Are you worn out by bumper-to-bumper traffic? Tired of juggling childcare arrangements? Feel trapped on the treadmill of your daily grind? If you are like many workers, you have at least daydreamed about working from home, but have realized that self-employment is not for you. The answer for many of today's employees is telecommuting (or the newer term, teleworking).
Increasingly, employees are doing all or part of their "W-2 jobs" from home. The Dieringer Research Group found a 25% increase in one year in the number of workers allowed to work from home at least one day per month. (The International Telework Association found that two days per week is the national average among teleworkers.) The rising trend in the past few years is most likely due to a combination of factors, including the increased availability and affordability of technology, and the trend for employers to be more open to flex-scheduling options.
Five Keys for Turning Your Commute into a Telecommute
1. Determine if telecommuting would be a good fit for you. While the thought of working in your pajamas may be appealing, working from home is not for everyone. Are you self-disciplined in the face of distractions (like the laundry that needs to be done or the sunny day that is beckoning you through the window)? Are you good at managing your time when no one is watching you? Are you energized by working alone or do you need people around you to feel motivated to perform? Would telecommuting affect your probability of receiving raises or being promoted? Take this quiz to help you determine if telework is for you.
2. Investigate what already exists at your place of employment. Find out if there is already a telecommuting program (or discussion about such a program). Check with human resources to see if the organization has such a program in place. If there is no current program, do some investigation to see how open your employer might be. See WorkOptions.com for a checklist of what to research at your workplace to see what factors would support or inhibit being able to telecommute. Check to see if your company is on a list of companies that do have a telecommuting program.
3. Research the feasibility of performing your job functions from home. Some types of jobs and tasks are better suited to telecommuting than others. Evaluate factors in your job such as how much of your work, or part of your work, is portable? How much face-to-face contact do you require with people at the office? Does your job require ongoing access to equipment, materials, and files that are situated only at the workplace?
4. Develop a rationale for allowing you to telecommute. Don't focus on how telecommuting will benefit you; concentrate on identifying the benefits to your employer. Include points such as how telecommuting will make you more productive and efficient, enable you to utilize time normally spent on the road, simplify your boss' life-whatever benefits you can think of that will show how telecommuting will better meet your boss' needs, not yours.
5. Prepare a written proposal and a verbal presentation. Your written document should include elements such as the schedule you are proposing; equipment and workspace arrangements; accessibility (i.e., how your boss and co-workers will be able to reach you; what type of work you plan to do from home; how you will be accountable for the work you do away from the office; child care arrangements (if applicable). You can find examples of sample telecommuting proposals online that provide a template for writing your own. Anticipate your boss' objections and develop your responses to them. "Getting Approval to Telecommute" will help you think through responses you need to be ready to address.
Telecommuting isn't for everyone, but it may be for you! Working through these steps will help you evaluate and then prepare to create a work situation that can mutually beneficial for you and your organization. Also, remember that God has designed you for a one-of-a-kind purpose. If you would like assistance to discover the work you were designed to do, we invite you to take a look at our career coaching services. We have helped thousands of Christian men and women to move into work that is meaningful and rewarding and we would love to help you do the same.