Research and experts have long-supported the career decision to work from home. It can free trusted and reliable employees like yourself from the distractions, stress, and media limitations of office life. Possibly most importantly of all, working from home removes the dreaded commute, the worst waste of time for most strong employees right next to the Monday Morning Meeting. Being freed from these distractions can seriously improve productivity and let the best employees in the best companies really begin to shine brightly. The decision just requires a leap of faith on both sides in trusting one another. In this article, we’ll look into some tips and truths that could push that discussion along a little quicker for you.
If you are currently trying to convince your employer to let you work from home, stay with us and find out some key ways that will lead you to your goal of working from home. We will go over how you and your employer can develop trust, prove that you can work unsupervised, and communicate to your employer that working from home is a true win-win situation.
There are people out there who truly enjoy their commute. For some of us, the chance to be alone for a half-hour, an hour, two hours, or more is an excellent release from the pressures of the world. Perhaps, this is a great time to listen to audiobooks or enjoy new music or dive in meditation.
Every single one of those people would still gladly cut the commute out of their daily work routine if they had the option. Employers would also love to get rid of the daily commute if they could. Why waste their best employees’ energy and time on something so effectively unimportant? If an employer is asking for someone’s eight or ten hours, they want the best eight or ten hours that person has to give. Taking out an hour’s commute could mean an extra hour’s sleep to prepare for the day, or taking care of home issues that need attention.
Aside from the stress and time commitment of commuting, the office place can be incredibly distracting. Meetings whether in the board room or at the water cooler are more destructive to productivity than a puppy is to new shoes. According to Elon Musk, “Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time.” Meetings are so often an incredible waste of time.
Not only that, but when one is among the best and most productive employees in an office, they will be tasked with many additional tasks throughout the day they are not expecting. This may not change much by working from home, but when someone has a quick question about why they just cannot get something to work, they will come to the superstar who always knows. When doing other people’s job is as common as getting one’s own job done, productivity falls through the floor. Not being in line-of-sight for newer employees will go a long way in toning down that distraction.
Equipment and Media Access
It truly is not just your office. Every office in the world has endless tech issues from internet outages to struggling with outdated and cheap equipment. If you have a good computer and internet connection at home, those two issues are gone immediately. You can have the best equipment if you want it. A proper headset or microphone system will do wonders for meetings, and having high-speed internet will get everything done faster. Even just having a comfortable chair can increase productivity by keeping posture and blood flow to the brain solid.
There is also a huge problem with attempting to be contributive in an online video or phone conference while sitting at a cubicle. People come and interrupt before whispering, “Oh, sorry!” as they back away with hands up. Other cubicle dwellers are shouting out information to talk to each other and interrupt everyone’s workflow. Worst of all, no one in the conference can hear you because you are trying to be quiet and not interrupt any of them. Being in a home office changes all of that, and lets one be truly contributive just by locking the door.
Stress and Family Issues
Sometimes, the reason for needing to work at home is that there is too much going on there. If an employer can be convinced that having a great employee work from home is much better than that employee not working for the company at all, that may be the only argument needed. Some parents have children that need to be attended often enough that taking ten hours away from home is just not possible. Sometimes, their situations are temporary and require special considerations. An employer’s fear would certainly be that once their best employee sees how great working from home is, they may never want to return to the office. On the contrary, the truth is once the employer sees how productive their best employee is at home, they would prefer them to stay there.
The stress of a difficult home life can ruin an employee’s focus after all. Too many issues at home means too many issues in the office because they do not get solved while working, only postponed. Any employer would gladly want to take away that stress and let their best employees focus on work. Having employees focused on other things while they are on the payroll is the worst thing that could happen to an employer. Productivity is their main goal always.
Having the Talk
When the perfect storm for working from home has been reached, and the employee has convinced themselves that it is the right choice, the hardest part remains. All of these facts listed so far will do nothing to quell a boss’s fear that an employee working from home will hardly be working at all. This is not a conversation a new-hire has with their boss, but it is for someone who has been trusted to be productive time and time again over the course of a significant career. Trust is everything.
When trying to get toward this work environment, it may be difficult to approach the subject. However, sometimes the best way to do it is to simply throw the idea out there. Who knows if the employer simply trusts you enough to just let it happen right away?
If you are confident that is not the case though, throw it out as a seeming joke. Watch how they react. Are they uncomfortable? Are they joking back? Maybe, they have a smug smile that says, “I see what you’re playing at.” Maybe even, they surprise you and confess they have been considering the same thing to help your productivity. Some employers are in-tune with research after all, and research suggests every time that good employees are better when they can work from home and avoid distractions and commutes.
Developing trust to convince your boss to let you work from home
Perhaps, the best way is to try to wean them onto it. A day of terrible, blizzarding weather, or a an unplanned trip away at a busy time for the company may give you the excuse to say that you could try working from your laptop or home office. In a situation like that, they know they are lucky to get any productivity out of you anyways since there is no chance you could make it to work. They may only expect a few tasks done, so this is a great time to show just how productive you can be outside of the office environment. Take this chance to really do great work and go above and beyond the call. When returning to the office, the first words out of the boss’s mouth will surely be, “Hey, great job yesterday. Maybe we should let you work from home more often.”
The real key here is being honest with yourself and your employer about the benefits and negatives of this situation. If you truly have a home office environment conducive to great productivity, then this is a potentially excellent arrangement that everyone will wish happened sooner. However, if this is an excuse to not deal with a few issues, and you cannot prove to be more productive, a hard conversation will be coming. The worst thing possible is to betray a manager’s trust when they have provided an opportunity to have less supervision for the hope of more work done.
It is important to be respectful of the employer’s feelings on the issue. If they are just not comfortable with it, do not retaliate. Give them time, and give them space. Continue being a great employee, and show that there are no hard feelings. Lashing out when one does not get their way is childish, whether it be by frustratedly marching away or by intentionally working less diligently in the office to prove a fake point. That may lead to going home, but the only work done there will be new job applications.
Proving that working from home will increase productivity
A little bit of research goes a long way in showing the value of working from home. A lot of research is annoying. Never waste an employer’s time with constant reminders or several-page-long documents that prove the point. They have made up their mind as soon as they realize what the conversation is about. Either they are listening and considering if the plan would work, or they are waiting for a chance to turn it down politely if they attempt to be polite at all. There is no need to hammer the point home or pepper the boss with facts and studies. If it cannot be proven with firsthand data, it is all wasted research. It matters nothing that SurePayRoll says that two-thirds of employers report increased productivity from teleworkers – and they do – when what matters is if you will be more productive working from home.
That said, when the boss hears all these rumors of research, they may attempt to call your bluff. Be armed before-hand with knowledge of what the research says, and most importantly, who says it. According to a study by the Department of Management and Organization at Pennsylvania State University, working remotely had a positive effect on perceived autonomy and the work-family crisis among other issues. This means that those who work from home feel independent and trusted, and they feel confident in their strength as employees. This leads to better taking care of issues at home and a more balanced life between work and home.
Working from home is a win-win situation
Being a team player as an employee is essential, and this may be a reason your employer attempts to deny your request to work from home. While this may be convenient for you, what are the effects on the rest of the office that may miss your leadership? However, working from home is a great move as a team player.
Stanford professor Nick Bloom showed the effects of working from home on the office. His research concluded that employees who work from home on average save the company $2,000 per employee due to less sick days, less breaks, working longer hours, and getting more done. On average, these same employees also were happier with their jobs and quit less often as a result.
At the end of the day, this is a case-by-case issue. The benefits are clear of course. But a chance for increased productivity is a hard risk to take for the chance of zero productivity at full pay, and that is the threat the employer is faced with. This requires a trustworthy, diligent employee with honest motives. However, once the motives and the results can be proven, a career working from home is right within the grasp. The only thing left to do is to have that talk with confidence and conviction. If it does not work the first time, stick with it.