When you're ready to start telecommuting but your company doesn't have a policy covering how you will get started, it's time to take things into your own hands. You need to think about what it would take to make it possible for you to telecommute and why they should allow it. You will need to present this information to your boss.
The first thing you need to do is brainstorm. Think about what you do all day in the office. What can you do from home? What will you have to return to the office for? What are the advantages to your employer.
Do some research on how other companies handle people in your position telecommuting. It can be very helpful if you can point out that others with your responsibilities can successfully telecommute. If you cannot find this information you still have a chance that you can get your telecommuting proposal approved, but it may be a little more challenging.
Your telecommuting proposal should start by reminding your employer of your accomplishments for their company. You need to show that you are a reliable worker who does not need constant supervision. You should also share why you would like to telecommute, but keep it professional. A dislike of your commute or wanting more time with your family is not going to help your case. In fact, mentioning your kids will probably make it less likely that you would be allowed to telecommute, as this would create a concern that you would be too distracted while telecommuting.
Next describe the benefits to your employer. Statistics show that employees are often more productive. You will also need to take less time off work. You can find some great information on telecommuting from Gil Gordon that may help to build your case. Solid information is key. If acceptable to you, you can offer to take reduced pay or benefits in exchange for telecommuting, but you may not need to do this. However, if you are proposing reduced hours or responsibilities, you should suggest something along these lines.
Now you will want to cover when you will be telecommuting. There are very few jobs that can allow 100% telecommuting, so you will want to know how often you will need to be in the office. You should suggest a trial period where you work perhaps one day at home at first, then increase the number of days as you prove that you are productive when telecommuting.
Make sure to include accountability measures. You will want something you and your boss can agree upon for what makes you a successful telecommuter. You will probably need to email reports to your boss so that he or she knows what you have accomplished. You will want regular evaluations during your trial period so that you and your boss can work out what is going well and what needs improvement. Decide how often you will need to check in with the office. Make sure the office can reach you as well.
Review your job description. This is where brainstorming your job duties for what can be done from home versus in the office will come in handy. Make a chart of this information so that your boss can clearly see that it is possible for you to balance the two. If any changes would need to be made, you will need to explain and justify why this would be best.
Equipment can be a very important part of your telecommuting day. Many companies now have an intranet and you will need a way to log into it from home. You might need a second phone line for business calls. You will need to discuss who provides the required equipment.
Security and protection of data is very important to all companies. You will need to show how you can keep their data safe. If using your personal computer at home, this means having a firewall, virus and antispyware protection. This also means keeping it safe from others in your household. You may be best off setting up a business login on your home computer to limit access to your work data.
Be prepared to discuss any personal issues that may be relevant, but do not emphasize them as a reason to allow you to telecommute. Your boss is probably aware if you have small children or someone you need to care for at home, and will want to know how you will keep from letting that interfere with your work. If you can provide yourself with a quiet office in your home, do so!
You can find a free sample telecommuting proposal from Judy Wolf. It's in PDF form, and since it was created in 2002, I would suggest using it only as a reference. If you can update the statistics to a more recent year for your own proposal, so much the better.
How to Propose Telecommuting
One of the tricks to getting started as a telecommuter is getting your boss to agree to let you telecommute even part of the time.
Your Telecommuting Presentation
Along with your proposal you may have to make a presentation in favor of telecommuting. Here's some of what to expect.
Getting Comfortable with Telecommuting
Think a job with telecommuting privileges is your dream job? It isn't for everyone. It can be very challenging and not always what you might expect it to be.
Copyright © 2003-2018 Stephanie Foster unless otherwise indicated
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