Unless you have an especially close friendship with your boss, requesting a transition into telecommuting will take serious, professional persuasion. If you want to convince your boss to let you work from home, follow these eight major steps toward successfully requesting a work-from-home arrangement.
1. Think About It
Working out of your home is much different from working in the company office. Your freedom will be nearly unlimited, your face time with co-workers will reduce significantly (if not altogether), and yet, regular communication with them will become absolutely crucial to your ability to perform well in a telecommute position.
Because telecommuting will change many aspects of your job, before hinting at your desire to start working from home, ask yourself if telecommuting is even feasible:
- Can you really perform all of your duties outside of the office?
- Do you have the necessary equipment to work out of your home?
- Is your company able to accommodate telecommuting employees?
- Are you often expected to attend work meetings?
- Have you demonstrated reliability and high work ethic in the past?
If you can’t quite wrap your head around how your job will change when you start working from home, look over this article, “10 Tips For Working From Home”. Although a couple of these tips only apply to business owners, most should give you a decent idea of what you will need to successfully telecommute in your existing position.
2. Write a Proposal
Once you’ve determined that your office job can successfully transition into a work-from-home job, consider writing a formal proposal that presents your request in a professional document. Your boss will likely have much to consider before deciding whether or not you should perform your duties away from the office. By laying out those considerations in a written proposal, you can give your boss the opportunity to easily go over your reasoning, your supporting arguments, and your specific plan for transitioning to telecommuting.
3. Give Solid Reasons
Sleeping in, losing the business dress code, and working wherever you want are big perks to work-from-home positions. Unfortunately, these perks likely don’t serve as good enough reasons from your boss’s perspective to change your work-in-office arrangement. You’ll have to present reasons that solve actual problems or introduce significant benefits to both parties.
Of course, this is easy if you have a genuine problem or concern with working in the office. If you are a parent, for example, and your kids need to be cared for, or you’re caring for an ill loved one, your work-from-home request will be simple to defend. You also have solid reason to telecommute if your current commute is extremely timely, costly, or both.
If you don’t have such a strong reason, however, you’ll still need to come up with one. Maybe your job requires a lot of creativity, and your performance is hurting due to constant interruptions in the office. Just remember; whatever reason you give your boss, make sure your request to work from home makes sense for both you and the company.
4. Make the Case for Yourself
When you’ve narrowed down your best reasons for transitioning into a work-from-home arrangement, develop a list of facts and stats to prove that working from home will truly deliver the benefits you expect. Try to find relevant studies that relate to your given reason, and find studies that prove your specific duties can be performed outside of the office. As long as you present valid arguments and statistics, you can back up your request to work from home and answer challenging questions before they even arise.
5. Suggest a Trial Run
Your job may be perfect for telecommuting and your credibility may be sparkling, but your boss will still be taking a risk if you start working from home. Reassure your boss that you understand the company’s point of view and you’re willing to prove your claims by working from home on a temporary trial run. Your boss will find it more difficult to say no.
In addition to making it easier for your boss to say yes, asking for a trial run will help you make the most out of your new working arrangement. Trial runs inherently serve as testing periods that show you how you can tweak the arrangement and smooth out any bumps before expecting your boss to make a final decision. Once your ability to successfully work from home has been tested and perfected, how can your boss argue against it?
6. Describe Multiple Work-At-Home Scenarios
Make sure your boss understands that you’re open to discussing various work arrangements by describing multiple work-from-home scenarios. You could propose, for example, that you will work from home four days per week, and spend one day in the office. Another possible agreement is that you will primarily work from home, but promise to attend any required in-office meetings.
You could propose that you attend meetings virtually via videoconferencing software or an online meeting room. With today’s telecommuting options, you can be face-to-face with colleagues while relaxing on a sunny beach. Today’s technology enables these sorts of possibilities; take advantage of them!
7. Explain How the Company Will Benefit
Your boss will find it easier to let you work from home if you can explain specific ways this will actually help the company achieve its goals. Do you believe you will become more productive? Then explain why, back it up with stats, and ask for the opportunity to prove it. Can’t think of possible benefits for the company? Check out this list of telecommuting benefits.
8. Prepare for Challenging Questions
You may present an incredibly thorough proposal, but your boss will inevitably still have questions in response. Make sure you are mentally prepared for the challenge. Don’t take questions as a sign of failure. Instead, accept them as additional opportunities to prove your case. If your boss asks a question that you can’t answer on the spot, be ready to admit it and promise to return later with a concrete answer.
When you’re fully prepared to make the case to your boss to let you work from home, set up a meeting to discuss your request. If your boss is hesitant to discuss it, explain that you have researched the topic and would appreciate the opportunity to make your case. Your preparedness should impress, and hopefully, get you on your way to a work-from-home arrangement!