Sure, this is a topic we’ve explored before from multiple dimensions (see “Yet Another Reason to Build a Case for Telecommuting” and “Challenging Telework Myths“). But here’s your chance to get advice for building a case for telecommuting directly from Chuck Wilsker, the president and CIO […]

Sure, this is a topic we’ve explored before from multiple dimensions (see “Yet Another Reason to Build a Case for Telecommuting” and “Challenging Telework Myths“). But here’s your chance to get advice for building a case for telecommuting directly from Chuck Wilsker, the president and CIO of The Telework Coalition, who has probably heard more excuses from managers and executives for not allowing workers to do their jobs from home than any other person alive. The Coalition’s mission is, “enabling and supporting virtual, mobile and distributed work through research education, technology and legislation.”

Lay out the reason you want to work from home. Wilsker suggests something along these lines: “I’ve been an employee for three years. I get top reviews. You tell me how important I am to the company. I need a little work-life balance. My kid plays soccer. Even if I leave the office at 4 o’ clock, I can’t guarantee I’ll be home for that game at 6. I’d really like to telecommute.”

Address the equipment issue. If your manager says, “We don’t have the equipment,” you respond: “You’ve given me a laptop already,” said Wilsker. “We have the technology in place. We have a lot of people who travel. Does it matter if the work is done from a hotel room or a home?”

Address your manager’s security concerns. “If you’re dealing with medical records or you have to comply with regulations, make sure you address that,” said Wilsker. That may mean learning how from others in the company who are already doing mobile work.

Consider the business continuity angle. “Ask your boss — especially if you live in the north where you have snow — ‘How many days have you had to close operations because of weather?’” said Wilsker. “‘How much did that cost the business?’”

If your manager hedges, make it easier to agree by reducing the commitment. “Say, ‘I’d like to try it for a 90-day trial. I’d like to do it one or two days a week. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll know then.’”

Put together an agreement. Include “what you’re going to do, when you’re going to be available, what hours you’ll be working, who’s responsible for what.” Assure your manager that your work computer will not become your home computer. Your kid won’t be running CDs from school on it.

Don’t use the “T” word. “Don’t talk about telework or telecommuting,” said Wilsker. He suggests using the terms “distributed worker” or “virtual worker.”

Point out that virtual work will cut down on presenteeism. “It’s like absenteeism — you feel like shit, but you still go into work,” explained Wilsker. “People are coughing and you have these people coming in sick, which can make other people sick.”

Supply statistics. “Show your boss how virtual work will help the bottom line, build morale, bolster recruiting and retention, provide life balance.” The numbers are out there for all of those things, said Wilsker. You’ll find plenty of additional artillery on the Telework Coalition web site.

What objections have you heard that aren’t already on the list?

By Dian Schaffhauser

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  1. [...] Read the rest of this great post here [...]

  2. [...] So You Wanna Work From Home? You Can Convince Your Boss [...]

  3. One benefit for some employers: Saving on office space. My employer was dealing with the demands of a growing staff and very little office space. Being able to hire me but not have to provide an office was helpful to him. And he’s been able to bring that to bear with the powers that be when arguing for more office space by reminding them that he’s hired off-site workers to help alleviate the space crunch. It always helps to be able to point out to a boss or potential boss the benefits and how they can use it to their advantage.

  4. [...] Business Ideas that Work If you have the itch to work from home but not as an employee, how about checking out StartupNation’s Top 100 Home-based Businesses? These are not mere [...]

  5. [...] So You Wanna Work From Home? You Can Convince Your Boss Sure, this is a topic we’ve explored before from multiple dimensions (see “Yet Another Reason to Build a […] [...]

  6. When you’re having trouble convincing your manager, the 90 day trial is a great idea. I had a 6 month trial that turned into 10 years and is still going.

    The best thing I think you can do though, is, don’t suck. I’ve never seen someone who’s a poor performer in the office suddenly get better out of it. Be a top performer and make this a perk you’ve earned. That way, when you propose that 90 day trial, it’s really a subtle hint that you might be leaving if you aren’t allowed to at least try.

    “presenteeism”, lol.

    Pete Johnson
    HP.com Chief Architect
    Personal blog: http://nerdguru.net

  7. Having been on the manager side of this equation, younger kids and working at home are almost never compatible. The other spouse will use the home worker as a baby sitting service. The home worker will swear that this won’t happen but it will happen, over and over and over. The constant interruptions from the kids will cause the home worker to make all kinds of mistakes in their work. Of course they will swear that this doesn’t happen, but simply compare the error rates from before and after going home.

    1. I disagree that younger kids and working at home aren’t compatible. One simply has to have the proper arrangements to set him/herself up for success. Childcare has to remain in place. Whether it’s a babysitter or nanny or an after-school program, one can’t plan on watching his/her children and working. That’s a lot to bear.

  8. Having a virtual office setup can be a very good thing for both the employees and the company — if everyone’s expectations (of the positives and challenges) are correctly aligned. In my recent blog post, I talk specifically about the 100% virtual office, but much of my advice within the blog post is also good advice to listen to within this situation, as well.

    Take a read: http://tpgblog.com/2007/11/14/the-virtual-office-you-belong-together/

    I would like to get some of your feedback my blog post, as well.

    Thanks & Enjoy!

    Jeremy Horn
    The Product Guy

  9. [...] of office jobs are still on-site jobs and telecommuting arrangements are often reserved only for the most persuasive rather than offered to anyone disciplined and effective enough to make remote work [...]

  10. What about having your boss agree to a 30 day trial? If it works out then you maintain your position as a virtual employee. Then you can use this time to prove how effective it can be.

    Fire Your Boss


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