It’s no wonder more and more people are considering remote working as a lifestyle: maybe you’re fed up of spending long winters battling the kind of bad weather that makes it harder than ever to get into the office (not to mention dangerous to travel in); or maybe your car’s running costs, alongside parking and gas are getting just too much.
Perhaps you commute via public transport; leaving early to stand on an overcrowded train or bus, feeling tired all the time, and arriving at a noisy and stressful office where it’s hard to concentrate and get your work done.
At the end of the day, you rush out the door as soon as you can for the long journey back, getting home just in time to eat then fall into bed before doing it all over again the next day. – That’s if you can even afford to live somewhere decent within a reasonable distance of your workplace.
You’re happy enough in your job, you just wish there was a way you didn’t feel so anxious – not to mention exhausted to breaking point – at the end of every, single, day?
The good news is that there is more work from home careers than ever before.
If the old home-based jobs of filling out surveys and data entry don’t appeal to you, there are still lots of ways to have a home-based career that pays well.
If you work in an office and you could do your current job from home, then asking your employer is absolutely something you should consider.
It’s estimated that 3% of the U.S. workforce is made up of telecommuters, (defined as people who work from home half the time or more), and that number is growing all the time.
A lot of employers used to equate ‘working from home’ with a lack of commitment and productivity, but thankfully, that idea is starting to seem outdated.
Many bosses are now starting to see that the time spent getting ready in the morning, being stuck in traffic, and stressing out over finding a parking spot could be better spent in preparing for a busy day’s work instead, making for happier and more productive employees all round.
It’s not easy to know where to start when asking your employer though. It’s a daunting topic to bring up if you’re the first person to do it. You might be worried people will think you’re a lazy snowflake who just wants to slack off during the day with no one to keep tabs on you.
Check out our top tips for convincing your boss that telecommuting could be a great idea.
1. Look at the precedent
Start off by looking around at your current workplace, is anyone else already telecommuting? – If so, that’s great news as there is already a precedent for working from home at your company and they may already have an official policy. If you can, talk to that person about why they decided to work from home and how they came to get approval, this might give you some vital clues on how to frame your request.
2. Make it about your employer as well
Ask yourself why do you want to work from home? Is a long commute affecting your output during the day, or is the stressful and noisy environment hampering your ability to work more effectively? Will you be able to be more flexible in your working hours if you’re not rushing out the door to beat the traffic at 5 pm on the dot every day?
Find the ways it will be beneficial to your employer in order to sell it. Be prepared to have good reasons outlined with examples and feel confident about them before you start a conversation about working from home. Many employers worry about being seen as a pushover or opening the floodgates for an office exodus, so if your circumstances make you a special case, say why this is different.
3. Know what you want
Decide in advance if you want to work from home full-time or for just a few days every week or month.
Fewer days have a higher potential to be approved. However, there might be a negotiation, so start with more days than you want. Also, is there a sweetener that you could offer in the short-term, like spending focussed time on a big project that losing your commute would enable you to do?
4. Ask your HR representative
It might be worth asking someone in HR in advance if there is an official policy. You may want to be careful with this; you don’t want your boss to think you’re going behind their back, but knowledge is power. You might be permitted to telecommute already and not even realize. Look through your employment contract as well.