If you work for a company that has not yet embraced the work-at-home trend, don’t despair. By strategically demonstrating the benefits of remote work, you may be able to influence company policy.
Of course, not every approach below is appropriate for every environment. Choose the ones that seem most likely to influence your supervisor and suit your company.
- Share some compelling statistics. According to Global Workplace Analytics, two-thirds of employers with remote workers say that their telecommuters are more productive than those who work full time in the office. Likewise, in a 2014 study, the co-founders of the Chinese travel website CTrip allowed some workers to work remotely on a regular basis, then compared their productivity to that of in-office employees. The remote worker made 13.5 percent more calls than their onsite colleagues — the equivalent of almost a full extra day’s work in a typical week.
- Mention how if you didn’t spend so much time commuting, you’d have more hours to dedicate to work. This is a great follow-up to point number one. Of course, you’ll have to put your money where your mouth is on this one, so be prepared to prove your point by being consistently available and extra productive.
- If you have a child at home, pitch the fact that the time you must spend at home could be more productive. Consider explaining to your boss that instead of having to take the whole day (or days) off if your child is sick or your daycare cancels, you’d still be able to put in 8 hours, even if those hours aren’t all during the usual 9-5.
- Play the environmental card. If your boss places a priority on the environment, try sharing the following stats. According to Global Workplace Analytics, if the people whose jobs could be performed remotely worked at home just half the time, it would result in gas savings of more than $20 million a year globally. It would also decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons annually — the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off the road every year. It’s not a stretch to see how this could reduce the impact of traffic, improve air quality, lower company overhead, and cause less impact on the transportation infrastructure.
- Cite stats showing that companies who allow remote work have lower turnover. Be careful with this one, as it might be perceived as you threatening to leave the company if you're not permitted to work at home. But if you can pass it off as a general comment, you can tell your boss that in a study published by Stanford University, job attrition rates fell by over 50 percent.
- Make the case for a digital workplace. You might be able to help quell your boss’ fears about the potentially negative consequences of working at home — such as being less connected to the team or a being less-effective teammate — by encouraging them to consider adopting a digital workplace, like Prysm. A digital workplace is a flexible work environment that allows distributed teams to interact in real-time and work together as effectively as if they were in the same room. Paperless, visual, and personal, a Prysm-powered digital workplace brings together every tool you need to meet, create, and collaborate…any time, from any device.
If you want even more convincing information to share with your boss, download our ebook "Dissolving the Distance: A Playbook for Distributed, Global Teams," which talks more about why remote work is good for your company and gives practical strategies on how to implement a successful work-at-home program.
"Six Realities Disrupting the Workplace" is another great resource. It talks about employee disengagement and why the most productive employees wear pajamas. Check it out!