Let’s say you really want to work remotely from your home but your boss isn’t so keen on the idea. How do you get the big boss over to your way of thinking?
Granted, some jobs really require your presence and telecommuting is out. You can’t phone in a surgery procedure if you are a heart replacement specialist. But there is at least some element of most every job which can be done at home. That being the case, how do you take your work at home dream and turn it into reality?
My head of operations had this exact challenge several years ago. He wanted to work from home two days a week but I was against it. Ultimately he changed my mind and turned me into a “work from your home” fan. You can follow his lead and turn your boss into an advocate as well. This will work if you want to work full-time from home, just a few days a week or even if you want to get approval for a phased retirement. Here’s how:
The number one reason why your employer wants you in the office (assuming it’s a job that can logically be done at home) is because he or she wants to make sure you actually do your work and do it well. You can allay this concern by doing an amazing job at work well before you even bring up the idea of working from home.
Show initiative. Deliver 110%. Demonstrate how responsible, resourceful and dedicated you are. Be super productive at work. If you do this, you’ll actually enhance your bargaining power in two powerful ways. First, you’ll erase the “slacking fear” your boss has. As a result she won’t be able to use that as an excuse. Second, you’ll become so valuable to your employer that she won’t take the risk of turning you down.
2. Make it easy.
Think about the work process and your responsibilities and how you would handle them if you work from home. Don’t ask your employer to figure all this out – she won’t. But if you come to her with a plan on how you are going to work efficiently and effectively, it will be hard for her say no.
Think about customer service, the mail, phone calls, managing others and inter-office communications. Because the state of technology is so advanced right now, it’s easy to find solutions to most of these problems.
Before my head of operations talked about working from home, he suggested that we use cloud computing to host our computer services rather than keep our servers in-house. He didn’t argue for this because he wanted to work from home. He presented the idea to help solve the business problem we were having of computer maintenance. This was a win-win. It was a smart move that really helped our business and it helped him too.
This leads us to the next point……..
3. Forget Yourself
Don’t try to convince your employer to allow you to work from home because it’s something you want. Of course be honest about it. But when you present your case, talk about all the ways this move will benefit your employer. Wondering what those benefits are?
A. Working from home is far more productive for many people than working in the office. When you work at home, you won’t be interrupted as much and you won’t be able to interrupt others either.
Don’t ask your boss to take your word for it, show her the proof. The American Psychological Association found that people who work from home have greater job satisfaction, better job performance, less stress and lower turnover in a study they did in 2007. CompTIA Research did another study in 2008. In it, they found that 67% of the companies that allowed employees to work from home said their staff was more productive.
Why? Because if you don’t have to battle traffic every morning you avoid a stressful commute. You aren’t exposed to sick co-workers. You sleep and eat better and you’ll be happier.
B. This move also saves on office space, infrastructure and maintenance costs. It all adds up to putting more dollars in your employer’s pocket.
C. You’ll save on commuting costs, clothing and food (plus enjoying the perk of being able to work from home). This all translates into a getting a pay raise and increase in benefits – all without costing your employer a dime.
D. Because people who work from their home don’t have constant supervision, they often “uber” perform. Why? Because they know they have to prove that they don’t need to be under a microscope.
E. According to Entrepreneur magazine, companies that allow staff to work remotely save $10,000 per employee. And according to the magazine almost 3 million American employees work mostly from their homes. More and more employers are opening up to the idea. A study by WorldatWork concluded that 42% of all employers allow some staff to work from home.
Share this information with your employer. When you approach her, do so emphasizing the benefits to her rather than to you. Suggest that you both give it a try for 90 days without making any promises or commitments for the future. Last, don’t push your boss to the limit. Suggest you work from home one day a week during this 90 day trial. That way, there isn’t all that much risk for the boss.
If you’ve done your homework and deliver the goods, the experiment will be a success and your boss will realize it. After the 90 day period, your boss will probably be the one that suggests that you continue and expand the idea.
Do you think that other steps might be more persuasive? What are they?