How to Telecommute Long-Distance and Full-Time
Sometimes, I get an inquiry like this: “I’m interested in your Telecommuting Proposal Package, but will it work for me if I’m moving to a distant city?” The answer is yes, the Package is adaptable to that situation. Jonathan Crane, who got approval to work 1800 miles from the main office, is a good example.
I had to tailor the proposal for my needs because I’m moving across the country. The response was overwhelmingly positive: I was granted full time telecommuting…[and] I received special compliments for the proposal as it addressed the concerns of the CFO directly, and that’s what really sealed the deal. Jonathan Crane, Royalty Analyst
Find more inspiring examples just below this related Q & A.
Dear Pat: I just read your advice about how many days working from home to request when proposing a telecommuting arrangement. My situation is different; I want to move from the Boston area to Charlotte, North Carolina, (where my wife has family), and still keep my current job.
We had our second baby six months ago, and with the cost of full-time child care and living expenses in general, it makes sense to make the move south. If we do, my wife, a full-time accountant, could probably work part-time, which she’s been wanting to do since our first child was born.
I don’t have a new job lined up yet, but it occurred to me that I could do my current job as a credit analyst from just about anywhere. In other words, I want to telecommute full-time, far from my employer’s headquarters in Boston. (I figured could fly to Boston a few times a year, if needed.)
Would your Telecommuting Proposal Package work for me in this situation? ~ Ready to Relocate
Dear Ready: This is not the typical application of the Telecommuting Proposal Package, and it is a tougher one; the chances of approval are lower than the usual request to work remotely from home part of each week.
I’ve given some examples below where it has worked well—a couple of analysts included—but first, here’s some advice specific to you.
1. Can you stall the relocation for a few more months? If so, gauge your chances of approval for nearby telecommuting and if you score well, propose to work from home now, three days a week. Your effectiveness in that trial period will lay a solid foundation for your pitch for full-time, long-distance telecommuting from Charlotte.
2. Your wife could use the same tactic in her current job. Otherwise, she should start exploring job opportunities in North Carolina. I highly recommend FlexJobs for finding legitimate telecommuting jobs.
3. If waiting three months is not possible, and you plan to make the move anyway, you have nothing to lose by asking. In fact, if you’re ready to walk away no matter what, you’re in a strong negotiating position. So go ahead and make the pitch. Press for a three-month trial period, at least.
Can Full Time, Long-Distance Telecommuting Get Approval?
Yes. When your manager understands that your work is something you do, not somewhere you go, approval for the trial period will follow. (But some managers don’t get it, so you should also be exploring job opportunities in the Charlotte area, no matter what.)
Here’s Some Inspiration
At the risk of sounding promotional about my proposal product, I want to encourage you that a detailed proposal—whether your own from scratch or my fill-in-the-blanks template that is the core of the Proposal Package—can get you where you want to be: working remotely, full-time, in an affordable city.
“I moved from Houston to Abilene, Texas [375 miles away] and still wanted to work for my employer. They were not willing until I submitted the [Work Options] proposal to the COO of the company.
I will work from 730 AM to 4 PM Monday thru Thursday and off at 1330 on Fridays…I put in the proposal exactly what I wanted and they gave me everything. Thanks.” Marc E. Amberson, Master Trip Support Specialist, Licensed FAA Aircraft Dispatcher and Aviation Expert, Abilene, TX
Marc told me he’d worked for his employer for 15 years before he moved. And it sounds to me as if his job is quite specialized. These are favorable negotiating factors, so the proposal’s role was to show how the new arrangement would work. And it did.
Baby boomer Janet wanted to telework from about 100 miles away from her employer to be closer to her elderly parents. She works for the federal government which has telework policies, but she still had to make her case for working remotely on a full-time basis.
“With your [Proposal Package ] guidance I prepared a strong document that convinced management to approve my request. Thanks—it made a tough sale much easier!” Janet (preferred first-name only), Management Analyst, Mississippi
Brad’s job was in a call center which was adaptable to remote work.
“I wanted to telecommute full-time in my current job because I was moving to Atlanta from San Francisco. With the [Proposal Package] template, it was easy to just plug in the pieces that related to my job. It also made me really think through what I needed to do to get approval; 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
This next example involved a director-level administration employee, raising the bar for getting approval:
“My husband and I are leaving Alaska because of his new job in another state.
I work in healthcare administration and really wanted to continue working for my employer after the move.
I’m so thankful I came across Pat’s telecommuting proposal template package. It gave me the tools to start a strong conversation with the company’s leadership. I found the proposal package very intuitive, and it was full of opportunities to use data to support my ideas.
My supervisor said my proposal to continue my director-level work remotely was ‘impressive’ and ‘comprehensive.’ In the end, I got approval of a six-month remote transition plan while they recruit for my position.
Pat’s template allowed me to create a remote working arrangement to support me and my team through the transition. That alone was worth FAR more than the cost of the proposal.” Amber Jordan, IA, PMP, Fairbanks, Alaska
Michael is a financial services consultant who lived on the east coast and wanted to relocate to Colorado.
“I purchased your product as I was looking to relocate to part of the country where my employer does not have a office. Using your proposal I was approved to transition from full time in the office to full time remote over a four-month period after a 45-minute meeting with my manager and a quick conversation with our CEO. Thank you.” Michael Pouliot, CFA, CAIA
This request for far-away telecommuting won over four higher-ups in three layers of management for first-time-ever approval:
“[My immediate boss] was impressed…Unfortunately, she was not the final decision-maker …Our VP…was very impressed with [the proposal’s] professionalism, detail, references and quotes…he needed to talk to his boss (the Senior VP) and the CIO (about feasibility of technology and security issues…).
Two days later my VP told me that while he had never allowed an employee to work from a home office and that the idea was very progressive, his answer was “Yes!” The Senior VP and CIO had both approved my proposal.
I am walking on air and still can’t believe my dream has come true! I truly couldn’t have made a better impression without the help of [your Proposal Package. It] gave me the tools I needed to pursue this alternative work arrangement with confidence. Thank you…” Shannon Bryant (got approval to telecommute from Maine), Healthcare Analyst, Chesterfield, MO
So know it can be done and getting approval is a real possibility. Give it a go and let me know how it turns out.