4 Things to Tell Your Boss If You Want to Work From Home

These days, more and more employees are working from home on a regular basis. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics says that about 2.8% of the total workforce work from home at least half time. Nearly all U.S. workers say they’d like to work from home at least part-time, and about half the workforce say they could  work remotely at least some of the time.

But what if you’re not one the lucky ones who stumbles into a job that already allows working from home, whether sometimes or on a regular basis? In this case, you might need to convince your boss that working from home is a good idea.

And, in fact, working from home is a good idea, much of the time. It can actually save you money, and it can reduce your overall stress level. And if you’re like many people, you might actually get more done in less time when you’re working from home.

But those arguments, especially the ones that are mostly beneficial to your personal life, may not be enough to convince your boss to let you work from home. Here are four more convincing arguments to try:

1. Better Productivity

Working from home isn’t a good fit for all jobs, but for some types, studies show that working from home actually increases productivity.

2. Reduced Overhead Costs

Outfitting an employee with an office or even cubicle comes with overhead costs. Not to mention all that water you flush down the toilet on bathroom breaks! In fact, many large employers started moving employees to work from home positions specifically to reduce overhead costs. (Of course, you’ll be taking on some of those costs by working from home — increased electricity and water usage can eat into your savings on commuting. You can try some of these easy penny pinching tips to help offset those costs.

3. Fewer Sick Days

Having the ability to work from home often curbs the number of sick days you take. You might not drag yourself into the office when you’re feeling under the weather, but you may opt to work as normal from your comfortable couch. Your fellow employees will appreciate fewer germs, anyway.

4. At-Home Workers Are Happier (and Stay Longer)

If working from home is really important to you, and if you’re in a field where it’s common, you may be more likely to stay in your job for the long term if you are allowed some flexibility to work from home. You don’t necessarily need to tell your boss this, but you can show that employees who work from home are happier in their jobs.

Making Your Proposal & Pulling It Off

Now that you’ve got some arguments in your back pocket, how do you go about actually asking your boss to let you work from home? Here are a few steps to take:

1. Create a Formal Proposal

Don’t just approach working from home by the seat of your pants, especially if it’s not already a common practice in your workplace. Instead, create a formal proposal for what working from home would look like for you.

What tasks would you accomplish at home? How would you handle meetings and phone calls? Would you be available during certain hours online? How would you keep track of the tasks that you’re working on at home? What sort of accountability system could you build in?

Put all this into writing. When in doubt, talk to someone else with a job similar to yours who works from home. See what kind of arrangements they have with their employers, and go from there. If others in your organization work from home, talk to them about their written work plans, too.

2. Pre-empt Your Boss’s Concerns

When you’re creating your proposal, try to think about it from your boss’s perspective. What concerns will he or she likely  have? You know this person best as a supervisor, so you can likely anticipate how the conversation will go.

Again, talk to others in your organization who work from home sometimes or regularly, and use that as a jumping off point. You’ll want to work those points into your written proposal, preferably, or at least address them in your conversation with your boss.

3. Propose a Trial Run

Don’t just jump in and ask to switch your in-office job to a full-time, work-from-home position. Instead, propose a trial. You may want to propose a part-time work from home schedule of one to three days per week at first. And you should also suggest trying to work from home for a period of thirty to ninety days before you and your boss formally evaluate the situation.

Starting with a trial period can help make working from home more palatable. Plus, if you’ve never worked from home before, you may find that a blended schedule of in-office and at-home actually suits you better than working from home full-time.

4. Be Flexible

Go into the conversation with your boss with goals and a proposal, but be willing to take his or her feedback into account, too. Be flexible in what you’re asking for, and be prepared to give up ground if that’s what you need to get your foot in the door. Maybe your three days a week goes to two, or your ninety day trial goes to thirty. It’s still a start!

5. What Else Can You Give Up?

Oftentimes, people who really want to work from home are willing to take a pay cut to do so, or at least forgo a big raise. This means that evaluation time can be a good time to ask for work-from-home privileges. If you get a great review and are offered a raise, consider counter-offering a smaller raise with the ability to work remotely part-time.

Maybe you’re not willing to give up a raise, but you have other privileges you could lay on the table in order to work from home. Or maybe you feel you’ll be so much more productive at home that you can tackle additional responsibilities. Either way, you could give a little to get a little in this conversation.

6. Prove You Can Do It

Finally, when you do get to work from home, don’t take advantage of the situation. Put 100% into your work each day, and set up your lifestyle so that you’re more productive than ever. Keep track of your goals, metrics, and to-do lists, so that if there’s ever a question of whether or not you can work from home well, you’ve got data to back up your answer.

[Editor’s note: It’s also a good idea to keep track of your financial goals. One way to do that is to check your credit scores. Credit.com’s credit report summary offers two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, plus tools that help you establish a plan for how to improve your scores.]

Image: AlexBrylov

The post 4 Things to Tell Your Boss If You Want to Work From Home appeared first on Credit.com.

Why I Became a Work-From-Home Mom (& What to Consider if You Aim to Do the Same)


In August I celebrated my one-year anniversary of being a work-at-home mother. I was a career businesswoman before I graduated college. And I’ve spent the last 10 years working in the financial field, with all of its rigors and stresses. By the time I became pregnant with our third child, the bough was breaking. I realized there was no way I could manage two school-aged kids and a newborn, and work full-time in a crazy stressful financial career.

When I was five months pregnant, I left the corporate circus and focused on home. And frankly, I never looked back! Such a radical move promotes cries of “you’re crazy” or “she’s trying to be one of those New Age, stay-at-home, home-schooling mamas!”

Well, yes and no. Leaving the full-time workforce was certainly an ambitious endeavor, but I chose to prioritize how I spent my time devoting it to what best served my legacy. I placed myself and my family in the top position on my list of priorities. And in doing so, I transformed the trajectory of our lives from the mundane to something more special. Of course, a lot went into making that decision. Here’s what I considered before, during and after the switch.

The Costs of Working From Home

First, it all came down to finances. How does a five-person family go from living on two full-time incomes to surviving on one? We made frugal changes, and found ways to supplement our income with me working from home. If you can comfortably afford to be a stay-at-home mom, then, by all means, that is the choice I would highly recommend.

Just keep in mind that the role of a stay-at-home means being at work 24/7. There is no off time, no shift end, no vacation and no sick time. When you are that present and available to the needs of your household, the role of mothering (or fathering) takes on a level of high demand like never before. And what really goes without saying is … it is hard! It’s so hard that I would ward any parent away from adding the work-from-home facet to their life unless they feel they can make it work.

Another Major Decision

While working from home was the right decision, when it came to homeschooling my children, I had to give an emphatic “no.” Don’t get me wrong, this is a noble endeavor. But like becoming a teacher, it is a role one should never enter into lightly. Even though for many children their earliest lessons are learned from their parents, being a good caretaker does not equate to being a good teacher. A good teacher is marked by long-suffering patience, the likes of which I am lacking.

The Hidden Costs of Free Public School

Still, if you’re wrestling with the decision, there are some pros to homeschooling that you may want to consider. Deciding to keep your kids in public school also comes with its own set of costs, and not all of them are physical out-of-pocket ones. Here’s a list of some loosely estimated public school costs, garnered from my personal experience.

  • In New York state, 62% of your property taxes goes toward school purposes. New York property taxes range by location from an estimated $3,000 to $20,000 and up. (In other words, you’re paying for local public schools whether you send your child there or not.)
  • Daily school meal programs:
    • Lunch – $2.50+ per day = $450 in a 180-day school year
    • Breakfast — $2.00+ per day = $360 in a 180-day school year
  • School supplies (an estimated $100)
  • Parent Teacher Association Membership and class party funds (an estimated $35)
  • Back-to-school clothes (an estimated $200)
  • Clubs and after-school programs (an estimated $175 and up)
  • Various extras throughout the year (an estimated $200)
  • Time lost with your children. The time spent at school is almost as long as the time spent each day at a full-time job, which is the majority of our days (priceless)

Homeschooling can eliminate or significantly decrease many of those listed expenses (aside from the property taxes, of course). You’ll also get to structure your lesson plans. If your student (i.e., child) is slow at any subject, you can go at their pace to make sure they understand the lesson.

All of these points sell me on homeschooling, and I have considered it in the past and even as recently as last month. But again, I arrived at the conclusion that it’s not the best course for our family at this time (maybe I’ll do it in the future). I love being at home and available to help supplement (or even correct) the lessons my children are learning at school. This work-from-home schedule allows me to do that, along with forego childcare costs and not miss important milestones.

The point is, at the end of the day, it is up to you. There are plenty of options for your child’s education. Do your due diligence when researching and choose the option that works best for your family.

(Editor’s Note: Staying on top of your credit can help you work toward your financial goals and stay out of debt. You can view two of your credit scores, updated every two weeks, for free on Credit.com.)

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

Image: monkeybusinessimages

The post Why I Became a Work-From-Home Mom (& What to Consider if You Aim to Do the Same) appeared first on Credit.com.

How to Spot 5 Popular Work-From-Home Scams

Pretty Young Multiethnic Woman Holding Phone and Credit Card Using Laptop.

We’ve all seen deceptive work-from-home job ads before. They promise work that pays thousands of dollars each week with no experience necessary.

Of course, it sounds too good to be true. But more money and the freedom to work from home is something we all want, so you may be inclined to give one of them a shot. Before you do, know that there are a few dead giveaways that a work-from-home opportunity is really just a scam.

How to Spot and Avoid Work-From-Home Scams

The phrase, “You have to spend money to make money,” is one that scam artists use to get over on you. If you have to dish out a few hundred dollars for membership, certifications, training or equipment to work for a company, you need to make sure you’re spending money on something valuable.

Don’t invest until you’ve taken a look at company reviews from reputable sources like the Better Business Bureau. You can’t trust any old website for an honest review. Sometimes website owners are affiliates who get a cut of the profit if their review gets you to buy into a scam. Unbiased forums are a better source of reliable feedback.

There’s also no such thing as easy work. Be wary of jobs that sell a lifestyle where you earn a good deal of money from hardly any effort. When a company sells an image and nothing tangible, you have to wonder where the revenue comes from to run the business. If it looks shady, trust your gut.

Finally, any recruiter that contacts you asking for information to get you started in a program, like your Social Security number or address, should sound fishy to you. There’s nothing stopping them from taking your information and then stealing your identity.

Top 5 Work-From-Home Scams

Now, let’s talk about some of the top work-from-home scams you should avoid.

1. Pyramid Schemes

Often pyramid schemes look like real opportunities for entrepreneurs. A pyramid scheme recruits sellers of a product that has no value. It charges some sort of entrance fee for membership, training or inventory. The fee is then redistributed as income for participants at the top of the pyramid.

A minuscule group of people actually makes money. The top earners use groupthink and sketchy sales tactics to convince lower level sellers they can make tons of money recruiting other people. In reality, pyramid schemes are illegal and very few people make money.

A close cousin to the pyramid scheme is multi-level marketing or MLM, which is legal. The difference between the two is with MLM distributors earn commission from selling a real product (example, diet supplements or make-up).

Distributors also earn commission on the sales of those people they recruit. MLM gigs aren’t an outright scam, but you shouldn’t expect one to replace your full-time income. There’s also a chance you won’t make your money back if you have to buy the inventory you are going to sell.

2. Mystery Shopping or Survey-Taking

Now, there are mystery shopping and survey-taking opportunities that are legit. But like with all good things, a few people find an angle to scam people out of money. You shouldn’t have to pay for access to mystery shopping or survey gigs. You can find them online for free. If a membership site guarantees you a full-time income from either hustle, you should probably question its validity.

3. Online Business

Online business is the hot industry right now. Successful online business owners can earn over 4 or 5 figures per month with affiliate marketing and other various products. Who doesn’t want a piece of that action?

Some products sold to help you launch an online business are worth your time, others not so much. Systems that promise quick results are unrealistic, especially if you don’t know how you’ll be making money until you buy into the scheme.

There’s no way to make fast money online – or anywhere for that matter. Even if someone’s method of earning online is viable, they’ve probably been working at it for a while. Before you pay for something, seek unbiased reviews.

4. Data Entry or Medical Billing

Work-from-home data entry scam sites guarantee to get you hired and paid well by legitimate companies. You have to pay to become a member of the site. In return, you’ll get access to training, support and exclusive job listings. All you need is a computer and wireless connection – no experience.

Think about this from the perspective of a company that’s hiring a remote worker. Would you partner with a website that has a pool of workers with no experience? And if so, how much would you intend to pay these employees? Probably peanuts.

Instead of creating partnerships with companies, some sites just post gigs and other resources you could find online yourself if you did a bit of digging.

Another popular work-from-home scam is medical billing. A company asks you to investment in equipment, training and industry connections to launch your own billing business. But again, it’s difficult to earn your money back.

5. Envelope Stuffing and Craft Assembly

The envelope scam is one that’s been around for a while. Ads claim to pay you hundreds of dollars per day to stuff envelopes from home. To sign up for the gig, you have to put in your personal information. If this were actually real, the envelope-stuffing budget of a company would be astronomical. These scammers have an ulterior motive for signing you up.

A similar scam is where a company sends craft parts to you and pays for assembly. Again, there are more efficient ways for a company to assemble products than shipping parts off to remote workers. Don’t fall for it.

Are There Legitimate Work-From-Home Jobs?

After discussing all the scams, you’re probably wondering if there’s any real way to make money from home. It’s possible. It’s just not easy. Companies that pay remote workers good money look for people with experience and skills. You have to apply and qualify for full-time remote work just like any other job. That’s unless you launch a business selling your own skills or products.

If you’re just looking to earn side income, try sites like SwagBucks, Mechanical Turk, and UserTesting. These sites ask you to do small online tasks like reviews and surveys with no fees to sign up. You won’t be able to quit your day job with this income, but you’ll actually get paid for your time.

We all like a good shortcut to money and scammers know this. If you see an opportunity to cut corners and earn big money while wearing your pajamas (minimal effort required), it’s probably a scam.

The post How to Spot 5 Popular Work-From-Home Scams appeared first on MagnifyMoney.