Telecommuting, or work from home, opportunities are becoming increasingly popular.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 24% of employed people performed part or all of their work from home in 2015. For many who take advantage of the benefit, telecommuting provides a needed change in environment, a chance to focus without the constant distraction of office noise, and the flexibility to change work habits to more closely align with everyday life – all while still delivering quality performance.
There is a certain level of trust and confidence employers must have in an employee to allow a work from home situation, but there are ways to make the remote work transition be handled in a way that makes both parties comfortable.
- Be Reliable
It’s not likely that an employer will offer a remote working situation right off the bat, unless previously agreed upon during the hiring process – especially if other employees are expected to be in the office.
One way to show your boss that working from home will not decrease productivity is to demonstrate your reliability when in the office. Are you able to meet deadlines? Have you achieved your outlined work goals? Are you prompt to meetings, have good attendance at work?
Your boss needs to feel you can be relied upon to get the job done wherever you are. If you struggle with meeting the expectations while in a more traditional working environment, making the case for working remotely becomes more difficult.
- Consider Your Position
Remote work situations aren’t for everyone, and won’t be as successful across all industries. Consider how much time you’re required to be in client meetings, team huddles, and other facets of the job where your physical presence is required.
For example, those who work in sales may spend the majority of time on the phone or emailing leads, while also attending conferences or traveling to meet clients at their own offices. This type of work can likely be done virtually anywhere, making an in-office presence less necessary.
- Take Advantage of Technology
With the advancements in technology, it’s far easier to stay connected during work hours. Platforms like Skype, Google Hangouts, and other voice and video conferencing systems can keep the lines of communication open, which is essential when maintaining a positive working relationship among team members.
- Schedule In-Person Visits
While technology allows us to have more flexible work scenarios, it’s still important to touch base in person every now and then as well. Whether it’s to work for a week in the office or to make a visit to be part of a team building activity, people you work with should feel like you are (and want to be) part of the team.
The Shift to Telecommuting
People check their work emails on the weekend. They may take a conference call or two outside of regular business hours. Or, they catch up on deadlines as to not be bombarded first thing on Monday morning. When employees carry over office activity into their home life, there is already the transition of a remote working situation.
According to a Forbes article, there are certain predictions that forecast 50% of the workforce will be working remotely in just three years. Telecommuting was once a special scenario reserved only for the most unique of circumstances, but now is considered more of the norm. It’s up to you to convince your boss that your value at home is just as credible as when you are in the office.
If you are an employer wondering how to keep remote employees engaged, check out Working From Home Part 2, where we discuss bridging the gap between home and office!