Not all teleworkers are entrepreneurs. For some teleworkers, it is necessary to convince the employer to accept this activity.
In his book The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss gives advice on how to convince your boss to let you telework... But, he doesn't give a lot of examples.
I decided to go further than him. Give your boss the following 9 arguments and he will be convinced that teleworking is positive for you, but also for him.
Prove that your job is workable by teleworking
If no one is teleworking in your company, your desire to telework will be received with fear rather than enthusiasm. Your first argument is to prove that your tasks can be done by teleworking.
Around me, I have multiple profiles who telework: IT support, sales, web project manager, secretary...
To summarise, we can say that any job that does not receive clients physically or does not require the use of equipment that is only available in the workplace is suitable for teleworking.
To prove the feasibility of teleworking, discuss the conditions under which you will be at home (a real office, quiet, with a good internet connection, a telephone...).
Also point out that teleworking will not reduce your interactions with your colleagues and superiors, but will limit them to the essentials. Today, a well-structured e-mail is more efficient than many oral discussions and if needed, a call via Skype can be made from anywhere.
TIP: If he o she refuses, ask why!
Your employer is not obliged by law to accept your request, and his first reaction might even be to refuse, before really thinking about your request again in the following days.
If he refuses, ask for the reasons. As they are generally not very dangerous (e.g., fear that you won't make the schedules, that team spirit will disappear...), you will easily be able to contradict them.
Don't be too insistent if he says no, and come back in the following weeks.
You could try to convince other colleagues to ask him or provide him examples, found on the web or in magazines, of companies that have improved their results by teleworking.
Start small and without commitment
Do like phone subscriptions: start with a small package and a small price, then increase it!
Let me explain. If you go to your boss and say, "Boss, I'd like to switch to teleworking next month. Is that possible ?", he immediately imagines that you will leave the office and become a phantom employee.
However, if you come alongwith something like:
"Boss, I'd like to telework one day once a week, preferably on Fridays, because I've noticed that my day's tasks would fit in perfectly and that I personally would avoid the huge traffic jams on the way home. Of course, this is a test, and if you feel it is counterproductive, we can stop the experiment. "
Your request seems reassuring!
You point out that this wish to telework is limited to a single day, that the change is reversible, that you already know that your work can be done without a hitch and between us, it would be very mean to force you to waste an hour on the road!
Then, after a few months in which you have proven that teleworking is compatible with your job, ask to do more teleworking. If all goes well, there is no valid reason for refusal.
TIP: Formalize it with an amendment to the contract!
When telework is regularly planned, it is imperative that you make an amendment to your contract to indicate this. Your employer is covered legally and by his insurance.
For your part, this endorsement assures you that telework will not stop if your superior is replaced, or at the employer's discretion, and commits him/her to cover part of the expenses related to telework.
Teleworking is essential for your well-being
If you are a committed, competent and positive employee, you are an added value for the company and no employer would like to lose you. Better still, they know that your well-being is important to keep your good performances.
Argue your request to telework by saying that it would promote your well-being. Don't say that you could keep the new baby more easily, as that would raise fears of a lack of work, but rather have a long-term view.
Say that the idea has been in your head for weeks, that you have thought long and hard about how to improve your well-being in the long term, and that teleworking seems to be an essential component in achieving this.
A sine qua non condition to obtain deep concentration
This is the key argument that helped me to telework a few days a month. While I was working in a web agency, it was difficult to work on tasks that required real concentration because there was always a colleague on the phone.
For writing long articles or auditing a website, telecommuting offered an ideal environment for better concentration.
If you have activities where quietness greatly improves results, the argument of deep concentration is a must (and a truth).
Set an ultimatum: roll the dices
A radical solution to be used in certain specific contexts: ultimatum. Don't be aggressive and don't hold your employer hostage by saying, "I want to telework. If you refuse, I'll quit. ».
Be more subtle. You could make your request based on my advice at the beginning of the article, and then say that many competing companies now include teleworking and that this is a sign of trust in employees. Without overdoing it, tell that such a change would greatly improve your life.
A disgruntled employee who can find happiness elsewhere is a hidden ultimatum that does not lead to conflict!
For personal reasons, I chose to move 350 miles away. Without being an ultimatum, my employer had the choice between losing an employee who was doing his job well or accepting full-time telework.
Since he knew I was serious and that my few days of teleworking so far were going well, he agreed to permanent teleworking.
I have since left the company to set up my own, but he has not regretted this vote of confidence and I have enjoyed working with him, even from a distance.
Increasing your productivity
Never forget that we rarely convince a person by empathy, but by showing them through A + B the benefits of the change.
Your employer's priority is your productivity. Simply showing the benefits on the quality and quantity of your tasks while teleworking is probably the best argument.
Say that reducing fatigue and stress from commuting will improve your productivity. Also point out that there is less deconcentration at home than in the workplace.
Bring some numbers. Everybody likes numbers. A few weeks before your request, write down on a piece of paper all the times you are disturbed at your usual place of work (a colleague making a call, the cleaning lady coming to your office, a delivery man stopping by, people talking loudly in the hallway...).
Do the math. You turn them into an argument like: "I counted all the time wasted at my desk last month on this paper. I come up with an average of 8 stops a day for a total of 40 minutes.If you calculate per week, you arrive at more than 3 hours, which is close to 10% of my work. Telecommuting would avoid that loss." Amazing, isn't it?
TIP: Don't offer to work more!
The biggest mistake in your argument is to say that the time saved by avoiding trips will allow you to work more. By doing so, you make an oral commitment to work more hours than you are paid for.
When you say that you did not have time to finalize a project, the remark will fall out. When a new client arrives and colleagues say they are overloaded, you will be assigned...
Offering free hours could backfire.
Allowing wider opening hours
If doing more hours is not a good choice, shifting your schedule can be very well received. Indeed, for a company, it can offer a better reactivity towards customers or possible problems such as a broken server.
Suggest that your telework can be done with new schedules. Instead of 9am - 6pm, make it 10am - 7pm. And, why not work on Saturdays instead of Mondays?
Of course, this argument is interesting for a small business where your schedule changes will have an impact and it is up to you to judge whether or not it is appropriate in your request.
The financial argument is always taken into consideration.
If so many companies are now teleworking, it is also for financial reasons. Not there, you don't consume electricity, air conditioning... Better still, if there are fewer employees, the offices don't need to be so big and the monthly rent can decrease with a smaller place.
Show him examples of companies that promote teleworking for these reasons. Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic (a company with 940 employees), left his expensive head office because "We had a good rent but nobody came. ».
Serve as a test for the company
Become a experiment! If your boss has already thought about teleworking without really daring to propose it, your experience serves as a test. It's good for everyone.
You can commit yourself to honestly report all the advantages and disadvantages of this form of work (any lack of equipment, customer feedbacks...).
If he is open about it, don't hesitate to make him dream a little by telling him that the possibility of telework, indicated on a job offer, is attractive to many candidates and that its development could also be positive for the well-being of all employees.
You now have some keys to talk to your boss. Now choose the right moment and give it a try!