5 Steps To Approaching Your Current Employer About Telecommuting
A question I am often asked by people who would like to telecommute is “How do I approach my manager or boss about this subject”? Many people fear that if they suggest telecommuting or working form home occasionally that they will be viewed as “less than serious” about their job. Of course if your company already has a formal telework plan in place this is much easier but what do you do if they don’t?
Before you approach your boss or manager there are 2 main things you need to consider:
- Is my job right for telecommuting? If your job involves doing a lot of independent work that would benefit from being away from common office interruptions such as reading, research, number crunching, report or document writing or phone work then at least some portion of your job can be done outside the office. If your job requires a great deal of face-to-face contact or access to information or systems that are only available in the office then your job might not be a good fit for telecommuting.
- Would I make a good telecommuter? There are certain traits that help to make someone more successful at working outside the office. Successful telecommuters are usually self-starters who do not require a great deal of “hands-on” help from mangers or colleagues. You also need to be an organized individual with good time management skills. If you don’t have all these skills don’t worry, like any skills they can be developed over time. If you want to telework make sure to work on these traits.
Many companies have heard of the benefits of Telework but they are still likely to have fears or misconceptions about what is involved. Here are 5 steps you can take to approach this topic in a professional manner.
1. Go in with a plan, not a request. Do your research and be prepared to address any questions, fears or objections that your manager and/or boss might have. Put together a short proposal including:
a) Why do you want to telecommute?
b) From what location you will be telecommuting?
c) Is the space and equipment sufficient?
d) How will they know you are working?
e) How many days a week will you work from a remote location?
(Usually only a day or 2 a week to start)
f) How often will you be “checking in”
g) Why do you, in particular, have the skills necessary to work from home.
2. Think like a Manager or Supervisor. Approach this proposal/conversation thinking like a manager. Don’t explain how it will benefit you, instead focus on how it will benefit the company and increase your productivity.
3. BE FLEXIBLE! Don’t initially propose this as a permanent arrangement. Tell them you’d like to try it for 2-3 months with an evaluation at the beginning, middle and end of the trial to see how it is working. Then you can sit down and reevaluate it at the end of the trial.
4. Have measurable goals and objectives. How will they know you’re working? If you spend a lot of time preparing reports figure out how many hours or days you usually spend doing this. If you work in a customer service type position then track how many calls you put out to clients. The bottom line is to find some way to quantify your current level of productivity so you’re boss or manager will have something to compare it to.
5. Ease their fears with facts. When doing your research find recent statistics and articles about other organizations that have implemented telework programs successfully. It’s best if you can find those that pertain specifically to your job description. If you can show that other, similar companies are already doing it, then that reduces the perceived risk.
Phil Montero, “the Mobile Man”, is the author of “WORK AT HOME: The Telework Job Seekers Handbook” and founder of YouCanWorkFromAnywhere.com. Download a free chapter and sign up for his FREE 7 part email class on finding a legitimate work at home job. Just visit http://www.YouCanWorkFromAnywhere.com/ebooks/ for details.