Is working from home a big deal at your organization? Is getting permission like asking your parent to borrow the car keys and drive across country?
Well, it shouldn't be big deal but many bosses just haven't realized it yet.
If you want to work from home (at least some of the time), company culture will factor into whether you get the OK to do it.
In many workplaces, you can coax your boss to let you work from home -- some or all of the time -- if you approach it the right way. Here are some strategies I recommend:
Point out the benefit: Often the best way to approach the topic with your boss is to point out the benefit to him or her in having you spend less time commuting and more time being productive. Without a commute, it may be possible to make more early morning phone calls or have quiet time to be more creative in how you approach solutions. If the arrangement benefits your boss, it's a win-win and you're more likely to get approval.
Establish trust: If you've proven yourself a responsible worker, working from home one day a week, or as needed should be no big deal. If you haven't proven yourself, spend a few weeks going the extra mile and make your boss fully aware of how dependable you are.
Arrange childcare: If you're a working parent, you will need to assure your boss that you have childcare under control. It's impossible to supervise a child and get work done. You know this and your boss does too.
Establish a communication system: A recent poll shows 90 percent of the workforce has an interest in working from home some of the time. However, a boss fears that he will need you and won't be able to track you down. So, if you want to sway your boss to let you work from home every Thursday or some other arrangement, you need to explain upfront how you plan to communicate your whereabouts and your results.
Present it as a trial: Often, it's easier to roll something out as a pilot or trial run. It allows your boss to give the okay under the radar. Both you and your boss can decide if it works and whether any adjustments need to be made or higher ups need to approve the arrangement.
Be available outside of office hours. Today work is a give and take between you and your employer. If you want to work from home, you will need to show that you give flexibility in return. It may mean taking your boss' call at 8 p.m. or responding to an email on a Saturday. Let your boss know upfront that you will give your all to make this arrangement work out.
As the interest in teleworking soars, more companies are creating work from home policies to promote work life balance. But they’re also realizing it takes much more than a policy to make newer, flexible ways of working acceptable. (See my Miami Herald article on this topic)
Slowly, but definitively, more employers are getting on board and creating a culture that makes working from home acceptable. The culture encourages upfront conversations about expectations of the employee and it encourages managers at all levels to be more outcomes-focused.