Both working dads and working moms want more time with their family, even as they fill the role of provider. Yet men, more than women, are under more societal pressure to work full time.
That means job sharing or other part-time options are less-accepted and rarely used among them.
And the otherwise viable full-time work option of a compressed workweek (four, 10-hour days) may be a tough sell if 10-hour days, five days a week, are the cultural work norm in your department.
So dads, seriously consider asking your manager for a telecommuting arrangement instead.
Are You a Good Telecommuting Candidate?
If your full-time employment is at an outside office doing so-called “knowledge work,” you may be a suitable candidate for doing your current job from home during part of the workweek.
Here are 3 reasons why a telecommuting arrangement could payoff for you:
1. There’s no cut in salary or benefits.
Telecommuting allows you to retain your regular, full-time schedule so there’s no need to sacrifice pay or benefits in exchange for more flexibility and time.
2. Your visibility can be maintained.
Most telecommuting arrangements are initially negotiated for one or two days a week, so you can still maintain an acceptable level of the “face-time factor” on your at-the-office days. (Face time should not be used as a measure of productivity, but unfortunately some managers don’t know that yet!)
3. You get more time with your family.
Telecommuting from a home office can be a savvy way to carve out several more hours each week to be with your family. How?
- by cutting the commute
- by scaling down your extended workdays
- by trading de-stressing time for family time
Let’s look at some specifics.
You Save Hours of Commuting Time
How many hours? If you successfully negotiate to work from home two days a week—a common telecommuting arrangement—you would cut out four time-draining commutes.
Figure out how many saved hours a week that yields for you. What family-bonding activities could you do with your kids in those chunks of time?
Start by showing your manager that you can do some of your job remotely using the latest technology. For example, do a free trial of remote access software or have your IT people set you up for remote access. The reality is, you’re already staying very connected to the office via phone, email and texting and the like.
You Can Scale Down Some of Your Extended Workdays
You know what I’m talking about: The days that stretch for 10+ hours as you work on a crucial project or a pressing deadline.
How does telecommuting whittle down the workday?
Double-digit productivity gains are well-documented among employees who work from a remote location. (This is a selling point with your manager.)
Working at home virtually eliminates all socializing and many interruptions. That means greater concentration, better workflow, less time wasted, more productive work output in fewer hours.
Result? You recoup those lost dinner hours with your family, at least some of the time.
You Can Shift an Hour of Daily De-stressing to an Hour With Your Family
Long days at the office and stressful commutes deliver a weary dad to the doorstep. Sure, you’re home from work. You’re there. The kids are there. But when you’re feeling tense and your energy is drained, it’s hard to really “be there” with them, right?
You may need an hour or so of peace and quiet—alone—before engaging with your family. More lost time…
Yet when you reap the combined benefits of the two other pay-offs you just read above, playing or reading with the kids at the end of your less-stressed telecommuting workday may be the perfect prescription for the work-to-home transition time.
Put it all together and you can see that telecommuting works in winning ways for you and your kids.
The Way to Make the Request is in Writing
The productivity pay-offs of telecommuting will likely appeal to your manager, yet here’s the nagging question s/he wants answered before approving your request to work from home:
“Exactly how will your work get done under your proposed telecommuting arrangement?”
A written proposal detailing the answer and your specific plan for making it work is the best way to address your manager’s concerns.
With the [Proposal Package] template, it was easy to just plug in the pieces that related to my job…I was well-prepared with a strategy and ready answers to my boss’s questions and concerns. Bottom-line: my telecommuting proposal was approved. Thank you. Brad Palmer, Atlanta, GA
Dear Pat, I’m on my way to telecommuting! Your proposal worked like a charm. [It] provided me with the correct framework to tailor my telecommute request to my personal and professional situation. It was money well spent…thank you…Ron Herber, American Water Heater, Johnson City, TN
Do you want less stress and more time with your family? Take action now with the first step toward making telecommuting a reality for you. Got 2 minutes? You can copy the first page of your telecommuting proposal now.