Getting your boss and HR to agree to teleworking can feel like pulling teeth. No doubt, you already know the benefits of working remotely but it can be hard to put that in a proposal that is appealing to management. If you're looking to make your case but you don't know where to start, try these tips below.
1. Explain how telecommuting will benefit the company directly.
"What can individual employees do aside from passively waiting to see whether or not there'll ever be interest from those at the top?" is a big question that has been asked of me as a telework advocate. Christine Bhatkar's post answers this question by outlining how to approach this diplomatically. Her post comes complete with a practical steps you can take to make the idea of establishing a remote work arrangement more palatable to key people in your organization. Read on!
One question telework advocates often entertain but can’t definitively answer is, “When will working anywhere and anytime gain more widespread acceptance?” Having researched this topic extensively, I’ve seen plenty of predictions that didn’t come to pass. Moreover, many are scratching their heads asking questions along the lines of, “Why hasn’t this happened already? We had the technological capability back in…” Yes, to a great extent, we are still working like it’s 1980. Furthermore, others muse that it will take a disaster of epic proportions (e.g., major natural disaster, pandemic, etc.) for the powers that be to change the way we work.
We know that new ideas and situations are scary to many, however I wanted to go beyond the scariness factor. Delving into factors that come into play with regard to coming up with a good, educated guess only opened up more issues to think about. Upon researching why it’s so difficult to predict if and when innovations gain acceptance, I came upon this wonderful explanation of factors which provided much fodder for thinking about the issue of resistance to telework. Excerpt: Continue reading →
Conventional wisdom posits that the needs of employees and their employer are at odds with each other, however this assumption is not necessarily true. A mutually symbiotic relationship granting employees freedom and flexibility while increasing engagement and, hence, productivity is achievable! Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People will force you to examine how you think about work as well as how we unknowingly support the current, conventional view of work through the establishment and use of flexible work arrangements. Conventional flexible work arrangements, by the way, can’t achieve what a results-only work environment (ROWE) can. Continue reading →
“But not everyone can work this way!” is the most common, instinctive response I hear when talking about telework (especially in a full-time capacity) or results-only-work-environment (ROWE). Through everyday conversations I learn about instances where a full-time teleworker had a difficult time working this way because the presence of a spouse or child at home was distracting. In such a case, I point out that teleworkers need to establish ground rules before attempting to work from home. Moreover, one can still keep daycare arrangements, enlist the services of a sitter, or work at a co-working facility if one is available. On the other hand, I’ve experienced working with coworkers who’ve constantly distracted me with non-work related issues as well (e.g., peppering me with questions about whether or not I want to have children for the umpteenth time), so working in a centralized office isn’t a definite solution to distractions. My conversation partner also pointed out that I’m just lucky to be able to function more autonomously and not need so much social support at work and that this is the reason why the benefits of telework speak to me so much. She followed up by saying that other people are not this way, but I already know that. Continue reading →
My previous post, The Move Towards Self-Employment, touched upon the decline of organizations. This post will explain and expand upon this phenomenon. Just over a couple of weeks ago, I attended an educational forum on effective teleworking in Walnut Creek, California. James Hall,Vice President of Sales and Business Development at CoreLogic, was the guest presenter. He works virtually and mentioned that meeting face-to-face with employees about once a quarter worked for him. Thus, he extolled the strengths of the virtual organization in stating that organizations that don’t work this way will be left behind.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this message as several telework authors I’ve come across have presaged this as well. For instance, William A. Draves and Julie Coates, authors Nine Shift: Work, Life, and Education in the 21st Century, noted that the sign of a powerful organization will no longer be represented by a tall, beautiful building but by how geographically and/or temporally dispersed it is. (You may read more about Nine Shift here.) Continue reading →
Upon first receiving Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive in the New World of Work, by Alison Maitland and Peter Thomson, I was a bit disappointed to see how skinny it was. After diving into it however, I realized that the information here is more about quality rather than quantity. In this book, Maitland and Thomson answered some lingering questions I had that I couldn’t seem to find answers to elsewhere. Are there any attempts to measure employee sentiment about telework internationally? Which countries and/or cultures are more receptive to a work anywhere-anytime system? Which aren’t? Continue reading →
Before delving into Mass Career Customization, I’d like to address a paper titled The Hidden Work In Virtual Work (click to download). It describes the high personal costs some remote workers have borne while trying to achieve work-life balance and maintain professional connections. I imagine that this paper can scare many away from the prospect of telework. However, note the limitations of this study. Like any good researcher, Heimrich Schwartz describes the methodology for collecting data. This study was based on information gathered from twenty-three informants who were recruited from the researchers’ social network. Therefore, like most qualitative studies, this study has a low sample size. Furthermore, participants were not randomly selected. Having drawn from their own personal network, participants are more likely to share similarities than if drawn from a pool that represents all remote workers. It is quite possible that their recruitment method did not capture the experiences of successful remote workers who thrive under this working condition. Continue reading →
The 1997 edition of The Information Age: An Anthology on Its Impact and Consequences, edited by David S. Alberts and Daniel S. Papp, was made available in pdf format and downloadable for free online. Click here to attain a copy. Updated editions (for 2004 and 2012) are available, however I wanted to check this copy out first and compare it to more recent editions later. As it turns out, I think that the information and predictions in the 1997 edition are still relevant and do a great job of explaining the Information Age’s impact on the way we work and live, job market trends, and how societal institutions will be shaped. This anthology is jam-packed full of interesting information, but I’ve elected to focus on the interesting forecasts made in the first part of this book. Continue reading →
In The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce, authors Christopher Rice, Fraser Marlow, and Mary Ann Masarech provide a thorough guide for organizational leaders interested in improving work engagement. At the outset, they establish that engagement is a unique construct that is distinguishable from satisfaction, motivation, and commitment. Furthermore, employee engagement is an individualized equation expressed as the combination of maximum satisfaction for the individual and maximum contribution for the organization. From there, they discuss particular industries (e.g., where there is a high degree of interaction with customers) in which employee engagement particularly impacts results. Additionally, the authors caution against assuming measures that have increased engagement in one geographic region would similarly increase engagement in another. Continue reading →
Julie Clow’s The Work Revolution: Freedom and Excellence for All is an engaging and practical guide written for organizational leaders and thinkers interested in the issue of optimizing organizational structure and culture to suit business needs in the Information Age. Towards the beginning of the book, she provides a comprehensive self-assessment quiz that covers various facets of the organization’s philosophy, the rules, leadership, team and coworkers, and the leader’s role. A chart is provided to record scores and the rating criteria is clear-cut, showing specific areas of strengths and weaknesses. The remainder of the book expands upon the subject matter covered in the quiz providing suggestions for improvement in the process. Continue reading →