While some people are perfectly content to hop in the car for their morning commute or squeeze their way into a packed train to get home after a day at work, many more prefer the idea of rolling out of bed and finding themselves magically transported to their office. Of course, there needn’t be any magic involved if you work from home.
In 2016, more than 43 percent of employees spent at least some time working from home. Thirty-one percent of those employees work from home four to five days per week. Compared to previous years, more bosses are allowing their employees the flexibility to spend at least some of their work time outside of the office. In fact, the number of people telecommuting in the U.S. increased an astounding 115 percent between 2005 and 2015.
The increase in WFH opportunities is well-reasoned from the perspective of both employees and employers. Employees that are able to telecommute are typically more engaged, less likely to leave their job, and ultimately happier because they reduce or eliminate their commute time and are able to spend more time with their families and friends. Employee engagement is quite valuable for employers as well, with 71 percent of employers in a Harvard Business Review-reported survey ranking engagement as “very important to achieving overall organizational success.” Further, employers with flexible workplaces are able to spend less on overhead to support in-office employees and therefore better allocate resources for more efficient growth and other strategic goals. Additionally, the environment benefits when workers decrease their carbon footprints by reducing or eliminating their commutes.
While the data shows that working from home is beneficial for both employees and employers, there are still those companies that lack a tenable WFH policy or have reservations about relinquishing direct supervision of their workforce. If you want to take advantage of the flexibility and increased productivity of working from home, the first thing you will have to do is convince your boss of its benefits.
Following are a collection of statistics as well as tips on how to negotiate the change with your boss, even if he or she is skeptical.
As working from home has increased in a wide range of industries, there is quite a bit of data available to indicate the value of this type of workplace flexibility for employees:
At first blush it may seem that allowing workers to telecommute is a concession that offers the most benefit to the employee, but the data shows that to be categorically untrue. A WFH policy can save employers money, increase productivity, and help to support company growth:
You’re ready to take the plunge and ask your boss for the flexibility to work from home. Following are some tips on how to negotiate that conversation so that both you and your boss feel good about the next steps in your career.
It’s unlikely that your boss will be amenable to more flexible work conditions if you have not been reaching your productivity targets without them. Assuming you’ve had a successful and productive year, be sure that you have tangible evidence of your accomplishments at your job and can link them back to the overall success of the company. It’s okay to “toot your own horn” here with details of what you have been able to achieve.
If your boss is particularly skeptical about the efficiency of working from home, make sure you have data at the ready about the productivity and engagement of remote employees. Collecting data from your specific industry will be most effective, if possible.
Every boss will have his or her own objections to a work from home setup, whether they have had previous bad experiences or just are not familiar with how to best manage a remote team. Your request will be most effective if you can tailor it to some of those concerns ahead of time, ready with facts for those objections that may come up.
Your ideal situation may have you working from home full time, but making that leap all at once can be a hard sell. Instead, be prepared to work from home for a set number of days or hours at first while still coming into the office for face-to-face meetings and projects that will benefit from in-person collaboration.
If you want to work from your home (or anywhere outside of the office), you need to have the right capabilities to stay connected to your co-workers and your boss. Make sure that you have a reliable internet connection as well as a comfortable, quiet place to work and take phone calls. It’s also a good idea to research where to find reliable internet outside of the home, for those days you’d like to get out.
Having a conversation like this in person with no context can be daunting. Consider letting your employer know about your request in an email, which may precede an in-person discussion. Sending a preliminary email has the added benefit of getting your request in writing. You can modify the following template to make it relevant to your job and performance, or write your own. Be sure to include as many specifics as possible for both you prior contributions to the company and how the flexibility to work from home will directly benefit the company.
I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to impact [COMPANY]’s business these past [#] years. As we look to 2018, I’ve been reflecting on my role, the scope of my duties, and everything I’ve accomplished. I’ve [DETAIL AT LEAST THREE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE BUSINESS].
As I reflect on my current responsibilities, it’s apparent that my impact exceeds what was expected of me when I began in this role. In order to continue growing our business effectively, I’m requesting that I be able to work from home for [# HOURS/DAYS].
With a more flexible working arrangement, I would [DETAIL AT LEAST THREE WAYS YOUR NEW SCHEDULE WILL ALLOW YOU TO POSITIVELY IMPACT THE BUSINESS]
I hope you agree and we can look forward to growing the business together into the future. Thank you for your consideration.