Now that you know what it takes to get approval of a telecommuting arrangement at your current job, you’re hot to make it happen, right?
You can’t wait to cut your commute to close to zero; you envision a blissful scenario of working from home five days a week, with occasional trips into the office for meetings.
Or maybe you plan to propose telecommuting five days a week to give you wiggle room to negotiate fewer days—just in case your manager rejects an all-out full-time work from home arrangement.
Wise strategies? Or career peril? Let’s take a look.
(Note: For this discussion, we’re not addressing telecommuters who live outside of normal commuting distance from the main company office; independent sales reps; or certain contracted workers. By default, most of these individuals operate out of a home office on a full-time basis.)
Telecommuting: Who’s Doing What and Why
First, consider the norm. Most employed telecommuters work from home part of each workweek, say, one to three days a week, and go to the office the remaining days.
The reasons to show up regularly at the office may be many and varied, but here are two common ones.
1. Show Face
Right or wrong, “face time” still has measurable impact on how you and your work are perceived.
If those measures are missing the mark, or if direct access to co-workers and influencers are not frequent enough, you could miss out on crucial information and opportunities that maintain and advance your career.
That makes regular “appearances” at the office each week an important piece of your telecommuting plan’s success.
Most managers, however willing they are to allow their employees to work remotely, still want face-to-face communication on a regular basis. It gives them a degree of needed comfort and control.
Bottom-line: Your manager is likely to be more agreeable to your proposal to telecommute if you suggest one or two days a week working from home to start.
2. Ease Isolation
Most distributed teams use digital collaboration tools, but that’s not enough to keep some full-time remote workers from feeling isolated.
What about you?
- You’re motivated to avoid a miserable commute: check.
- You work well independently: check.
- You plan to use tactics for tempering isolation: check.
But the reality is, working from home by yourself five days a week, all year round, could make you feel downright lonely.
Bottom-line: Going into the office two or three days a week helps to keep telecommuters feeling connected with colleagues and energized about their work.
Telecommuting Proposal Strategy Tip
All things considered, I suggest you initially propose one, two, or at the most, three telecommuting days per week.
To allow room to negotiate, propose two or three days a week so you can compromise if necessary to reach agreement of one or two days.
Here’s a quick case study from one of my customers to inspire and encourage you.
“A year ago, I used your method to secure a one day telework arrangement, which at the time was a first for this department. Last month, I submitted a new proposal to extend that arrangement to two days and just heard that it’s been granted effective immediately (with the potential to add a third day in three months).
My manager specifically mentioned how he appreciated the formal proposal; it demonstrated to him that I had fully thought through what I was asking. Thank you—you made this so easy!” Kacie Harkins, Product Development Manager, The Chickering Group, An Aetna Company, Cambridge, MA
If your manager is apprehensive about your request to telecommute, consider it a success if you get agreement to work from home one day a week.
Choose mid-week; Wednesdays are a good place to start if they otherwise coordinate well with your meeting schedule.
Better yet, get agreement for a core telecommuting day with the option to occasionally switch it on an as-needed basis.
After a successful trial period of three to six months (a year is too long), you can then make the case to add another day or two.
As appealing as full-time telecommuting might seem at first, aim for a healthy mix of working at home and at the office. It’s a recipe for flex success.
Make Your Request to Work from Home with Confidence
To move forward with your request, fill in the blanks of the template inside my proven Telecommuting Proposal Package.
It’s the #1 seller at WorkOptions.com and has equipped thousands of other professionals like you to get a ‘Yes’ to their request. Learn more.
If you can’t wait to get started and want to be done with your proposal by tomorrow, order and download it today.
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