How to Negotiate At-Home Work Days
How nice would it be to save yourself the commute to work twice a week? Or to avoid rush hour while doing everything in your power to pick up the kids from school across town?
The following are a few things to consider when trying to negotiate more at-home work days. They are just as useful for current employees as they are for new hires still negotiating their starting package.
1. Check if it’s even possible
Before approaching a manager or negotiating at-home days during a job interview, you should first consider whether it’s feasible. Even in our digital age some positions still require you to be physically present at work. For example, if you’re working retail or in a doctor’s office, you’ll probably need to be there.
2. Do your research
After checking if it’s possible, you should investigate whether the company already has a telecommuting policy available. In some cases, the policy may be broad enough that you won’t even need to negotiate.
If you’re already employed with the company, a quick email to HR or checking the employee handbook should do the trick. If you’re still going through the job-hiring process, this could be a little more difficult. Try and get your hands on some material or ask a recruiter. The company website itself may even tout its benefit programs.
3. Make a proposal
After you’ve done your research, create a plan. Before you speak with anyone, set your expectations and detail what it is you’re looking for. Make sure you write it down so you have something to provide to whomever you’re speaking with.
One of the best ways to increase your chances is to craft your proposal to your audience. I once worked for a manager that always asked, “how will this help the company,” when someone needed additional time off. His point was well taken. Whatever plan or proposal you create should contain a section explaining how this will benefit your employer. Maybe explain how the saved commute time will be spent working or how less stress will increase productivity.
4. Add a personal touch
Rather than simply emailing your proposal, set up an in-person meeting with your boss. When discussing your proposal, be as detailed as possible. And don’t get discouraged if he or she says no. You can always try again in a few months. In the meantime, keep showing how reliable you are.
5. Suggest a trial period
If your boss does say no, consider proposing a trial period. This is a great way to introduce your company to a policy or practice it hasn’t explored before. Be careful though, the success of the trial period will likely depend on you. Make sure you do everything possible to show how it increases productivity without harming business functions.
And also, make sure that you pre-determine how long the trial will last and what specifically your employer will be looking for when determining if this can be a more permanent solution.