February 27, 2012
Convincing your boss to let you work from home
In the past, some bosses considered “working from home” a euphemism for “doing errands” and only allowed it in the event of major plumbing or medical emergencies.
Fortunately, progress in technology has made it possible to stay in your PJs and also be productive.
Besides the occasional blizzard, dentist appointment or teacher conference, there are uniquely modern motives for working remotely, such as needing to get kids to and from various activities, wanting to reduce gas consumption and carbon emissions, and avoiding the spread of contagious flu germs and viruses.
In fact, with all the hurdles employees face simply getting to the office five days a week, the potential for costly absenteeism and inefficiency is definitely cause for employer concern.
Here’s some encouraging news for potential telecommuters: 42 percent of U.S. employers allowed staff to work remotely in 2008, up from 30 percent in 2007, according to a WorldatWork survey.
Even the commander-in-chief sees value of telecommuting. Back in 2009, before a massive snowstorm paralyzed much of the northeast United States, including the nation’s Capitol, President Barack Obama saw the value of having a strategy in place for telecommuting, and pledged to expand telework for federal employees.
If you aren’t already working for an enlightened employer, here’s a surefire way to get even the most stubborn boss to let you give telecommuting a try.
Focus on what’s in it for them. Studies have shown that stay-at-home workers are actually more productive than their cubicle counterparts and they report higher rates of job satisfaction, according to a New York Times Magazine story.
You might add that companies with telecommuting programs have found it helps increase employee retention, which reduces a company’s costs of hiring and training new employees, according to WorldatWork.org.
Now that you have her attention, don’t lose it. Because you have done your homework, you can point out what kind of technology it will take to allow you to access your office files and programs from home. You have researched your company’s VPN capabilities or you’ve taken a free trial of a remote computer access system, like LogMeIn or GotoMyPC, and can assure your boss you will be equally, if not more, effective working from home.
Make him an offer he can’t refuse. So, he’s impressed with your preparation and seems to be wavering. Here are two things that can seal the deal. First of all, suggest a trial period. How can any reasonable person argue with that? Secondly, and this is important: You’ve been carefully reeling him in with your well-laid out scheme, so don’t blow it by asking for your work-at-home day to be a Monday or a Friday. A Tuesday or Wednesday is best -- at least for now.
Now that you’ve prevailed, don’t be a stranger. Congratulations, you’ve earned the right to work in bunny slippers. Now you just have to prove you can be an asset to the team even when you are working offsite.
Make yourself known. Be productive and efficient. Utilize meeting technology and other virtual office software. Whatever you do, don’t let them forget about you -- or you can forget about your telecommute... and possibly your real one. Good luck.
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