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Get Your Boss to Say Yes to Telecommuting
As employees and businesses increasingly recognize the benefits of telecommuting, the number of professionals working remotely has grown dramatically. By many indications, the practice seems here to stay.
A recent report by technology research firm Gartner Inc. revealed the number of employees worldwide who work from home at least one day a month reached 82.5 million by the end of 2005, double the figure from 2000. Gartner predicts this number will grow to more than 100 million by 2008 as technology continues to advance at a steady clip.
A survey conducted by Robert Half International mirrors the forecast: 87 percent of executives polled said there will be increased telecommuting in the coming decade. While the proliferation of high-speed and wireless Internet access has made telecommuting much easier than in the past, many professionals are adopting this work style not only because it's convenient, but also because it allows them greater work-life balance. In addition, rising gas prices and lengthy commutes have made working from home -- or even cafes and satellite centers -- an appealing option.
If you'd like to work remotely, you'll need to show how the arrangement is good not only for you but also for the business. If you are uncertain about how to approach your boss, consider the following steps to create a convincing argument:
1. Gather the facts.
Start by contacting your human resources department or consulting the employee manual to determine whether your company has a telecommuting program already in place. If one exists, you can build your proposal on actual policies. Of course, you may discover rules that prohibit or limit telecommuting. If this is the case, tap your professional network to identify people who have worked remotely and ask them what steps they took to secure the arrangement.
2. Consider all angles.
Although telecommuting presents many benefits, remember that not everyone performs well outside the office. The best candidates for telecommuting are self-disciplined, feel comfortable setting priorities and deadlines, and are able to work independently with minimal supervision. In addition, some tasks, such as graphic design or research, lend themselves more easily to telecommuting than others. If much of your work requires face-to-face contact or ongoing access to equipment and materials that are situated only at the office, you may want to reconsider this option.
3. Prepare a written proposal.
If you are convinced telecommuting is right for you, make your case in writing. A written proposal enables your boss to consider your ideas carefully, demonstrates forethought and underscores your commitment to the proposition. It also serves as a crucial tool if your manager must obtain approval from higher-ups. Your document should include:
4. Consider alternate proposals.
If you think your boss will resist the idea of you working from home, consider proposing a trial period. You can even suggest an "out" clause that enables either of you to discontinue or adjust the arrangement before the end of the trial if the situation proves problematic. Convincing your company that you are a good candidate for telecommuting is only half the battle. Once you begin working from home, you have to prove the arrangement continues to benefit both parties. Here are some strategies:
If the possibility of working from home appeals to you, put together a case that indicates how such an arrangement could benefit you and your employer. By considering all aspects involved, anticipating your manager's concerns and continuing to demonstrate the advantages of telecommuting, you may soon find yourself among those who dial, rather than drive, into work.
Robert Half International Inc. is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 330 offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. For more information about our professional services, please visit www.rhi.com.
Copyright 2008 CareerBuilder.com. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.
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