How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home
Here are some suggestions for how to talk to your current or future employer about letting you work from home as a telecommuter.
Working from home has many advantages: from being able to balance parenting and work-related demands to cutting back on commuting expenses and simply being able to focus clearly and get more work done. Here are some suggestions for how to talk to your current or future employer about letting you work from home as a telecommuter.
If you're self-motivated, responsible and have good boundaries, then telecommuting from home one or two days a week may be a viable option if want to improve your cash flow, be kinder to the environment and reduce the stress and strain of a long drive or ride into work.
If your workplace doesn’t currently have a telecommuting program in place, you may need to put a proposal together to convince your boss that:
a) telecommuting is a wise move that will save the company money in the long run; and
b) you are the most qualified staff person to start telecommuting.
Half-time telecommuting could reduce carbon emissions by over 51 million metric tons a year – the equivalent of taking all of New York’s commuters off the road.
Here are some suggestions for how to talk to your boss about the possibility of working from home:
- Look at it from your boss’s perspective; in other words: What’s in it for the company? Telling your boss how wonderful working from home will make you feel won't be as compelling as providing a clear, concrete analysis of how telecommuting will increase the company's profits and productivity.
Suggest a trial period with a clear set of goals and measurable outcomes. Identify 5 – 10 projects or activities that you would be able to work on from home, then identify specific target numbers for what you think can be achieved.
Propose a reasonable work schedule. For example, if you were to work one day a week from home, what day would be the best choice? Friday and Mondays are not recommended as work from home days because it creates a longer gap in between working at home and reporting back to the office. For example, if a crisis pops up in to office on Friday afternoon, by the time it is relayed back to you at your home office and you have a chance to troubleshoot, the work week may already be over, leaving two more days that the problem will be left unsolved. If however, you worked from home on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the longest anyone would have to wait to meet with you in person would be one business day.
Do your research. Find relevant newspaper articles, reports and published research that support your case for telecommuting. What are the business experts saying on the subject? The more external evidence you can add to your proposal, the more objective it will look.
- Show your boss what telecommuting will look like. Illustrate, through photos, what your home workspace looks like. If your boss has never been to your home, he or she may have a hard time picturing you working from a home office. Part of making your boss feel comfortable with trying telecommuting is eliminating as many unknowns as you can. Letting you work from home represents your employer surrendering a certain amount of control over your work environment. He or she needs to be able to envision you working in a clean, tidy and professional workspace.
Propose phone and e-mail guidelines. Make sure you agree on core hours of work, so you’re your boss and co-workers can reach you as needed during the day. Discuss how you will separate your personal phone line from your work phone line. How will messages from people who call you at the office be relayed to you? Will your phone number be given out to anyone who calls or will there b certain boundaries in place?
Check your insurance policy. What does your home insurance policy cover? Are there any limitations on commercial use of your property? While the risk to your personal safety and well-being while working at home is relatively low, it’s always a good idea to cover all your bases. What would happen if you were injured while working at home? Who would be responsible? Your manager is going to want answers to these questions too, so the more proactive you can be in addressing his or her questions before they arise, the stronger your proposal will be.
These are just a few of the points that you will need to consider before bringing up the subject of your company letting you telecommute. Indeed, working from home would be an immense privilege that won't be granted lightly. You'll need to show that you are a competent and capable of managing your workload independently. Approach your request to telecommute with the same positive attitude and professionalism that you would bring if you were to ask for a raise.
What do you think would be the biggest challenge about working from home?
© 2012 Sally Hayes