Apr 26, 2017 3:04:13 PM / by Melanie Cain & Cassandra Czech
We’ve all been there – scouring the web for the best tips and tricks on how to ask your boss for a raise. Maybe you present a portfolio of all your accomplishments since you began your role, or showcase a spreadsheet on how you’ve saved the company money in the last year. But how do you approach your employer about implementing a remote work policy? Working from home is growing in popularity, with more and more employees pushing for the option. And for good reason – many professionals talk about the “double standard” that exists in their organization: Key projects being moved to offshore teams to save company money, but no effective strategy in place to allow employees to work 30 miles away from their own home. Here are some strategies that can help you convince your boss to implement a work from home policy:
- Know your facts
Although remote work is a relatively new concept, studies are showing that there are numerous benefits of telecommuting—and not just for employees. Companies with work from home policies in place are finding cost savings, lower turnover, better engagement and higher productivity. By opening the conversation with concrete examples on how working remotely can benefit the company, you will be much more likely to get (and hold) your manager’s attention.
With cost savings being a top reason companies choose to outsource overseas, organizations are also finding these savings exist when they give their employees the option to work remotely. For example, the US Patent Office found that they saved $11 million in real estate costs over a decade by allowing employees to work from home.Allowing remote work has also shown to decrease unscheduled absences (which can cost companies up to $3000 per employee per year) by allowing employees to still be productive when sick, not spread their sickness to others by coming into the office, and avoid losing a full day of work when they have appointments.
Besides cost savings, productivity and engagement seem to be the leading factors that are motivating employers to allow telecommuting. A 2016 Gallup report looked at how many days a week 7,000 US workers worked from home, while also asking questions on “engagement” and “satisfaction” The report showed that workers who spent 3-4 days working at home were the MOST engaged. In fact, it turns out that those employees are 1.3 times more engaged than the employee who reports to the office daily. On top of engagement, a Stanford study showed that employees who work from home are 13 percent more productive than their in-office coworkers.
- Give your boss an outline of your average week
If you plan to set up a meeting with your boss, hand them a well-written proposal. This should outline your proposed in-office and at-home work hours, the structure of your average workweek, strategies for effective communication with them and the rest of the team, and proposed solutions to any telecommuting hiccups that might arise. Remember to include how you plan to achieve company objectives outside of the office, and why working from home can offer you the means to achieve objectives in your proposal. Your employer will appreciate the thoroughness of you planning, and mapping out what you are really looking for will really help you visualize your long-term goals. Depending how your proposal is received, it may also give you insight on how your interests align with the company and may shed some light on whether it is time to move on.
- Inform your boss of why remote work is important – and how you plan to balance everything
Working from home can be especially important if you have young children, a spouse with a sporadic/inflexible schedule, or the responsibility of caring for an elderly or sick loved one. While remote work should not just be limited to those caring for others, it can be especially attractive to those who are. If the needs of your loved ones are what is prompting you to push for change, you can include it in your proposal. For example, “By cutting down my 2-hour daily commute time, I can start work an hour earlier and finish in time to pick my kids up from school.” But don’t make it all about you. Instead, include how you plan to manage the situation so you can get your work done: “Instead of sitting in traffic from 8 to 9 am, I can get the baby to daycare by 7:30 am and return home to start work by 8 am.” It also doesn’t hurt to include some key facts to support these topics –“Cisco found in a 2009 study of their remote work policy that 60% of time saved commuting went back to into work.” Real, solid data and actionable solutions are the key to getting this plan accepted.
- Suggest a trial period
Before you start working from home, remember it is not for everyone. You must be disciplined and able to avoid distractions, while being confident enough in your role to know what needs to be done without being micromanaged. But if you know remote work lines up with your productivity style and your boss is still on the fence after your conversation, suggest a trial period. This will give you the chance to prove yourself, and let her see some of the benefits of working from home listed above. Once you’ve been given the acceptance to work from home, show your boss that you will complete your projects as quickly and thoroughly as before (and maybe even quicker), communicate as effectively when you were in the office, achieve measurably strong results, and accomplish all the same tasks you did before.
If the pull for remote work is strong for you, you aren’t alone. In fact, 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time, with this number expected to grow. If you find yourself feeling resentful that your company doesn’t currently have a work from home policy in place, consider broaching the subject yourself. You may be surprised at the support you get throughout the organization. Go ahead and plan a remote work proposal during your next performance review and start the conversation. What do you have to lose? Nothing except maybe that 7 am traffic gridlock.