How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work From Home

by Kate Lister on 4 April 2014 (2 comments)

Sponsored by Skype — Use Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.

Over 80% of employees say they’d love to work from home at least part of the time. Bosses on the other hand, well, not so much. But employers are starting to come around. Regular telecommuting has grown by nearly 80% since 2005. Why? It saves companies money. A typical employer saves over $11,000 per year per half time telecommuter. That’s news you can use if you want to convince your employer to let you work from home.

But first, you to need to deal with the elephant in the room. You have to convince your boss you will be working when you’re at home. “How will I know you’re working and not sitting on the sofa eating bon-bons?” That’s the question that stands between you and work-at-home bliss, so let’s tackle it head on.

Presence Does Not Guarantee Productivity

Since the 1950s management experts have been telling us that the key to maximizing employee potential is to define goals, give employees the tools they need to meet those goals, and then get out of their way. Sadly, the majority of managers don’t do that. They mistake presence for productivity. That’s why they’re threatened by the work-at-home trend.

But the reality is that study after study shows telecommuters are 15% to 55% more productive than office workers. Why?

  • Because there are far fewer interruptions when they’re working at home.
  • Because telecommuters typically spend about half the time they would have otherwise been stuck in traffic, actually working.
  • Because they feel empowered by being trusted.
  • And because they see telecommuting as a good gig and don’t want to lose the privilege.

What you need to do is to show your boss that you understand this. Show you know how to set goals and that you expect to be held accountable for meeting them. Slackers need not apply.

Technology Needed to Communicate and Collaborate

Next, you need to help the folks you work for understand that, thanks to technology, virtually being there is almost as good as really being there. Using a variety of inexpensive tools and technologies, you’ll be able to communicate with your team members throughout the day. Communications is the key to successful telecommuting. It’s when your boss and your colleagues don’t hear from you that their minds start to conjure images of golf courses, couch surfing and the like.

Skype is my tool of choice for communicating and collaborating with team members whether they’re 10 floors or 10 time zones a way. And, if you haven’t used it lately, you may not know that Skype has gone way beyond free computer-to-computer calls. Of course it’s still great for that, but using Skype Credit, you can even call mobile phones and landlines worldwide. Best of all it’s downright cheap!

What Else Can You Do With Skype Credit?

What other ways can Skype Credit help you get out of the office?

You Can Access Wi-Fi Worldwide

Connect via one of their 2 million Skype WiFi hotspots worldwide. I’m going to the San Diego Zoo tomorrow so I checked their Hotspot Finder and, yup, I found one. That might just come in handy if I need to mix some real business with monkey business while I’m there.

You Can Send Text Messages

Using Skype I send text messages from my phone or computer for less than half of what my cell phone company charges. I even text to Canada, the UK, and China from a full size keyboard and avoid spl cheek erros.

You Can Forward Skype Calls to a Mobile or Landline

I have my Skype calls forwarded to my mobile. This is a convenient way to let your coworkers and clients reach you without the hassle of providing them with several different numbers.

Now that you understand the big issues — the things that keep your boss awake at night — and you understand how to communicate why they’re really not so big after all, it’s time to put together your pitch. Here are the basic ingredients.

Explain the Upside to Your Boss

What’s the upside? Eleven thousand dollars in annual savings by allowing you to work from home just half the time. These savings are the result of:

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced turnover
  • Reduced real estate costs

What’s more, a huge body of research shows that allowing employees to telecommute:

  • Increases disaster preparedness and allows employees to continue working in the event of a snowstorm, transit strike, or terrorist event;
  • Increases engagement;
  • Increases employee attraction;
  • Reduces an organization’s carbon footprint.

You have the tools. You have the technology. You have the business case. Now it’s up to you to make the road less traveled your way to work.

Kate Lister is the author of Undress For Success—The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home (Wiley 2009), the definitive source on how to find, negotiate, or create a home-based job. She is also President of Global Workplace Analytics, the leading authority on the business case for remote work strategies around the globe.

Sponsored by Skype — Use Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.

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Guest

The image that illustrates this excellent article is unfortunate. You can't work and watch kids at the same time. You can work, stop for a while and watch kids, then work, then make dinner, etc. Both at once? No way.

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Guest

mentioned this to the boss 11 years ago. Heck he just catching on to direct deposit!