Telecommuting is pretty easy now. Skype, Slack and good ol’ Gchat — excuse me, Google Hangouts — make communicating with your colleagues down the hall or around the world a breeze whether you’re in the office or not. But if you’re concerned about starting a telecommute program, or want to start a trial run with your boss, be sure to start small, and provide feedback that will help you work from home again in the future.
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Start Small, Because You Might Hate It
If you’ve never worked from home before, going whole hog from the start might lead to disaster. If your office environment isn’t set up for telecommuting, or you find yourself missing the camaraderie of having coworkers, you could find yourself distracted, frustrated, or unprepared to deal with the newfound freedom.
You can start by proposing a one day per week telecommute schedule, perhaps on a slower workday. Picking a single day, like a Friday when work slows down, lets you plan your day around what you will and won’t have access to at the office. The constraint will also help you schedule your meetings so no one in your company is trying to find you when you’re at your home office. Oh, and be sure to set up your home office so you have everything you’d normally need at work, just in case.
Use Evidence to Make Your Case
Your boss might be sceptical of letting one of their own work without actually being in the office, but the research and actual results of remote work’s benefits are hard to ignore.
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A Stanford University study used a 20,000-employee travel agency as its test subject, and found employees working from home improved performance by 13 per cent compared to their office-bound counterparts. The travel agency also brought in up to $US2,000 ($2564) in extra profit per remote worker, which helps make the case for remote working.
Report Good and Bad Feedback
Compiling a list of things that went well will show your employer how serious you’re taking the opportunity to work remotely. Outline what went well, how much work you’ve accomplished while working from home, and what you think you or your boss can do to make the experience more productive. It will give your employer good reason to boost your telecommute time, and show how you’re thinking about ways to enhance the experience.
A list of problems that may have arisen during your remote work will also show how you’re working on ways to make telecommuting as frictionless as possible. If you find people asking where you are when you’re working from home, or demanding your in-person attention when you’re out, that may require a solution you and your team can figure out together.