According to a study by nonprofit human resources research group World at Work, more than one out of three workers are “very interested” in telecommuting at least on a part-time basis. And about 60 percent of employers do offer informal teleworking programs.
There might be several reasons you want to work from home, but the key is convincing your boss to let you do so. So before you head into your manager’s office with the request, craft your pitch so it is irresistible.
Think like your boss. Just because working from home will be good for you, you will need to fully illustrate why it will be good for your company as well. “Your pitch should include why your request is beneficial to the company, and to your boss in particular,” says Lee Evans, author of the “Killer Work from Home Jobs” series and owner of Free-Job-Search-Websites.com. “ Explain the difference (increase in productivity, easier to attract and keep employees, less corporate overhead, improved morale and job satisfaction overall, if parking is an issue at the company, less traffic congestion). Your pitch should be employer-centric, not employee-centric.”
Give your boss the details. Explain fully just how you plan to do your work from home. “Provide your manager with a work-from-home checklist of the things that will make this work, and all the things that are already in place to make the transition run smoother,” offers Evans.
Don’t ask until you have proven you are a responsible employee. “Establish credibility. Your manager has to like you and, most importantly, trust you. They have to be confident that you will actually be working and not fooling around,” says Bruce A. Hurwitz of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, Ltd.
Let your job know you will be accountable. “Assemble potential options for creating a transparent work environment. Gather a list of web applications that will help managers monitor remote workers in real time, and be ready to address the pros and cons of each, such as Cisco virtual office technology,” suggests Evans. “Create a collaboration plan to show how you will be in touch at regular intervals, and how you can be reached at a moment’s notice. Include information about regular face-to-face meetings, at specific intervals.”
Ask to test it out. If your boss isn’t fully convinced, ask for the chance to show her how your proposal will work with a test run. “Suggest a trial basis run where you can demonstrate increased productivity (be specific in your examples, log your hours demonstrating uninterrupted work/flow of thought),” says certified professional life coach Carolina Caro.
Do your research. Don’t go in requesting flex time without having documented reasons why it will work. “If others are already allowed to telecommute, speak with them to make certain that when you ask for the same privilege that you can tell the manager that you know what is expected,” says Hurwitz. “There is plenty of research showing that employees who telecommute actually are more productive. Get the research and use it to make your case,” says Hurwitz.
Give your boss a deal she cannot refuse. Sweeten the pot with extra incentive. “Offer a win-win solution–As an example, take on an additional project or task at work that will help your manager and demonstrate how your work- from-home schedule can benefit the company,” advises Caro.
Explain why your current work condition is zapping your time and drive. “Come up with a list of things that are time suckers in your workplace that would be prevented by working from home (make sure to include things that would create buy-in from your manager–you need to be aligned with their opinion of activities that lower productivity in the workplace)–your commute could also be a factor,” says Caro.