If you don’t have the privilege of working from home full time you may be on a flex schedule that gives you the freedom to choose when you work from home and when you work from the office. Along with this privilege of choice comes a delicate balance that might leave you asking “How often should you work from home?”
The answer is that there are a variety of answers depending on your company policy and boss, however, appearing in the office at least once per week is a good practice.
What is Your Company Policy?
The first thing to consider when answering the question “How often should you work from home?” is “What is your company policy?” Most reputable companies have a collection of written policies that spell out how employees should conduct themselves. If you are working remotely for your employer, they should have a set of written policies for working remotely. When I began working remotely, my employer had me sign a new set of policies to ensure that I was up to date on what the company expected of me as an employee as I began working remotely. You most likely had to sign something similar when you began working remotely. If you started your position working remotely then it might have been part of your onboarding paperwork.
If you do not have your company’s remote working policies, then you should ask your supervisor for a copy of them. These policies might spell out what is expected of you as an employee working remotely. Many companies host weekly meetings. Your company policy might state that you need to be present for this weekly meeting. If it does say that you must be present for particular work engagements, make sure that you do so. Working from home is a very big privilege and it’s only right to make sure your work performance is sufficient and you are doing what is expected of you as an employee.
What is Your Boss’s Preference?
Your company policy will give you an overview of what is expected of your as a remote employee, but your boss might be able to guide you in a more specific direction. It is not rare for company policies to be outdated. Your boss might have a different preference that isn’t fully congruent with what the company policy outlines. For example, there might be a weekly meeting that is required for remote workers to attend. However, your supervisor might have another task for you to take care of that can only be completed during the meeting time and they may find it of more importance for you to do that instead of attending the meeting.
This is not to say that the company policy is not important. You always want to make sure that you’re following your company policy. However, it is also important to remember that you report to your boss and they are ultimately (probably) the decider of if you are completing your job appropriately or not. It is important to have an open dialogue with your boss about their preferences as well as yours. Ultimately, if you have a good boss, they just want to see you thrive and get your work done as efficiently as possible no matter where it’s being done.
What Works For You?
Let’s not forget about you. What is it that you prefer? Why did you begin working from home? What schedule suits your lifestyle the best? These are all questions to consider when answering the question of “How often should you work from home?” You are a very important factor in the equation. We don’t want to simply burn ourselves out by following restrictive guidelines and doing things we don’t want to do all of the time. You may have even started working from home because there is a certain lifestyle that you want to live. Make sure the commitments you are holding and the position you are working are in line with that lifestyle.
It can be easy to let these things go once we are comfortable in a job. As we stated earlier, allow yourself to have an open dialogue with your boss. Allow your boss to know what your preferences are. Respectfully let your boss know lines that you are not willing to cross and things that are non-negotiables for you. Allow them to understand why you took the job in the first place and let them know what your career aspirations are. It is rare that someone will scoff at you for simply speaking your truth. If it works best for you to show up to the office only once per week, then make that known to your boss with a solid case as to why it should be so.
What Should You Do?
Ultimately, as a best practice, you want to make sure that you are following your company policies and your boss’s direction. This will save you a world of trouble. If your company and your boss are ok with you working remotely every day all day, then more power to you! However, if you are in a situation in which you are given the choice to work some days in the office and some days at home, make sure you are showing up at the office the required number of days. If there is not a specific schedule and requirement, talk with your boss so you can better understand what is expected in your role. Generally speaking, if you’re given the option to work remotely, but it is also expected that you are going to work in the office, it’s a good idea to show your face at least once per week in the office.