Many people start their work-at-home job search by jumping online to search for work. But the fastest and easiest way to work at home is to turn your current job into a telecommuting position. But before you step into your boss’ office and ask to work at home, you need to research and prepare a plan.
The first step in the proposal process is to evaluate your job and company for conduciveness to telecommuting. Make a complete list of all duties and activities related to your job. Divide this list into “Can be done outside of the office” (such as typing, researching, planning etc.) and “Must be done in the office” (such as meetings and direct service).
Next, do some undercover research on your company’s openness to alternative work schedules. Do they allow flextime or part-time work? Research your industry. Do other companies in your industry allow employees to work from home? If your company and other companies like it, don’t offer alternative work schedules, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to work from home.
If you think you have a job that would allow you to work from home, prepare a Work At Home Proposal. The work-at-home proposal must be written and must outline your plans as well as benefits to the company your new work arrangement will provide. Here is an outline to help.
Writing a Work At Home Proposal
Educate your employer on the contributions you have made to the company. If you have earned special recognition, increased productivity or improved the company in anyway, be sure to highlight it. Don’t brag but be sure that your company understands that you are a valuable asset that they can’t afford to lose. Without giving details of the hassles experienced each morning preparing to go to work, give a statement of why you are proposing an alternative work arrangement.
Benefits to Your Employer:
Educate your employer on the benefits of telecommuting including increased productivity and moral and decreased absenteeism and burnout. Detail any cost savings your arrangement may provide your employer. This may come in the form of office space or reduced benefits.
Proposed Work Schedule:
Describe the days and hours per week you plan to work at home. Indicate when you plan to start your new schedule and how long the arrangement will last.
Establish the work hours you will be available for contact. Provide the methods (phone, fax, etc.) that can be used to contact you. Include information on how you will deal with meetings, deadlines, office activities, and emergencies.
Outline the tasks you will be responsible for while working at home. Outline the duties you will be handling while in the office. Highlight any changes from your current work situation to the telecommuting arrangement.
List any equipment or resources you currently have available such as second phone line, computer, manuals etc. List any equipment you would need and indicated whether or not you or the company will be providing it.
Salary and Benefits
If there is a change in your hours or duties, take these into consideration. Your company may already have a policy or you can suggest a pro-rated pay and benefits. If there is no change in your hours or duties, be sure to indicate it.
If your duties aren’t changing your method of evaluation shouldn’t either. Be sure to indicate how your supervisor will know of your work such as weekly reports. If your duties are different, propose how you will be evaluated. Be sure you are evaluated on easily measurable tasks such as number of reports completed. It is easy for employers to think you aren’t working if they don’t see you. Be sure they are aware of the work you complete.
Supervisors may be more willing to grant your work at home proposal if you suggest a trial period. Be sure it is long enough to for everyone to adjust to the schedule and fix the kinks. Develop a method for evaluating the success of the work-at-home arrangement. Use easily measurable tasks such as increased sales or productivity.
Show your supervisor how working at home has been successful in other companies. Include statistics or articles on telecommuting. The appendix lists resources you can use to back up your claims.
Presenting the Work-At-Home Proposal
You have determined that your job may be suited to telecommuting. You have researched aspects of telecommuting and prepared a work-at-home proposal suited to your company and position. Now what? Most telecommuting expert agree, that work-at-home proposals are more likely to be considered if an in-person presentation is made. Here are some guidelines to presenting your work-at-home proposal to your boss:
- Before the meeting, try to anticipate the kinds of resistance you may receive. Be sure these are addressed in your written proposal, and be prepared to respond to them in the meeting.
- During the meeting use your proposal as an outline to your presentation. Focus on benefits to the company, not to your morning schedule, that your work-at-home arrangement will provide.
- Be sure you can convey to your boss how valuable you are. Don’t brag or insinuate quitting but, let him know that replacing you would be costly because of your hard work ethic, knowledge and experience.
- Be professional. Your boss may have lots reasons why telecommuting won’t work, let him know the research shows that it does work.
- Be willing to negotiate. Maybe your boss doesn’t want you to work as indicated in your proposal but, would be willing to allow a different arrangement. By negotiating, you may be able get what you want later, after you have shown how well telecommuting works.
- If your boss has concerns, begin to find a way to alleviate them. If you boss says “no”, don’t lose hope. There are many jobs suited to telecommuting. Begin researching to find a job that will meet your needs. If your boss says “yes”, congratulations! Be sure to meet your end of the agreement and pave the way for other telecommuters!
The important thing to remember is that employers don’t offer telecommuting out of the goodness of their hearts, they do it because it benefits the company and more specifically the bottom line. So always focus your proposal on what it can do to help the company, not how it will help you.
Check out WAHS’ Online Job Resource:
Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes “Supporting Contributor” posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.