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You're Ready for Telecommuting Employment? Is Your Boss?
Getting Your Boss to Say Yes to Telecommuting Employment
Before approaching your supervisor about telecommuting employment, do your homework. Keep a log of what you do on your job for 2 weeks. Divide the tasks into 3 columns: work that can be done at the alternative work site (usually home),work that can only be done at the office, and work that could be done either on or off-site. If the tasks in the ‘alternative work site' comes up short, you need to re-think telecommuting. If it is fairly long, you may have a good case for telecommuting employment.
Telecommuting is becoming more and more prevalent! An added note for those wanting to telecommute. I've read many articles out there on the benefits of telecommuting on workers. (And the companies they work for!) Stress levels go down. That's HUGE. Just think how many diseases are affected or even brought about by high levels of stress. I've read that everything from cancer to heart disease can be aggravated by stress. Not to mention the mental health toll! How many cases of mild to moderate depression are brought on from overly stressful jobs, too much time away from family and having to go back to work so shortly after having a baby! Antidepressants are handed out like candy anymore. If folks could work at home, they might have time to add exercise to their day, plan better, more healthy diets eating at home too!
So…to get started on your attempt at telecommuting…
* Consider your department's needs and concerns your supervisor might have about telecommuting. How is telecommuting employment going to make his/her job easier/better, meet the department's needs, enhance productivity, impact costs, etc.? These questions need to be answered before you approach your supervisor.
* Figure out in advance as many technical details as possible. What equipment would you need, what would it cost, is it compatible with your alternative work space?
* If you plan on using your own equipment, what expectations do you have from your supervisor regarding reimbursement for it's use/repairs and for other costs relating to telecommuting employment?
* What type of schedule are you seeking? How will you arrange for supervision, what will be your “core hours” in the office? How will you work to stay “connected” with other team members at the office?
* What does your alternative office site look like in terms of safety and efficiency? * If dependent care is needed , what plans do you have to ensure that telecommuting employment does not look like a substitute for child or elder care?
* If you have answered all of the above questions to your satisfaction, fill out a Proposal for Telecommuting (see sample) and request a meeting with your supervisor.
* If your request is denied, find out precisely what your supervisor's concerns are to see if you can do anything else to make telecommuting a reality. If the answer is still “No,” remember that telecommuting is a supervisory option and not an employee benefit or right. You need to accept the answer as “No” or consider looking for another job that is more appropriate for telecommuting.
Here is a sample telecommuting employment proposal you can present to your boss.
I, ___________(Name)___________________________, am requesting to telecommute with my job as ____________(Job Title)__________________, beginning on _______(Date)____________. Potential impact of my telecommuting on my department may include the following (e.g. impact on operations/work flow, potential advantages, potential disadvantages): _________________________________. The schedule I would desire for telecommuting is: _______________________________________________ My alternative work site would be: _______________________________________________ A description of this alternative work site is: _____________________________________________ (eg. a spare bedroom with door away from most family activity that is well ventilated, has good lighting, many electrical outlets, phone jack, etc.) Equipment I would need from this department would include: ______________________________________________. Equipment I already own and am willing to use includes: _______________________________________________ .My expectations from the department to support me in telecommuting are: ______________________________________________ (e.g. provide PC, fax, modem, telephone line, pay for insurance on equipment). My expectations for supervision are: _______________________________ (e.g. frequency, how work would be reviewed). Check one: ______ I do not have dependent care needs ______ I do have dependent care needs that are met as follows: __________________________________________________ I would like to review my telecommuting agreement in _______ months to determine its effectiveness on my job performance. Thank you for your consideration. ______________________________________
There ya go! Just a bit of a push in the direction you'll want to be going in when you approach your current employer. Be prepared to answer questions and be honest. In some cases – it's just not possible for the employer to allow you to work at home.
Of course, there are many tools out there for you. Never get too discouraged!
No matter what you decide to do – whether it's approaching your current boss about telecommuting, starting your own business, starting with a direct sales company or finding a different job altogether – don't lose sight of why you're doing it. Knowing what you want is great – but knowing why you're doing it will take you the distance. Spending more time with your family might be worth a financial decrease in the income you currently make. Be able to care for an elderly parent by having a more flexible schedule might be the reason that gives you the gumption to go in and ask for that telecommuting option. Motivation is key and being realistic is essential.