You’re a professional. A smart “knowledge worker.” So doesn’t it frustrate you to drive daily to a desk that’s miles and miles and too-many-minutes away from home, only to use a computer and a phone to get most of your work done?
Precious time blown; gas burned; stress brewed in rush-hour traffic. And to think you could bypass all that and be more productive at home, or anywhere else.
Do you want to know what keeps you from telecommuting? There are three main reasons, but it’s time to kick them to the curb so you can enjoy working from home. Start taking action today, and you could be telecommuting within weeks from now.
It’s Not the Technology
We’re way past that barrier. It’s mainly a management issue. It’s employers and managers who have not yet embraced the business strategy that is telecommuting, also known as telework, remote work, virtual office or mobile office.
Whatever you call it, there are far too many supervisors who only know a “face-time” management style and thereby thwart the strategic use of telecommuting. Even though working remotely benefits both employer and employee in several well-documented ways.
What’s the ideal scenario? To have an enlightened employer that embraces flexible work arrangements as a business strategy, promotes a flexible culture, and provides management-by-results training.
My guess is your employer isn’t there yet, right? That leaves you facing three common reasons why you’re still not telecommuting. Here they are, and how you can take action to resolve them.
Reason 1: There’s No Policy for Telecommuting Where You Work.
No surprise here. While progress is being made in many companies, your employer, like millions of others, has been slow to embrace telecommuting in a formal way.
How to Resolve It: Don’t wait for your employer to catch on; devise your own “policy” now. If you’ve worked for the same manager for at least one year (which builds the trust factor), take the initiative and present your request to telecommute using a professionally-crafted proposal.
Thousands of employees have negotiated a one-on-one telecommuting deal with their respective managers, without benefit of a policy. You can, too. Use a quick assessment exercise to gauge your chances of getting your manager’s approval to work from home.
Reason 2. Your Manager Puts a Premium on “Face Time” and Wants You in the Office Every Day.
How to Resolve It: Here are a couple of tactics that can change your manager’s mind.
First, make it very clear that your request is not to work from home every day.
Most employed telecommuters work from home one, two or maybe three days a week and go to the office the remaining days. You’ll propose the same. Plus you can stay very “visible” to your manager and coworkers using the phone, email, IM, web chat and texting, just as you do now.
A second tactic—and probably more crucial to getting your boss’ approval—is to stress the trial period for your telecommuting arrangement. A trial period is three to six months long.
Your manager may not like the perception of losing control (“How do I know you’re working?”), yet wants to be reasonable in giving your request to telecommute a fair chance. Knowing that she can change her mind allows you to move forward instead of having the door shut on the proposal altogether.
The trial period gives you time to prove the arrangement is, in fact, workable and highly productive.
Reason 3. You’re Afraid to Broach the Subject of Telecommuting.
In other words, you’re afraid to ask, or afraid of a “no” if you do ask.
Fear of asking is less of an issue among men, but it’s been a common thread I’ve observed among otherwise very accomplished professional career women.
These are women who are confident and capable in their work, yet they convey that asking for a flexible work arrangement for themselves is something they shouldn’t do, or something they don’t deserve, or something that might have very negative consequences, usually along the lines of threatening the professional relationship they have with their manager.
But guess what? It’s not true. The real problem is women’s perception of these things.
According to the authors of Women Don’t Ask, as a “result of powerful social influences,” women have an “impaired sense of entitlement” and they often “assume that they are stuck with their circumstances.” So they refrain from asking for what they want. Sound familiar?
How to Resolve It: Among the ways to build confidence to ask for telecommuting, rehearsing your proposal presentation is a research-backed tactic for overcoming nervousness to negotiate.
Questions: Which of these three reasons ring true with you? Among the solutions presented, which action will you take to move closer to being a telecommuter?
Takeaway: You don’t have to wait to start telecommuting because of common reasons that are resolvable. Take the actions to resolve them.
The Fastest Way to Get Flexible Work Approved
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