How to Draft a Telecommuting Proposal to Impress your Employer

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by Shayla Ebsen on October 2, 2011

in Employees

You’ve dreamed of telecommuting and the freedom it will bring. However, one major roadblock remains in your way – your manager. According to a recent report by the Telework Research Network entitled the State of Telework in the U.S., the biggest barrier to telecommuting for many employees is management fear and mistrust. Whether fearing a loss of control or worrying that productivity will decrease while telecommuting, many managers persistently resist the requests of their employees to telecommute.

If this is your current challenge, you must approach the situation in a methodical and professional manner. This is done by drafting an effective telecommuting proposal and preparing for any arguments the manager may bring to the proposal meeting. The following are a few tips for drafting a telecommute proposal to convince your manager of the benefits associated with flexible work schedules.

  • Discuss company benefits – Your telecommuting proposal can’t only discuss the benefits you stand to receive. Rather, to sway a resistant employer, you must also make a case for why the company stands to benefit from developing a telecommuting program. Discuss such employer benefits as decreased office expenses, increased employee retention and more.
  • Talk about productivity – If you work for a micromanager, the resistance to your proposed telecommuting arrangement is likely resulting from the manager’s fear of losing control. An effective telecommute proposal addresses this fear by discussing how productivity will be maintained while at home. Discuss such things as the added hours you’ll be available to work each day from avoiding long commutes, your ability to focus when not distracted by coworkers and more.
  • Suggest a trial period – A telecommuting trial period may be the best way to show your manager the benefits of telecommuting. Suggest a two-week trial period during which you’ll telecommute for a few days. If your employer experiences the benefits of allowing telecommuting during this trial period, a full-time telework program will likely be implemented.

When drafting your telecommuting proposal, assume your manager’s viewpoint. Consider the concerns the manager may have and how you can effectively address those concerns in this document. From technology dilemmas to concerns regarding information security, each company has different issues that arise when telecommuting is proposed. As such, you must address the main management concerns at your company if this proposal is to be effective.

The following are a few sample telecommuting proposals to assist with your proposal creation:

Convincing a resistant manager to allow telecommuting can be challenging. However, by discussing the benefits the manager stands to experience as well as your plan for remaining productive while telecommuting, you may soon be allowed to experience the benefits of a flexible working schedule.

Do you have additional suggestions for creating an effective telecommuting proposal?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne October 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Hi, I wrote about this ten years ago and it is sad to see that it is still true today. See
http://www.jeanweber.com/newsite/?page_id=36

It is well past time for telecommuting to come out of the closet and get mainstreamed!

Reply

Shayla Ebsen October 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for your comment! I read your ‘Marketing Your Remote Editorial Services’ article – thanks for providing the link. It’s very interesting/disheartening to know that many workers are still facing resistance from management today as they were back then even though technology has advanced so dramatically since then.

Thanks!
Shayla

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Suzanne October 25, 2011 at 11:59 am

It is nuts. The right hand is biting the left hand that feeds it! I am very interested in starting a provincial/state, national and international effort to get government and business to adopt standards and for govt to provide actual incentives such as tax breaks to businesses that do so. Everyone does it, but it is in the closet. Only because there are no standards, no laws, no hard and fast incentives. ROI seems to not be enough — there are lots of statistics about the time and cost saved (not to mention reduction of stress on transportation infrastructure, ability to retain older workers, etc). If you want to work together, what I’m thinking is a big Think Tank conference on the issue, gathering all stakeholders (all levels and many depts of govt, associations, telecom firms, companies, etc — it would take a few months of work to put together a proposal for funding for such a conference. I’m just starting to research what resources (like yours) are available. Maybe someone is already doing it!

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Shayla Ebsen October 26, 2011 at 1:28 am

Hi Suzanne,
That is an amazing idea and, in my opinion, a much needed one. I would love to be involved with such an effort. I think a conference would be the perfect opportunity to generate ideas on incentives for telecommuting, for business owners to hear case studies of others that have successfully incorporated telecommuting programs and to put a face to the possibilities of telecommuting.

Are you familiar with Telework Exchange (http://www.teleworkexchange.com/)? I’ve research a little into their website and am intrigued by their Town Hall Meetings and webinars – could be a great research resource.
- Shayla

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