How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Remotely?”

Why Do You Want to Work Remotely?
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So you’ve made it to the final round of job interviews, and you’re thrilled for a fresh start at a new company. Then it happens: Someone on the team asks the question you’ve been dreading. 

“Why do you want to work remotely?” a manager or interviewer says. 

You’re stumped. How do you defend your preference for remote work without sounding less invested than in-office colleagues? And how can you fight misconceptions about remote workers being lazy or unproductive?

Don’t worry, below you’ll find the answers you need to successfully answer this question.

Remote Work Today

Although remote work has made big strides over the past few years, some employers are still on the fence about it. After all, many of them had never tried remote work until the onset of COVID-19 — and even then, plenty of corporate leaders assumed their employees would stay home for just a week or two.

The working world has evolved dramatically, and not everyone has caught up yet. 

But none of that means you should give up on your remote goals. There are plenty of perks to remote employment that have nothing to do with the old tropes.

And, if you make your case well, your prospective or current employer will understand that remote work offers benefits for them too. 

Whether you already have an in-office job, are working a hybrid schedule, or are interviewing with a new company, it will be helpful to keep key points in mind when pitching remote employment.

Here are some things to consider as you craft your answer for why you want to work remotely. 

How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work From Home?”

Being prepared to answer “Why do you want to work from home?” is a must, if you want an interviewer or manager to take you seriously. And before you answer it, you should have solid responses for why remote work matters to you. 

You will have personal reasons, but you also want to ensure you show value to the employer. 

That winning combination will not only impress the interviewer but shows you have put thought into this. 

Should you share personal reasons for preferring remote work?

First, you’ll want to state why remote work is important to you as an employee. Even if you feel reluctant to share some personal details with a company, those reasons are still valid and important to explain upfront. 

Perhaps you are a caretaker and want to be at home more; maybe you live far from your office and hope to avoid a long commute; maybe you are anxious about potential COVID-19 exposure.

Before making your case for going remote, plan a succinct, professional way to state your personal reasoning.

Here are some script examples of how you might do that:

  • “I’m responsible for an aging parent at home, and working remotely allows me to finish tasks effectively while ensuring my family member gets the care they need.”
  • “I live a long way from the office, so I avoid a long commute by staying home and can devote more of my hours to work instead.”
  • “I’m at high risk for COVID-19, and I feel safer avoiding in-person contact with others.”
  • “My family is moving to a new city, but I’m really interested in joining/staying with the company. Remote work allows me to do my job even when I’m based elsewhere.”

Showing value to the employer

While personal reasons might be an important factor in your answer, getting support from a manager or interviewer is a two-way street. What I mean by this is you also have to show how it will benefit the company and team you are a part of when you would be working remotely. 

How can you tie in things like cost savings, increased results for the company, better access to talent, etc? These are things employers will care about. 

Here are some remote work script examples:

  • “I see an increase in my productivity and can focus more in my own home environment, delivering better results for my team and the company.”
  • “I feel more engaged and excited in my work when I have the autonomy and trust to get it done. Remote work empowers me to take more ownership of my job.” 
  • “Energy conservation and environmental issues are important to me and the company. I want to help reduce this by working from home, thus reducing waste and energy use. This being gas usage of the daily drive, electricity and energy resources used at the office, etc.”
  • “Having more flexibility of where I do my work allows me to be ready for the day, think clearly, and be more creative as I start the day. Instead of having hours to waste getting ready and commuting, I now give that time back to the company to deliver results more effectively.” 
  • “Not only does remote work help current employees, but if you have more flexible work policies it allows the company to reach more diverse and talented groups of people to contribute to the success of the organization.” 

Are remote workers more productive? 

Although the corporate world has changed radically since the start of the pandemic, some managers and C-suite leaders still have doubts about remote workers’ efficiency and effectiveness. 

The good news is, that many of those concerns appear to be unfounded. 

In fact, 83%of full-time workers report they are actually more productive working remotely, according to research from Owl Labs

Time spent performing work tasks hasn’t decreased either; the same Owl Labs study found that 55% of workers said they worked more hours remotely than they did as in-office employees. 

Given increased output as well as working hours, then, there may not be much reason for employers to feel concerned. 

Whether you’re interviewing for a new role or asking a current manager if you can go remote, keep some data points handy. Then, share the information to allay concerns about lowered productivity. 

Do remote workers avoid distractions?

Remember the pre-pandemic days at the office? Everyone was shaking hands, grabbing lunch together, and chatting (sometimes distractingly) at each other’s desks.

There may be less hand-shaking these days, but one thing hasn’t changed: office distractions. Internal politics are unavoidable, but it can be easier to stay focused when coworkers aren’t randomly swinging by your desk with the latest gossip. 

If you’ve found that office noise has hindered your productivity in the past, you might want to tell your employer that working remotely would allow you to create an environment better suited to your needs. 

Even if your remote workspace includes children or pets, it could be easier to design a distraction-free workspace at home than it is in a busy office. 

For example, working remotely might allow you to retreat to a private room, use noise-canceling headphones, or pass off childcare duties to a partner.

How does remote work impact company culture? 

Whether you’re interviewing for a new role or attempting to change your current one, it’s also important to demonstrate comprehension of and appreciation for the company culture. 

One reason managers may be reluctant to approve remote work is that they fear a loss of office camaraderie. It’s mostly the responsibility of leadership to ensure a positive culture, but you as the employee can take action too. 

When you answer why you want to work remotely, make a point to highlight that company culture still matters to you. 

Give some examples of how you would help your team build a culture. 6Q highlights the “watercooler effect,” or the tendency for employees to gather and chat. Even if you aren’t seeing colleagues in person, remind leaders that there are plenty of ways to connect virtually. 

For example, as 6Q notes, you could start a team Slack channel for a casual conversation about more lighthearted topics. Or, if most employees are based locally, you might consider quarterly in-person gatherings. 

What Not to Tell Your Employer About Remote Work

Workin from home.

Regardless of your reasons for hoping to work outside the office, there are some things you should avoid telling your employer no matter what. Don’t feed assumptions about remote work leading to laziness or reduced workload. Professionalism still counts!

Here are some examples of what not to say:

  • “Working from home makes it easier to hit the gym during off-hours.” 
  • “I don’t want to wear business clothes every day.” 
  • “If I work from home, I can sleep in till right before my morning meetings.”
  • “I don’t get along with coworkers very well.”

You want to be honest, show off your remote work skills, demonstrate your research, and showcase other personal and professional reasons for your remote interest. If you only make it about yourself, you’ll probably not have the desired outcome you’d like. 

Find What Works for You and Put it All Together 

Every employee who wants to work remotely will have a slightly different reason for why. 

But if you explain your answer succinctly and directly — and also show that remote work won’t detract from productivity or the company culture — you will make a solid case. 

Remember to keep it professional, but don’t feel as if you need to hide your own needs. A good company will recognize that meeting their employees’ needs leads to a better workplace for everyone. 

Pending the manager or company stance, you may get a trial period, hybrid options, only Flex Fridays, or nothing. You’ll need to prepare yourself for the best and the worst of your request. From that point, you can decide your next move.

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About Todd Kunsman

Todd is the founder of Remote Work Junkie and has been featured in numerous publications like Business Insider, HuffPost, CNBC, and more. He’s been a remote work advocate for close to a decade and has been working remotely full-time for 5+ years. He’s also a marketing, personal finance, and music nerd 🤓

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