Boyle Workman was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of William H. Workman (1839–1918) and Maria Elizabeth Boyle (1847–1933). He attended St. Vincent's College, which then stood at Seventh Street and Broadway. From his home in Boyle Heights, he rode horseback to school. In 1884, he entered Santa Clara College for a time, but returned to St. Vincent's College and graduated in 1887.
After leaving school, Boyle worked as a clerk for his father who was Mayor of Los Angeles from December 14, 1886 to December 10, 1888. When his father left office, Boyle worked as a clerk in the Farmers & Merchants Bank, and later was local manager for the Home Mutual Fire Insurance Company. In 1891, he worked as a draftsman in the Los Angeles City Engineer's office.
From 1900 to 1907, Workman was Assistant City Treasurer. He was a member of the Public Service Commission from 1913 until 1917. Two years later, on July 7, 1919, he was elected to the City Council and was chosen president of that body. In 1925, he became the councilman elected to represent the newly formed District 4, which included Pico Heights and the Wilshire ward, where he lived.
Workman served as City Council President, and Councilman of District 4, until 1927. He was also a member of the Finance Committee of the City Council. In 1929, he made a run for the Mayoral seat, losing in a close election. He was also actively involved in business, including ownership of the Monarch Brick Company, the fire insurance firm of Garland and Workman, and the vice-presidency of the American Savings Bank.
Workman and Martha Frances Widney (June 17, 1874–July 3, 1971) were married on November 17, 1895, in Los Angeles. Frances was the daughter of Judge Robert M. Widney (1838–1929) and Mary Barnes (1844–1924). The Workmans had two daughters, Eleanor Workman (March 24, 1897–February 29, 1972) and Audree Workman (February 3, 1904–August 1, 1932).
After he retired from official public life, Workman devoted much of his time to collecting data on the history of Los Angeles, a work that culminated in his book Boyle Workman's The City That Grew, a semi-autobiographical narrative that was published in 1936.
Boyle Workman died at age 74 of a brain hemorrhage in Los Angeles. He is interred in Evergreen Cemetery.