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When Your Boss Wants You To Return To The Office

Proving your value as a work at home employee involves reminding your boss of your responsibilities and how they are better accomplished from home. Be prepared to do the necessary research to make your case.
Tug of War.

You’ve been working at home for quite some time now when your boss wants to talk to you ASAP. On the phone, he tells you that he wants you to start coming back into the office again. Thing is, you love your work from home job—and the amazing worklife balance it affords you. Here’s what to do when your boss wants you to come back to the office—and you don’t want to.

List your job responsibilities. If you want to hang onto your work from home status, you’ll need to be prepared. For starters, you should go through your job and list each and every single job responsibility you currently have. Determine which of these can be done at home, and which can only be done in the office. If you’ve been working from home for a while as a full-time telecommuter, most likely all of your duties can be done from home. You’ll need this list when you speak with your boss.

Do your research. Now is the time to reach out to other remote staffers to see if any (or all) of them were also asked to return to the office. If only a few were asked to come back, that’s good news. After all, that means that your company is still retaining some of its telecommuting workforce. Speak with those who were not asked to return to the office to ascertain what their specific job duties are.

Schedule a meeting. Find a time that works for both you and your boss to speak. You don’t want to wait too long to have this meeting, as you’ll need to figure out your job status sooner rather than later. But even if you’re feeling emotional (as you should be) about this sudden change of work plans, ditch your emotions at the door. You want to be as logical—and professional—as possible when you speak with your boss.

Find the cause. When you speak with your boss, find out the real reason why you’re being asked to return to the office. Maybe there wasn’t enough office space for the staff before, thus allowing them to work from home temporarily. Or maybe there will be sweeping changes company-wide and your boss wants you in-office while the transitioning is taking place.

Plead your case. Remember the research you did and the list that you made? Now they’re both going to come in handy. In order to retain your work from home status, you’ll need to make a solid case when you speak to your boss. Showcase your stellar work history with the company, and be sure to include that you’re an excellent communicator. Point out the fact that you’re able to meet all of your deadlines and that being a remote worker has made you even more dedicated and loyal to the company. Mention that all of your work can easily be done from home (as it has been for all this time) and that you want to continue working remotely.

Be flexible. Your boss may (or may not) be flexible about his need for you to come back to the office. Hopefully your boss will see your point of view and value you enough as a worker to allow you to continue working remotely. But then again, he may make an ultimatum forcing you to choose between your job and the flexible schedule you’ve come to know and love. So it’s up to you to determine how you’re going to handle this—and how much this job truly means to you. Keeping your position might mean going back into the office a couple of days a week if you live nearby. Or you might wind up having to leave the position and look for another job that offers you the workplace flexibility that every worker can benefit from.

It’s never easy when your boss revokes your work from home arrangement. So be smart, sensible and firm when speaking with your boss. You never know; you might be able to continue working from home in the job you love anyway!

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