The Hourglass Method for Working From Home

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Tim Ferriss. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the hourglass method for convincing your boss to let you work from home? How do you use it?

Before you can work from home, you have to make a case to your boss. You can use the hourglass method to convince your company to let you work remotely.

Read more about how to use the hourglass method and start working remotely.

Hourglass Method for Remote Work

Instead of working up to full-time remote like the five-step method, in the hourglass method, you start by going fully remote, have a brief trial period of combo remote/in-house, and then go back to remote. Here are the steps:

  1. Come up with a reason that you need to leave the office for two weeks, for example, a family issue.
  2. Tell your company that you’d like to keep working during this time.
  3. Suggest that you work remotely. You can offer to take a pay cut for the remote period after it’s over if people weren’t happy with your work. However, never offer to take a pay cut again.
  4. Get your boss to help you figure out the logistics so she feels involved.
  5. Be more productive over the two remote weeks than you’ve ever been before.
  6. Like the five-step method, show your boss numbers that demonstrate how you were so productive and explain why. Suggest a trial where you work a few days remotely per week for two weeks.
  7. Be extra productive on the remote days and extra unproductive on the in-house days.
  8. Suggest you move to full-time remote work.

What If It Doesn’t Work?

If you’re an employee and can’t swing remote work, you’ll have to quit or get yourself fired, or else you’ll never be able to work fewer than 40 hours a week. (Getting fired is sometimes better—then you might end up with severance or unemployment benefits.) See Chapter 12 for some advice on how to leave your job.

The Hourglass Method for Working From Home

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  • The 4-step process to live a "retired" lifestyle now
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  • How to create a business that makes you money without sucking up your time

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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