How to make your case for teleworking

Lynn Patra:

“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!

Originally posted on Third Workplace:

working remotely

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. If it means you don’t have to write an expense report then bring that up. If it means you can log on earlier each day then mention that. Most businesses want to know how it will affect the bottom line, so be sure to highlight any cost reducing benefits. Try putting together cost/benefit analysis.

2. Include recent studies that show the benefits of working remotely.HBR recently posted an article that talks about the benefits of telecommuting. Bring these studies with you to…

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Living With or Leaving the 9-to-5 Lifestyle?

Many of you are already familiar with the living-for-the-weekend mindset and with how fleeting weekends seem to be. As soon as another weekend creeps up, it’ll soon be over and you’ll be dreading Monday all over again. For those who experience an intense level of anxiety and stress on Sunday nights, the following tips and coping strategies may be worth trying:

To those suggestions, I’d add: Try to keep the situation in perspective. Indeed, there are worse life situations to be in, and there are plenty of people out there who have it much worse. However, the question of whether you should focus on accepting the situation or trying to break free and create a work-life that you have more control over is a personal one. Some questions you can ask yourself to clarify if making a break for freedom is for you: Continue reading

Thoughts on the “This or That? Work-Life Preferences” Survey

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance (Photo credit: Tanja FÖHR)

If you haven’t yet participated in the “This or That? Work-Life Preferences” survey, then you may do so by clicking here! This survey is ongoing. Although just a handful of people have given voice to their preferences so far, these early results have taken me by surprise. I anticipated that there would be a diversity of preferences reflecting the diversity of participants themselves though. Some of the participants explained their choices to me through private messaging conversations which confirmed what I anticipated. The following are just some of the factors that impact people’s preferences. Continue reading

This or That? Work-Life Preferences Survey

From each of the following 4 pairs, select one answer:

This survey is based on: Continue reading

Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it

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

Towards Recognition of Individual Differences and a Less Standardized Work World

“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

Office Robot Avatars for Telecommuters

Which do you think is likely to occur first? Sophisticated, remote-controlled, look-alike robots becoming affordable to the average person or full-time telework (for jobs that can be done remotely) gaining widespread acceptance? I’ve often wondered this. If it’s the former, and since I’m petite in stature, I imagine I would stash my stand-in double in the workstation’s coat closet so it would be ready to warm that office chair bright and early! I’d command it to work, and I’d collect the paychecks from afar. I’ve often shared this fantasy in jest without knowing, until recently, that this idea has manifested into reality in the past several years. It’s called telepresence.

The following are video clips of such a robot developed by Willow Garage, and it seems to run smoothly. Continue reading

A Less Mentioned Benefit of Telework: Why Pet Owners & Animal Lovers Should Be All Over This

There are a number of benefits to teleworking that may already be familiar to you because they are reiterated time and time again. However, I will quickly summarize them for those who are new to this subject matter:

For employees who can telework and work well this way:

  • Can save thousands of dollars annually that would otherwise go towards gas and office clothes
  • Improves work-life balance by freeing up 1-2 hours (or more for those who commute even further) so that employees have the option to get right to work instead of wasting time in rush hour traffic as well as being able to get necessary errands done without a hassle (e.g., picking up kids from daycare/school)
  • Under a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) where work can be done anywhere, anytime as long as the work is done on time, employees can lead a healthier lifestyle by not having to stay sedentary for 8-10 hour time blocks (includes commute time).

For employers:

  • Reduces real estate costs (for the physical space itself as well as additional costs of maintenance and utilities)
  • A more decentralized workforce allows business to continue during emergencies such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc.
  • Employees who are well-suited to telework are more engaged and productive working from wherever they want, instead of at the office, which adds to the bottom line
  • When recruiting, employers can hire the best people for the job regardless of their geographic location
  • Having this option for employees enjoy more freedom and flexibility at work improves recruitment and retention, reducing the cost of turnover

For environmental conditions:

  • Less congestion for those who must travel to work as well as reduces wear and tear on deteriorating freeway infrastructure from having so many people utlizing it during rush hour
  • Although there’s some debate over whether or not teleworking employees make up for not having to commute to an office by driving elsewhere, a reduced need to build additional office building space and expand freeways does mean a decreased carbon footprint
  • The more we can curtail the growth of our freeways and buildings as our population grows, the more space we leave for wildlife Continue reading

Mass Career Customization: Aligning The Workplace With Today’s Nontraditional Workforce

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 Virtual Manager: Cutting-Edge Solutions to Hiring, Managing, Motivating, and Engaging Mobile Employees

If you are looking for a guide to managing a virtual workforce that expands upon human resources procedures beginning from hiring the right people, to helping them succeed in a virtual position, to helping someone transition back onsite if the arrangement doesn’t work out, The Virtual Manager by Kevin Sheridan does exactly that. This book opens up with a thorough explanation of the advantages of having a virtual workforce (e.g., the business case – enhancing the ability to recruit and retain talent as well as increasing worker productivity). However, it also addresses the inherent challenges of effective communication. Continue reading