How to convince your boss that working from home increases productivity, lowers costs and is good for the company.
Too many cars moving much too slowly compounded with that constant worry you’ll be late to work again; morning rush hour is never a great way to kick off your work day.
And yet, you endure the pointless traffic daily. You know that telecommuting could be a great option — for people who are not you. While more employees than ever now work remotely, many managers and business owners are still skeptical.
Unfortunately you don’t get to decide the work-from-home policy. Someone else does, either your boss, your boss’s boss or the CEO. Even if the decision maker is several rungs above you, you can still influence their opinion.
You’ll probably have an easy enough time seeing how telecommuting can benefit you. But to sway the decision makers, you need to present strong arguments for why it’s good for businesses. (Click here to tweet this quote.) If you’re out to convince a skeptical manager to try something new, here are a few talking points to help you shape your pitch.
1. Remote work can actually increase productivity
No argument you make will be as strong as providing evidence that telecommuting has worked for other companies in your industry. Prepare a few examples of success stories from similar companies that have instituted the practice.
The most high-profile study of telecommuting was performed at a Chinese travel company called Ctrip. They allowed half their call center employees work from home for nine months. The other half stayed in the office as a control group. Much to the researchers’ surprise, the group that worked from home was more productive. They were also happier and were less likely to quit.
That’s just one study though. You can find many other articles and case studies about businesses that have given it a try and been happy with the results. Find one from a business in your industry to make your case stronger.
2. Employees will be just as reachable
Even when employees work onsite, many communicate more frequently via email or instant message than they do face-to-face. With a high number of free tech tools that make it easy to stay in touch from anywhere, anybody working from home can be just as reachable as someone in the office.
Make it clear you’re willing to commit to regular availability and quick responses by email, phone, chat or your boss’s favorite means of communication. You can even still participate in meetings thanks to free meeting software like Google Hangouts and join.me.
3. It’ll save the business tons of money
What business doesn’t want to cut costs? Allowing employees to work from home is good for the bottom line for a number of reasons. We’ve already mentioned increased productivity, but your company can also save on office expenses and the costs that come with high employee turnover.
People who work from home tend to work more, call in sick less and have fewer interruptions while working. That all adds up to more profit for the company. The productivity brings in the biggest savings, but the other reduced costs add up, too. Less office space and fewer office supplies are needed.
Saving money is a real, tangible benefit any manager can appreciate.
4. Top talent for hard-to-fill positions will suddenly be within reach
You’ve already been hired, so this argument won’t apply directly to your personal case for telecommuting. It’s still worth mentioning though, as once a company opens up to a culture of remote work, this becomes one of the big benefits.
Good talent isn’t easy to find. It’s even harder if you limit your search to a small geographic area. The person who is the best possible match for a job might be half a world away. If the business allows telecommuting, that’s no problem. Along the same lines, if a fantastic employee has to relocate to a different state, the company will no longer have to treat it as a loss.
Employees are one of the most important and expensive resources any business has. Telecommuting makes it easier for a business to make sure they’re bringing on the best — and keeping them around.
5. Your company can try before they buy (in)
If you think saying “yes” once means you’re stuck with a decision forever, you’ll naturally be more hesitant. A “try it first” proposal always makes it easier to agree to a new change or policy.
Suggest your boss consider a trial period. If you can work from home for three months without negative side effects and can still do your job (and perhaps even do it better), you’ll have made your case. You can also propose working from home just one day a week so you still get face-time with your boss and colleagues in the office.
If at any point the company is unhappy with your work or the situation, they can always call you back in. If all works well though, both you and the company can enjoy the benefits of telecommuting.
If you’re sick of your daily commute and confident you can productively do your job from home, there is hope. Try reframing your argument to consider the business needs first, and you’ll be well on your way to ditching the morning traffic and working from the comfort of your couch.
Kristen Hicks is a freelance copywriter from Austin, TX who‘s been working from home for years with no problem. She specializes in blogging and content marketing and you can follow her @ATXCopywriter.