You dutifully show up to work, day in and day out. Although you try hard to get all of your work done, distractions abound at the office. Well-meaning (but uber chatty) coworkers stop at your centrally located cubicle to talk about office politics, while your micromanaging boss hovers over your desk to check up on the status of that project — for the fifth time today. You know that you could be so much more productive at home — and save lots of time and money by eliminating your killer commute — but your job is an in-office one. You’ve often fantasized about asking your boss to allow you to work from home, but there’s no chance he will, right?
While you can look for a remote job, you don’t necessarily have to ditch the job you currently have in order to get a flexible work option — and a better work-life balance. Today, one in three workers say they spend some time working from home, according to a Harris poll this year. And one in five American workers has some sort of flexible working schedule.
Here are some tips from Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, on how to make it work.
Do your research. Before barging into your boss’ office and demanding to work from home full-time, it’s best to take a slower, more analytical approach. Assess how many of the company’s employees currently work from home, and find out if their position was already a telecommuting one or if they negotiated this workplace perk. If you know that some workers are already working remotely, it can make your own negotiations easier.
Draft a proposal. Create a list of all of your job responsibilities, then note which ones can be successfully accomplished from home. Offer a schedule that shows how you’ll cover your workload from home, and note on your proposal that you already have a home office from which to work. You can even cite examples from previous work experiences that highlight your ability to be a successful telecommuter (such as being able to work independently and your excellent communication skills).
Be flexible. When you meet with your boss to ask about having a flexible schedule, he might not be, well, flexible. So be prepared with various work alternatives. For example, if he doesn’t want you to work from home full-time, you can offer to be in the office 2-3 days a week and work the rest of the time from home. Reassure your boss that you’ll be in constant communication; you can even volunteer to work from home for a month on a trial basis so that you can both get used to the arrangement before you start working remotely permanently. By being flexible and working with your boss, he’ll feel more confident in granting your request to work from home.
Show your support. Showing your support of work flexibility has never been easier thanks to a newly launched initiative, 1 Million for Work Flexibility. In conjunction with companies, organizations and business leaders that are advocating for workplace flexibility, the ultimate goal is to inspire one million people — from millennials, parents and recent college grads alike — to show their support for flexible work schedules. While lending your support on a general scale, you’ll also be kept in the loop with news and related information on ways to get more work flexibility in your life.
But the case for workplace flexibility isn’t just in the office. Outside of the workplace, it’s crucial to share your feelings about flexible schedules, too. Use your social media channels (such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn) to encourage others to support this mission. If enough people voice their opinions, workplace flexibility will no longer be the exception — it will become the norm.