Convincing Your Boss To Let You Telecommute

Travelers Notebook:

No sooner than framing my college diploma on the wall, I found I was on my own, broke and nestled in the corner of a cubicle just to pay my bills. Yes, living in the city was swell, sort of. As for a desk job? I quickly figured out that wasn’t my thing.

The future looked bleak from behind my cubicle walls. Hadn’t I grown up in a place where powder mornings off weren’t just a luxury? I needed to escape my cubicle and fast!

I began to entertain the idea of telecommuting, or working remotely from home, so I could use those extra hours (usually reserved for traffic or playing Solitaire on my computer) to get outside and make the most out of my day.

1. Assess the situation.
Ask yourself some simple questions. Do you cherish an office environment? Or do co-workers and other office distractions easily annoy you? Is there a reason why you take 1.25 hours at lunch instead of just one?

2. Accept and embrace your job for what it is.
When I realized that a cubicle wasn’t right for me, I became claustrophobic in my workspace and instantly abhorred my cell mates. But it wasn’t their fault. It was time to come to terms with my situation and accept it. So I work in a cubicle from 9am to 5pm or 7pm or 8pm and I suffer anxiety picking out a pair of pressed pants and a sweater vest in the morning before work. So what?

3. Create a game plan.
If you’ve decided that telecommuting is perfect for you, don’t go public with your decision until you’ve set up and are already following a game plan. Convince your boss that you’re indispensable to the company, whether you have a physical presence in the office or not. Get your boss to invest in YOU.

4. Commit to the plan with your boss.
Once your boss is all buttered up, you’re ready to drop the T-bomb. Schedule a time to meet with him or her for a review. Prepare a list of all your positive attributes (you attended the seminar, you worked from home when you were sick), acknowledge any legitimate concerns your boss may have and then explain to him/her with absolute conviction that telecommuting is the best and only option for you.

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Photo by Steve Lyon.

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