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  • 10 Questions to Answer Before Asking to Telecommute

    shutterstock_150620258There’s no doubt that telecommuting is growing. Nevertheless, many managers are reluctant to allow employees to work at home, usually because of a lack of knowledge of how telecommuting can benefit everyone. Before asking your boss if you can work from home, prepare a written proposal that outlines your value to the company, your proposed schedule and work duties, and benefits your employer can get from allowing you to telecommute. Here are 10 questions you need to answer in preparing your work-at-home proposal.

    1. Would you hire you to work from home? Do you have the work ethic to get things done without the external cues that come from commuting to an office? Can you make yourself accountable to others who rely on you to do your job? Can you focus and avoid distractions?
    2. How valuable are you to your company? Telecommuting is a perk, not a right. Perks are earned. Identify areas you make a difference in your company. It helps if you can quantify your value such as how much your work has increased business or special recognition you’ve earned for a job well done?
    3. Does your company offer flexible work options and who, if anyone, takes advantage of them? Some companies already offer flexible work, but not everyone may engage in or know about it. Check your company’s HR manual for information on flexible work options already included. If your company doesn’t offer telecommuting or other flexible work option, it doesn’t mean it won’t consider it if you can make a persuasive argument in your proposal.
    4. Does your industry engage in flexible work options? While your company may not offer flexible work, other companies in the same industry might. Do some research to find out if other companies offer telecommuting and if possible the benefits they’re receiving from offering flexible work options.
    5. What duties of your job can be done at home? Is your job or parts of your job conducive to working from home?
    6. What does your telecommuting day look like? What days and schedule do you want to work?
    7. What equipment do you already have to work from home? What equipment would you need your boss to provide. The less your boss has to do or provide, the easier it will be to convince him to let you telecommute.
    8. How will the office be able to stay in touch with you? A lack of communication is a common problem in telecommuting programs. Staying in touch with colleagues and your boss will be crucial to your success.
    9. How will your work be evaluated? Telecommuters can’t be judged by how many hours and days they sit at their cubicle. In fact, manager fears about telecommuters goofing off instead of working is the prime reason many say “no” to telecommuting. Instead, you need to quantify or find other ways to show your work is being done.
    10. What benefits will the company reap by your working at home? There is a great deal of research that indicates telecommuters can save companies up to $11,000 per employee. You can show the benefits for your company by identifying problems areas your telecommuting will fix, such as reduced wait and strain on resources (i.e. parking, computers or the copier), reduced overhead, and increased productivity.

    Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She's appeared on CNN.com, Fox Business, Redbook and a host of other media outlets discussing telecommuting, home business and other flexible career option. She speaks regularly on career-related topics, including telecommuting, home business, marketing, personal development and authorship. Learn more about her at LeslieTruex.com.

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