It’s December here in Maine. Though we’ve had a mild start to the winter, we all know that Mother Nature will soon start slamming us with snowstorms.
And when we’re shoveling the car off, slipping and sliding in the roads, and are barely able to see the car in front of us, we’ll start wishing we could telecommute. The thing is, if you approach your IT hiring manager correctly, your wish may be granted. If you include these eight things in your written telecommuting proposal, you greatly increase your odds of being able to work from home.
8 Things To Include In Your Telecommuting Proposal
1. Make Your Proposal Align With Employer Objectives
While you may want to telecommute to avoid that ridiculous 2-hour daily commute, or in order to wear jeans all day, this shouldn’t be the main focus of your proposal. Instead, you should focus on how telecommuting will help you reach your employer’s objectives. Use research from studies to prove the financial and productive benefits of working at home, and relate it back to how it will help the team/company.
2. Explain Your Telecommuting Weekly Plan
Plan out your week, which days you’ll be in the office and which days you won’t. Even though your manager may ask you to switch a few of these days around, or ask you to be in the office more than 1 or 2 days a week, at least you’re going in with a solid plan. This is something that the two of you will be able to work off of.
3. Explain How Your Job Is Compatible
In certain roles, you can work from anywhere. In other positions, you may have to be in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays for meetings but not for the rest of the week. Explain how your telecommuting plan fits with the requirements of your job.
4. Explain How Your Telecommuting Will Affect Others
While explaining how your telecommuting plan fits your job, you also need to explain how telecommuting affects other people on your team. Hopefully, it doesn’t.
If it does, however, make sure you explain to your manager how you’ll prevent this from being an issue for the other person. One of the keys of a successful proposal is recognizing potential issues, and solving them.
5. Listing All Possible Problems & Coming Up With Solutions
Like I said, one of the keys to a successful proposal is recognizing potential issues and solving them. Make a list of all of the potential issues and then come up with a solution (or two!) for every one.
This does doubly duty. It ensures that you always have an answer for your manager’s questions during your proposal meeting. You’ll appear confident, and prepared. This list also ensures that you’ll be ready for any issues. You won’t have any big surprises that make your telecommuting trial period just that – a trial.
6. Explain How You Will Keep In Contact
Managers often fear that allowing their programmers to work at home will have disastrous consequences. They’re afraid that major crises won’t be resolved immediately, or that you’ll only really be working four hours, not eight, from home.
Calm their nerves. Explain that during work hours, they’ll be able to reach you by phone, email or IM. Offer to give them a weekly status report, which details all of your activities from the week so they’ll know exactly what you’ve accomplished. Status reports simultaneously give you kudos and face time.
7. List Your Accomplishments
Remind your manager of all of your past accomplishments, with extra attention given to the projects that illustrated your ability to work independently, and self-start. When approached in this manner, your work history acts as an endorsement of the qualities you’ll need to successfully telecommute.
8. Start Small and Suggest a Trial
Your manager may be skeptical of how well this whole process will go. Suggest a three-step program where you start small, have a trial period, and then make a decision.
Step 1. Start Small
While you may want to jump right into telecommuting three days a week, start small. Telecommute only one day a week for two or three weeks. Prove to yourself, and your manager, that you can still be a productive team member.
Step 2. Increase to a trial period
After you’ve been successful at telecommuting one day a week, increase it to your desired telecommute schedule. For example, if you wanted to work from home three days a week, start working from home three days a week. This is a probationary period, and you’ll need to keep up the same level of productivity as in the past in order to continue to telecommute.
Step 3. Make a decision
After the trial period of one to two months, meet with your manager and discuss the possibility of continuing your telecommute work.
Suggesting this process illustrates that you understand your manager’s concerns, and that you’re committed to being a productive member of the team.
If your company doesn’t already have a telecommuting policy, you have to remember that your manager may initially resist the idea. However, with solutions to any possible problem, your willingness to run it as a test, and an explanation of how it will benefit the company, you may just avoid those slippery winter roads.
Want to be a successful telecommuter? Follow these steps.
Are you a telecommuter? Did you have to make a proposal? Tell us your story in the comments section below, or on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Thanks to Linda N. for the use of their respective photographs.