WORKPLACE / FEB. 05, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Convince Your Boss to let you Telecommute

Telecommuting can have numerous positive implications for a worker’s work-life balance. However seeking out flexible working opportunities can be hard nowadays given that employers are concerned that teleworking can negatively impact on the workplace culture of the firm. Companies such as Yahoo and Google strive to reduce the amount of employees telecommuting as much as possible, because a large part of these companies’ success “depends on the frequent exchange of novel ideas between workers”.

If you want to make the case with your employer you will need to present credible facts and well-supported arguments before negotiating with management. With proper planning, it's possible to negotiate a work from home position that will make you more productive and efficient worker.  

Here is how to make it work…

Show Dependability

Before you ask to work off-site, you will need to establish yourself as a conscientious and dependable employee. This is of course not a privilege you can generally expect as a new hire. It is vital to firstly evaluate your work ethic and figure out whether working from home is right for you. Telecommuting isn’t necessarily ideal for everyone. Some people are really great at self-motivation, while others find it better working in more of a traditional work environment in order to get in the work mood.

Emphasise the Benefits

What’s more, point to value added reasons to telecommute and even provide concrete examples and statistics that support your argument. Look for value not only in your work life, but more importantly the company’s in order to make a strong case. As an employee, you need to show your boss how you will actually carry out more tasks or projects, achieve better results and make more progress on significant projects while being physically away from office.  

In addition to this, explore aspects of your job you can use to save the company money. Examine whether your benefit situation allows you to swap certain benefits for the ability to work from home. For example, you could consider trading your sick days or the pre-paid gym membership as leverage for working at home.

Be Accessible by Harnessing Technology

Another important thing to do is to evaluate your primary duties and determine whether telecommuting helps to perform these duties properly. Determine whether the nature of your allows you to perform all the duties remotely before approaching your boss.

On top of this, remember that one thing many managers fear when their employees start working from home is that they won’t be able to communicate with them effectively.  Figure out whether you have the equipment and space at home to telecommute properly. Are there specific pieces of equipment that are housed only at the office or could you effectively perform every aspect of your job from home? Using interactive software tools like Skype,Go to Meeting, Viber etc connecting with other employees shouldn’t be too difficult, If part of your job involves meeting with certain employees.

Also, make sure you have done the necessary spatial arrangements because if you are going to maintain a level of professionalism, you can’t work from the dining room table -you will need a designated office space in your home.

Evaluate Your Relationship not Only With Your Boss, but Other Employees too

Bear in mind that a telecommuting position will work only if you maintain an open communication and a relationship of mutual respect with your boss and everyone around you. Make sure your boss trusts your opinion and sees you as an expert in your field and that your colleagues understand why you need to work remotely. A well-connected employee who clearly shows his contribution to the company will be able to maintain harmony at work even in his physical absence.

Offer Alternatives

If your employer is used to seeing you day in, day out at the office, he might be hesitant to give his consent to a full-time work at home schedule. So offer some alternative options that will make him feel more comfortable. For example, you might work 3 days in the office and two full-time days at home to start. Once your boss sees that you're productive and reliable when working from home, you just might walk into a full-time, telecommuting position.

All in all, gathering well-grounded facts, arguments and a description of the ideal scenario for telecommuting before scheduling an appointment to talk with your boss, can be a stepping stone towards taking your career to a new level. 

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