Formal Request to Work Remotely: Sample Letters

Sample requests to work remotely - letters and emails

If you’re looking to write a request to work remotely, then this article is for you.

We’re going to cover how to write all parts of a request to work remotely, including examples/templates for asking your manager to work from home, email subject lines, and more.

Don’t send your remote work request letter before reading these tips…

Can I Ask My Job to Work Remotely?

Every worker can ask their employer to work remotely. However, you should first determine if your job duties can be performed remotely full-time without harming your performance.

Some jobs, like a nurse or security guard, require your physical presence and simply can’t be performed from home. So the first step in getting to work from home is finding a role that allows it.

Also, consider whether your company is already allowing other employees to work from home on a full-time basis, or somewhat regularly. If so, the employer is more likely to consider your request, too.

It’s still worth sending a request to work remotely even if other employees aren’t being allowed to do so. You could be the trailblazer for your company or organization in this regard.

But it’s a better sign if other people in your company are already working from home.

Next, let’s look at some steps and samples for how to write your remote work request letter.

How Do You Write a Request to Work Remotely?

To write your request to begin working remotely, consider your manager’s perspective and write a compelling letter that shows how you’ll continue being productive (or possibly become more productive) when working from home.

Make sure you’re saying, “You” in the letter, not just “I”.

For example:

“I’m confident that while working from home, I’ll produce more work for you, and better-quality work, because <reasons>.”

Keep your letter relatively short. Writing more content won’t necessarily boost your odds of hearing “yes” from your boss when you ask to go remote.

Also, consider using your letter/email to simply begin the conversation, and then follow up with an in person meeting. You may have more success in finalizing a work-from-home request if you speak to your boss in person.

Coming up, we’ll look at multiple examples of both a temporary request to work from home, and how to request to work from home permanently.

You’re also more likely to hear “yes” to your remote work request if you first request a trial period where you work from home for just one or two days per week.

Then, you can move to working from home regularly all five days per week later. I’ll share email templates for that, too.

Sample Letters and Email Templates to Ask to Work Remotely

Sample email #1 requesting to work from home regularly:

Hello <Manager’s name>,

I’m writing to ask about the possibility of working from home in my current role.

I’m excited about how the role is going and I’m enjoying the work.

Yet I believe that I would be more productive for you without my lengthy commute <or insert other reason you’d be more productive at home>.

I already have a quiet, organized home office space set up.

I’d also be able to come into the office on an as-needed basis, for meetings, projects, etc.

Is this something you would be open to discussing further?

Best regards,
<Your name>

Sample email #2 requesting to work from home regularly:

Hello <Manager’s name>,

I was hoping to discuss the possibility of working remotely in my current role.

I’m excited about the work I’m doing, how the role is going, and what I’m learning.

Yet I believe I’d be even more productive and focused at home, and I’d be able to spend more time producing work for you if I weren’t commuting each morning and evening.

Is remote work something you would be open to discussing further?

Thanks,
<Your name>

Consider Requesting to Work Remotely with a Shorter First Email

In general, managers don’t love surprises.

Whether you’re resigning, asking to change teams, or in this case, submitting your request to work from home regularly, it’s best to ease them into the idea.

So while I provided full employee email examples above to go remote, I want to show you an alternate approach, too.

With this gradual approach, you would write an email request to start a dialogue and then continue the conversation in person or over the phone.

You’ll want to slightly vary your request depending on if other team members are already remote or not. See the example emails below for how to write your email request.

Example email if coworkers are already working remotely:

Hello <Manager’s name>,

I’ve noticed some team members in this department work remotely, so I wanted to ask if there’s a process in place for achieving this or requesting this.

I believe that working remotely would allow me to be more productive and focused for you, and I’d be able to work more hours as well since I wouldn’t be commuting each day.

Is this something we could discuss further, perhaps over the phone or face to face in the office?

Best regards,
<Your name>

Example email if nobody in the company works remotely yet:

Hello <Manager’s name>,

Is there a process by which an employee can request to work remotely for <Company Name>?

It’s an idea that has interested me for a while, and I think working remotely would allow me to be more productive and focused.

I’d love to discuss further with you, perhaps on a call or face to face in the office.

Best regards,
<Your name>

Tip: Request a Partial Remote Work Arrangement First

One tip for how to convince a company to let you work remotely is to ask to work only a few days per week from home to start, and then gradually transition into full-time remote work.

Instead of sending a request letter asking to work remotely 100% of the time, you could begin by suggesting you work from home occasionally.

For example, Tuesdays and Thursdays (or two other days per week).

I like Tuesday and Thursday so that your boss and colleagues won’t think you’re trying to get an extended weekend by working from home.

Once you begin working remotely, make sure your productivity is HIGHER than normal. Show them beyond any doubt that you can work effectively even when not in the office.

Participate in company email chains and chat programs to show you’re at the computer and not taking advantage of being at home, etc.

Eliminate all distractions and background noise for video calls and phone calls.

Make it undeniable that you’re productive at home.

Then, after a few months, you can send a follow-up letter requesting to work from home regularly (using the sample letters above).

While this two-step method takes longer, it’ll likely boost your odds of securing a full-time remote work arrangement that you can stick with permanently.

Sample letter/template for asking to work from home on a partial basis:

Hello <Manager’s name>,

I was hoping to discuss the possibility of working remotely in my current role.

I’m excited about the work I’m doing, how the role is going, and what I’m learning.

Yet I believe that I would be more productive for you and more focused at home without my lengthy commute <or insert other reason you’d be more productive at home>.

I already have a quiet, organized home office space set up, too.

Is remote work something you would be open to discussing further?

Perhaps I could begin with just two days per week to determine whether my productivity levels are indeed higher.

If so, we could discuss how I can continue working remotely.

Best regards,
<Your name>

Include a Remote Work Proposal with Your Request Letter

To gather more tips for this article, I spoke to remote job coach Jordan Carroll.

He recommends going one step beyond an email or letter and also providing your employer with a remote work proposal.

The purpose of the remote work proposal is to expand and elaborate on your work-from-home plan. You want to leave your manager with fewer questions, address potential obstacles/concerns, etc.

Your remote work proposal should include (but not be limited to) the following points:

  1. Success Criteria: Be clear on what defines success, how it’s measured, and when you will review your numbers and accomplishments. Think about what reporting measurements you currently use in your day-to-day job and make reasonable estimates about when and what will be accomplished from home.
  2. Contingency Plans: Be proactive in proposing a back-up plan for any obstacles that may arise. If (Situation A) happens, then we will (Solution A). Provide examples for as many situations as you can think of, within reason. Think about your role and what comes up in your day-to-day workload that would need contingencies, and address those scenarios in your proposal.
  3. Benefits of Remote Work: What are the driving factors and benefits you are aiming to get from this experience? How would your work improve? Listing specific circumstances that are driving your request will help your management empathize.
  4. Communication Cadence: If your current manager is used to seeing you in the office every day, not having you physically there will be an adjustment on their part. Provide a proposed cadence for when you’ll communicate and how (phone, Zoom, online chat, etc.) Providing your company with a schedule that you plan to stick to also helps your manager understand how you plan to structure your new freedom while still maintaining productivity.

Request to Work from Home When Your Work is Already Going Well

If you’re requesting permanent remote work, keep in mind that you’ll boost your chances if you wait until you’re performing well in the role.

Also, wait until you’ve been in the role for at least a few months before you submit your letter asking to work remotely.

If you look at the first two email templates above for submitting a request to work from home regularly, you’ll see a mention of how you feel the role is going well. This is by design.

If you want to land permanent remote work from the start of a role, then you should ideally be asking about the topic in the job interview.

By asking in the interview, you can identify potential employer concerns, address them, and gauge whether this company will ever let you work remotely. Some employers simply aren’t open to remote work.

Many companies are coming around to the idea, and it’s not such a delicate subject lately, but some employers still have possible concerns or policies against remote work.

Email vs. Letter vs. Conversation: The Best Way to Ask to Work From Home

Play to your strengths when you ask to work from home. Above, I mentioned some advantages to asking in person versus through email.

However, if you’re someone who is a lot more comfortable via email, then this is a good choice, too.

Perhaps you feel you’ll be more effective and organized in making your arguments through writing. In this case, it’s wise to craft an email outlining all of the reasons you’d like to work from home.

Plus, with email, you can wait a day, go back and re-read it, and ask a family member for their opinion, before you press “send.”

If you say something in a live conversation, you cannot take it back.

Still, a manager will appreciate you being up-front and discussing this in person with them, so weigh the pros and cons of each option as you decide how to submit your request.

Email Subject Lines to Request to Work from Home

If you opt to put send your work-from-home request via email, choose a simple email subject line such as:

  • Work arrangement question
  • Work question
  • Question for you
  • Question

Each company has different procedures and expectations when it comes to email communication and email subject lines, so if in doubt, follow your company’s internal guidelines.

If you’re not sure what subject line to use and your company does not specify in their official documentation/guidelines exactly how you must write your emails, you can use the subject lines above.

Note that you can also use one of the subject lines above if emailing your human resources department to ask to work from home.

However, I recommend first asking your direct manager for permission to work remotely. Working remotely will impact your manager and team most directly, so this is a request that you should send directly to your manager when possible.

Sample Letters Requesting to Work From Home Temporarily

You may find yourself wanting to send a request to work from home temporarily, for personal reasons, health reasons, family issues, etc.

You can use the two templates below to help write your email or letter to request temporary remote work.

Sample request to work from home temporarily (personal health issues):

Hello <Manager’s name>,

I wanted to ask whether it would be possible for me to work from home temporarily for health reasons, for approximately <number of days/weeks/months>.

I’m working on resolving a personal health issue and it would help me greatly if I could work remotely during this period.

I’d maintain the same work hours and quality of work, and would be available online for check-in calls, meetings, and all of the other conversations that occur throughout my workday in the office.

Best regards,
<Your name>

Sample request to work from home temporarily (family issues):

Hello <Manager’s name>,

Would it be possible to work remotely on a temporary basis, for <number of days/weeks/months>?

I’m in the midst of a family emergency, and while I would maintain the same work hours and quality of work, it would help me greatly to be able to do so from home for this period of time.

I’m happy to discuss further or clarify anything needed.

Best regards,
<Your name>

What to Do if Your Remote Work Request is Denied

Even if you’ve done amazing work for the past year or more, written the perfect email and subject line to request to work from home, and highlighted multiple strong points and arguments, there’s no guarantee you’ll hear “yes”.

No matter what your manager says to your request to work from home, try not to show disappointment in the meeting, and definitely don’t show anger.

If the lack of remote work options is a deal-breaker for you, then you can quietly conduct a job search and look to move on when you’re ready.

Sometimes, it’s easier to find a fully-remote job than trying to convert your current in-office position into a remote one.

This is especially true if none of your coworkers are currently able to work from home.

However, starting a job search is a drastic option, so first, you could also ask your manager a few open-ended questions, such as:

  • “What is your main concern when it comes to me working remotely?”
  • “I see. Why is that?”

You can’t respond and continue making your case if you don’t understand their objection first. Asking open-ended, non-threatening questions can be a fantastic way to negotiate and move the conversation forward.

If no one in your company has ever worked remotely, your manager may just be caught off-guard by the idea and need some time and discussion to start seeing the benefits.

As one more option, if your boss isn’t open to letting you go remote, but you know other departments/teams in the company are partially or fully remote, you can request a transfer.

Conclusion

If you follow the tips above, you’ll have a professional, formal work-from-home request, whether you’re hoping to work remotely regularly or temporarily.

While some companies won’t offer permanent remote work, more and more employers are becoming open to the idea and therefore, it can’t hurt to ask!

Remember to lay out why a remote work arrangement would be beneficial to the employer, and consider starting out by sending a trial basis request where you ask to work from home for two days per week.

That strategy will give you the greatest chance of achieving the dream of working from home and the better work-life balance that comes with it.

And if you hear “no” don’t get discouraged. You may simply be up against a company’s culture and old-school mindset. Or a particular manager who doesn’t believe in allowing remote work.

Sometimes, you’ll need to change jobs to find the remote work arrangement you seek.

At least you asked and found out before making a big change!

Further reading: Highest-paying remote jobs.

About the Author Biron Clark

Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter who has worked with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.

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