If you've got a long or challenging commute to the office, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about the ultimate dream: working from home. There's just one problem: How do you convince your boss to make that dream a reality?
Telecommuting isn't just great for you; it can be great for business, too. So if you want to spend some, or all, of your work time in the comfort of your own home, you just have to remind your boss of the benefits a work-from-home program can offer both you and the company.
Here are 12 tips for convincing your boss to adopt a telecommuting policy, straight from employees who have done it and the employers who love it.
The perks your boss will love
It increases productivity.
"[With telecommuting], driven team members can operate during hours they are most productive. I can write at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m., for example, or work more in the mornings with technical and demanding tasks, and take meetings, follow up with leads and work on creative projects in the afternoon. This can also help night owls that can't be as productive during daylight hours or early mornings." – Kahshanna Evans, founding partner, Kissing Lions Public Relations
It reduces overhead costs.
"It's incredibly cost-effective! I have had telecommuters in the past and have saved, on average, about $12,000 a year per employee. That can pile up, especially over a few years and [with] more than one telecommuter." –Jarred Saba, CEO, Lease Advisors
It helps businesses retain employees.
"Allowing the flexibility and understanding of wanting to work from home improves employee satisfaction, ultimately helping a company retain talent. This idea of talent retention has become important as the economy switches to a job seeker's market. Also, being open to the idea of having employees work from home, even if just part-time, attracts younger talent seeking work flexibility to balance work and personal life." – Tonya Lain, regional vice president, Adecco Staffing [50 Companies That Will Let You Work From Home]
It means hiring the best talent, anywhere.
"Hiring people who work from home can extend your talent pool to [find] the best candidates regardless of geography. Also, if the business relies heavily on customer service and sales, being able to hire people in different time zones helps you to provide more customer-service coverage, or extend your sales territory without having to rent or build office space." – Brian Reynolds, director of online content, FlexJobs
It means fewer sick days.
"The employee is less likely to be absent from work due to illness, because working from home reduces stress, allows more time for exercise (again, due to elimination of commuting time) and decreases exposure to germs." – Cynthia Calvert, founder and principal, Workforce 21C
Your employees can work longer.
"I'm never late to work, since I don't have to commute. And, perhaps also a surprise, I actually work longer. My wife and I have the same business hours, but she still has to commute. So, the 40 minutes she spends on the road each day, I spend on work." – Jason Biddle, product data specialist, USImprints
And as an added bonus, with fewer employees commuting and using electricity and other office resources, it makes your business more environmentally friendly.
How to approach your boss
Make sure it can work.
"Make sure it is a viable option before you proceed. If your position requires a great deal of personalized communication, either with co-workers or [with] clients, it might not make sense." – Carly Fauth, head of marketing, Money Crashers
Work it into your goals.
"Find out what's most important to your boss. Is it that you make more sales phone calls? Is it being more creative in your designs? Find out what your boss's goal is for you, and then explain how remote working will help improve your chance of hitting those goals. Ultimately, if you can make their job easier and less stressful, that's what they will be looking for." – Nathan Gilmore, co-founder, TeamGantt
Present a thought-out plan.
"When I approached the manager of my team about working from home, I presented a written plan of action and expectations. My plan indicated the resources and technology I had available to support telecommuting, current research on the benefits of telecommuting, and how I intended to resolve issues should I incur a problem while working off-site. I also provided [an explanation of] how I would safeguard proprietary information." – Dawn C. Reid, senior personal growth and relationship coach, Reid Ready Coaching
Tie it to your scope of work.
"Offer to work with customers, colleagues and vendors that are based overseas. Doing so will necessitate your working at odd hours of the day. Most employers are fine with accommodating your working from home to take calls with overseas resources, and this will get your boss used to your working remotely out of necessity. After this, it will become much easier for your employer to let you telecommute, in part because you've already proven that you can." – Joseph Terach, CEO, Resume Deli
Do a trial run.
"If you want to pitch telecommuting to your boss, the key is to start with a small ask. Propose trying it out on a small scale first. This will give you and your boss the time you need to see whether or not it's a good fit." – Hannah Wright, vice president of marketing, QuickMail.io
Establish a system.
"[For an employee] to work from home effectively, a company must have clearly defined daily or weekly objectives for the employee working from home. In addition, to ensure the employee feels part of the team, a company must have a regular means to communicate — Skype, IM, email, phone calls, texts, videoconferences, etc. Furthermore, employees must understand how what they do impacts the company. Companies that focus on the deliverables have significantly more success with people working from home than those that instead try to monitor the hours the employee actually works." – Tiffany C. Wright, president, The Resourceful CEO