Get Your Boss To Allow You to Telecommute

Posted on March 3, 2018 by

Before you even begin this process, take a step back and really think about what it would be like to telecommute.  Telecommuting is one of those things that sounds great –no more rush hour, work in your pajamas, don’t shower all day, better work-life balance but it also means possible distractions at home, need for extreme discipline, isolation from peers and friends, etc.  If the trade-off is worth it to you and you are still looking to telecommute, then it is important that you are able to sell your boss on the idea of letting you telecommute.


HR_Strange_But_True_Yahoo_CEO_Pulls_Plug_on_TelecommutingPresent a written and oral presentation to your boss.  A comprehensive, balanced written proposal and presentation is the most effective approach.  By providing a written proposal, this shows your boss that you have carefully thought about and researched this option and leaves them with something to consider after your presentation.  You will receive a lot of questions during your verbal presentation, so you may want to rehearse the presentation and even role-play with a co-worker or friend to practice responding to possible questions you will receive.  Better to be prepared as this presentation may make or break your telecommute options.


Focus on the benefit to the company and your manager, not on yourself.  Don’t frame your proposal in terms of how it benefits you but rather focus on the benefits it will bring to your employer.  This is not the time to discuss how it will help you spend more time with your kids or help with elderly parents or other personal needs.  Discuss how it will make you more productive, efficient and able to work more as you won’t be spending those hours on the road but will now spend them working. Focus on whatever you feel is the actual benefit to your employer.


Propose a trial period.  It is hard for someone to say no to simply try something.  By presenting an option for your boss with a specific deadline, it makes it easier to say yes.  Make them comfortable that if it doesn’t work out, you will adjust accordingly. It doesn’t help to put a gun to their head.


Build in accountability.  The key to success in terms of telecommuting is to improve your productivity.  A common fear is that this won’t occur if there is no one watching over you.  By building in specific accountability measures, you will be able to show your increased productivity and protect your ability to work remotely.  Keep in mind that working remote, oftentimes, means more communication from you than before.  Perhaps more detailed reporting of your activities.  While no one likes to be micro-managed, it typically is an integral part of this new working relationship.


Propose a schedule. It’s best to propose that you telecommute for only one or two days a week to start with. Some experts have suggested that Mondays should not be one of the days you propose for telecommuting.  But whatever you propose, be clear in your documentation to the boss what schedule you plan. You’ll probably want to pledge to be in the office for all staff/team meetings. You may want to provide a projected schedule of what each day’s work from home will be like.


Be reachable and flexible.  Your boss and everyone you work with should be able to reach you easily.  Set up a specific frequency for checking-in.  Pride yourself on over-communicating and returning each call quickly.  Perception is reality and don’t want others to think you are difficult to reach.  Make sure you have a professional, well-equipped workplace that is free from distraction.  Providing a picture of your workspace in your presentation would be helpful and even an offer to have your boss visit your workspace would be appropriate to make them comfortable that you are in a safe, professional work environment.


Address personal issues. Although you should never frame your proposal in terms of your personal needs, you must address how you plan to deal with those needs, especially if your boss is aware of your personal situation. First, don’t delude yourself into thinking you can care for very young children while also working for your employer in your home. Even if your ulterior motive for telecommuting is more time with your kids, you will need some kind of childcare arrangement while you’re working at home. Whether you’ve planned in-home childcare or a daycare facility, your boss needs to know that your children’s needs won’t distract you from work. Elderly parents may also need some sort of daycare arrangement.


Finally, if you’re turned down, don’t give up, but try a different approach. For example, volunteer to finish up a project at home over a weekend to show how efficiently you work from that venue. Or negotiate fewer days a week of telecommuting or a shorter trial period. If rejection of your telecommuting proposal is a matter of company policy, find out how much sentiment there is among your co-workers for getting the policy changed. If you hit a brick wall, consider seeking a job at a company that may be more receptive to a telecommuting proposal if that is important enough for you.

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Author's biography:

Ted co-founded KCM Solutions and now oversees all business development and client projects. Previously, he founded a financial staffing firm after working with a large investment bank. With passions in mountain biking and triathlons, he can often be found with bags of ice all over his body. When he isn’t training or onsite with our clients, he is still trying to figure out how to corral two, very active boys.

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