take a pay cut (or work four hours more a day for nothing) but there are advantages to what you want to do and I'm sure you can think up more for yourself.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I agree with you that offering to change your pay or work hours isn't a good idea (at least for the initial discussion). It makes it seem like the change isn't going to be good for the company (even though it will be) so you have to compensate them for it. – ColleenV Jul 22 '16 at 11:25
  • I don't think it will be bad for the company (from what little we know of the situation), but there are negatives and positives to everything. I am suggesting he goes in ready to answer any points they may raise and ready to put across the positives to the company not just to himself. – Dustybin80 Jul 22 '16 at 12:05
  • 1
    I would also propose a phased work from home schedule starting with say 1 day a week in the home office and building up from there. That way the company can build confidence in the OP's ability to self manage at home. – Peter M Jul 22 '16 at 14:22
  • I would agree with Peter's comment, be ready to compromise. – Dustybin80 Jul 22 '16 at 14:32

As mentioned in the comments: just talk to your manager, point out the difficulty, and ask whether working from home part or all of the time would be possible.

Or you could move closer to the new office. Inconvenient, but if it avoids that killer commute it may be worth doing.

Relocations, unfortunately, happen; the company will always do whatever is most convenient for the company. I'm declining to accept relocation now, and looking for another position. (Preferably at a nearby office within my company, but we'll see what happens.)

| improve this answer | |

A key component is the agency moved.

Rather then offer a pay cut consider offering to work 1 extra hour. In reality you could just skip lunch break and eat while working if you are at home. Or taking customer support calls on a set range of off hours.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    This doesn't really answer the question of how to approach the company about working remotely. It doesn't explain why the agency moving is "key" or why offering to work more hours is preferable to taking a pay cut. Urtica seems to want the time more than the money, and I think there is some evidence that working through lunch can reduce productivity. – ColleenV Jul 22 '16 at 11:20
  • 2
    @ColleenV: Exactly. Also, under German employment law the company must make sure their employees take a lunch break (for >6 hr work, 30 min break is compulsory by law). – sleske Jul 22 '16 at 11:41
  • @ColleenV The commute is longer because the agency moved. And I used the word could. – paparazzo Jul 22 '16 at 14:58
  • 1
    I can imagine what you're thinking, but you don't explicitly write out any advice that directly addresses the question of how to bring it up to management. I didn't DV you, but this reads more like a comment than an answer to me and since I didn't see any of the DVers commenting I wanted to let you know why I thought it might be happening. – ColleenV Jul 22 '16 at 15:50
  • @ColleenV Fine I read "how can I speak about that?" as what kind of arrangement can be presented. I don't read it as how to approach. I hope the OP gets value from my answer. – paparazzo Jul 22 '16 at 16:17

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .