Telecommuting — Making the Case

Several companies such as Yahoo! and Best Buy have pulled their telecommuters back in-house in the last few weeks, causing a stir on the Web. While you may think now is not a good time to approach your supervisor about working from home, there are a few things to consider that can strengthen your case.

*Examine your job. Not just your job description, but what you actually do. List everything that you can do from home: phone calls, generating reports, database searches, etc. List the tasks that require face-to-face contact and how you plan to meet those needs. Make sure you understand the technology that allows you to do this.

*How will telecommuting benefit your company? Does it free up an office and computer for someone else? Are you willing to work at home outside normal (8-5) hours?

*Show your boss how your work can be monitored. This can include posting a report in process on a shared network, teleconference or Skype calling or, if you are willing, traveling to the office or to a cafe for meetings.

*Plan for emergencies. What will you do if your Internet goes down or the company network crashes? Have a contingency plan of tasks that you can still work on.

*Take a test run. Try taking a personal day and telecommuting from home before you approach your supervisor with your request. Work out the kinks in your telecommuting plan in advance.

*If your plan meets with resistance, suggest working from home one day or two per week at first. If this works out, you may be able to increase the number of days working from home.

*Keep track of your time. It is easy to take more time out of the day to run errands. After all, there are fewer people to contend with because most people are at work. However, you still need to put the time in to complete your work and meet your deadlines.

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