Telecommuting – Photo Courtesy: pinguino k
Although just about everyone has fantasized about telecommuting during the morning rush hour, very few people manage to make working at home a reality. The number of people experiencing the benefits of telecommuting however, is slowly increasing. Provided you meet the requirements in terms of both your personality and your job description, there is little reason why you cannot be one of them. All you have to do is to get your boss on board with the idea.
Here are nine tips for doing just that:
1. Make Your Case
While it would be nice if your boss cared about your personal life, chances are he’s significantly more concerned with your productivity levels. Therefore don’t moan about your commute to work or your relationship with your kids. Instead you should focus on how allowing you to telecommute will actually make you a better employee.
Perhaps, working from home will make you more productive. Perhaps, your work will be more accurate without the distractions of a noisy office. Basically, you want to convince your boss that the arrangement will benefit him just as much as it will benefit you.
2. Keep it Short and Provide a Report
You don’t want to bore your boss with a thirty minute presentation on the advantages of allowing you to telecommute. Instead you should introduce and discuss the idea for five minutes and then hand him a short report outlining the benefits of your idea. The five minute discussion will serve as your pitch and it will give him the opportunity to raise any objections he may have.
The report on the other hand will explain everything in further detail, allowing him to sit down and think about the matter in his own time.
3. List Your Daily Tasks
You report should include a table outlining everything that you do on a daily basis and you should categorize each task according to whether or not it can be done via telecommuting. Doing so has two major advantages:
- For a start, you are illustrating that you know exactly what you have to do and that you understand what can and cannot be done at home.
- Secondly, it provides you with a simple medium to explain exactly how you are going to perform each task outside of the office.
4. Start with a Trial
A key part of getting your boss to agree to the idea is making it very difficult for him to say no. Instead of asking to start telecommuting permanently, you should suggest a trial period. After all, your boss has little to lose by simply letting you telecommute two days per week for a month.
During this time, he can evaluate how much you are getting done. After all, regardless of what benefits you describe, he is going to have his doubts and a trial period offers you the chance to prove those doubts wrong. Needless to say, your productivity levels on the days that you work at home should be significantly higher than those that you are working on the premises.
5. Explain How He Can Keep Tabs on You
As well as proposing a trial period, you should explain the many ways that he can keep a close eye on you while you are working at home.
- You should promise to be available via email and instant messaging throughout your entire workday.
- You should offer to send him reports of what you have completed at the end of every day.
- Propose weekly meetings, preferably in person, to discuss what you have achieved.
- You should offer to install one of the many pieces of software that would allow him to monitor your computer activity during your workday.
6. Set up a Home Office
Another excellent way of alleviating your boss’s fears about your productivity is to describe where you would be telecommuting from. Even if you plan on working on a Netbook with your feet up, you should have some sort of home office set up. That way you can both describe the professional layout of your workstation and invite your boss to check in on you from time to time.
Although it may sound like a small step, a photograph of your home office is a fantastic thing to include in your proposal. It demonstrates just how serious you are about the arrangement.
7. Prepare for Objections
Most bosses seem to reply with the same objections when an employee asks to telecommute and you should have answers to those objections already prepared.
- Nobody telecommutes at this company.
- If I let you telecommute, everyone will want to do it.
- You can’t telecommute because of your specific position.
Remember that your answers to these objections could easily determine whether or not you get what you want.
8. Don’t Look for an Immediate Answer
Although being willing to quit your job if you don’t get what you want puts you in an excellent bargaining position, it should always be the last card that you play. It’s also important to remember that regardless of how your boss feels about the idea, chances are that he will have to ask the person above him before he can allow you to telecommute. Therefore, don’t play hardball, at least not in the beginning. Tell him that he does not need to respond immediately.
9. Stay Calm
Finally, when it comes to getting anything from your boss, it’s essential to remain calm if you are initially turned down. Asking to telecommute is similar to asking for a promotion, a transfer to a different department or a raise. Just because you are turned down the first time does not mean that you cannot bring up the subject again within a matter of weeks. But you can only do so if you handle things professionally. Don’t lose your cool, no matter what you are told, and always end the conversation amicably.
Sebastian is an avid blogger who has written numerous blogs on business and education. He is part of the team at Charity Jobs Scotland and helps provide jobs through his website.