Telecommuting is not really new to the business community. A CNN Money article reveals that multinational companies like Cisco Technologies, S.C. Johnson, and Accenture have at least 20% of their employees telecommute. In 2008, data shows that close to 20 million US workers telecommute.
If your company hasn’t embraced yet the idea of telecommuting, how do you convince management to give it a try? What should you do to justify this work arrangement? What are the benefits of telecommuting for both the employee and the company?
1. Ask yourself, “Why do I need to telecommute?”
Take the time to think things over and ask yourself why you need to telecommute. Are you doing work that can be done at home? Will telecommuting make you more productive? A decision like this should be grounded on facts and not just feelings. If your boss asks you why and you reply, “I just feel like it,” you can bet your life’s savings that he will say no.
2. Follow up with the question, “Why do you deserve to telecommute?”
Telecommute is not an all-access pass to slacking off. Trust me on this one when I tell you that many traditional companies think of telecommuting as a license for employees to play hooky. Among the many employees in your company, why do you believe that you deserve to telecommute? Are you a top performer? Do you have great work ethics? Does top management trust you?
3. Do your research.
Does your company have a policy for or against telecommuting? Is anyone in the office telecommuting, whether formally or informally? What does top management think of this work arrangement? Just like any project, research is necessary to make sure that you have all the facts behind and to strengthen your proposal for telecommuting.
4. Propose a test run.
A test run will help your boss assess whether you’re really fit for this work arrangement and if it can work for other employees in the company. A test run can be a once-a-week telecommute arrangement over the next three months. According to the International Telework Association, the national average is two days per week. A test run can also help refine process and procedures, identify areas of improvement, etc.
5. Provide a cost-benefit analysis.
At the end of the day, top management needs to see what’s in it for the company. Make sure you give a written or better yet, an oral presentation, showing a detailed and comprehensive report on the benefits of telecommuting.
Benefits of Telecommuting
And to help you strengthen your case for telecommuting, here are some of the benefits that companies can reap from this work arrangement.
a. Reduction in carbon footprint.
The Clean Air Act of 1990 requires companies employing more than 100 workers to promote carpooling, telecommuting, etc. This would significantly reduce gas consumption, carbon monoxide emission, energy usage, etc.
For a company, telecommuting means reduction in electricity and water consumption, and office supplies.
Significant cost-savings would come in real estate as companies don’t need to buy or rent large offices for their workforce. Overhead costs would be greatly reduced, as well, as companies can cut down on providing privileges like gas subsidies, day care benefits, extended leaves, etc. Some employees are also willing to negotiate a lower salary in exchange of more time for their families. Telecommuting may also mean tax incentives.
c. Improved employee productivity.
Employees feel more empowered when telecommuting as they can work practically from anywhere. Whether they’re waiting on an airport for a business trip or in a coffee shop, telecommuting allows them to get things done.
Companies can also reduce abseenteeism, tardiness and employee turnover if they allow workers to telecommute. Web commuters are generally happier employees and are not beset with health problems like stress, headaches, etc.
It’s never easy to convince top management to telecommute. It requires careful research and data-gathering to ensure that you come up with a professional presentation. But once the project is implemented, you and your company will reap the benefits.
Does your company allow telecommuting or do you know anyone who’s embraced it? Share your opinions and comments below.
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