The email arrived this morning. Your employer expects all employees to return onsite by July 1. You hate what this means—commuting thirty minutes to a cubicle, trading spontaneous walks with your dogs for office gossip and a formal lunch hour, and dressing in something other than sweats.
If you love working remotely and want to remain off site, you need to convince your employer that teleworking benefits them. Here’s how:
Show them the research
According to the February 9th Remote Collaborative Worker Survey conducted by ConnectSolutions, 77 percent of the employees who work remotely at least several times a month reported greater productivity while working off-site, with 30 percent stating that they accomplished more in less time, and another 24 percent stating that they accomplished more in the same amount of time.1 Standford’s nine-month study of 16,000 remote employees reported home workers were 13 percent more productive due to a more convenient and quiet working environment and fewer breaks and sick days.2
According to U.S. News & World Report, teleworking employees “log five to seven more hours per week than non-telecommuters, often working even when they’re sick or on vacation.” The ConnectSolutions research corroborates this, noting that 23 percent of teleworkers work longer hours from home than they would normally work onsite to accomplish more.1 The research-based consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics reports AT&T discovered its remote employees worked five more hours weekly than did its on-site employees.2
The Remote Collaborative Worker Survey’s authors reports remote employees tend to be less stressed and happier and are motivated to work harder and more efficiently to protect their ability to work remotely.1 Global Workplace Analytics researchers add that 95 percent of employers report that telework positively impacts employee retention.1 The Standford survey corroborates with with research showing that employers providing remote work options cut their attrition rates by 50 percent.2
Answer the “why you” question
Your job duties and productivity while working remotely forms the second, crucial part of your case. Can your job duties be effectively accomplished remotely? Does your work call for a distraction-free work environment that enables concentration? Does your work lend itself to online work and to being electronically transmitted to others? Have you mastered the technology necessary to integrate with your coworkers and employer seamlessly? Can you offer to come onsite for team or client meetings and for meetings with your manager?
What’s your track record? While working off site, have you produced quality work equal to or better than you produced while on-site? Does your productivity substantiate the claim that you work well autonomously? Have you answered your manager’s calls, emails, and texts whenever they came in during working hours and met all deadlines? Can your employer count on you to self-initiate new projects once you handle your core duties and to proactively collaborate with other employees? If so, you make a strong case.
What if your employer says “no”
If your employer insists you return onsite, you have three options. You can return to your employer’s workplace. Some jobs, particularly those requiring direct customer contact, require onsite work. You may discover you like working onsite with easy access to your manager, coworkers, and office equipment.
You can negotiate for a hybrid schedule, returning onsite for part of the work week, while working off-site for the remainder. Many employers and employees have found this the best option.
Alternatively, you can look for an employer more comfortable with employees working remotely, and vote with your feet—out the door.
1 Study: Teleworkers More Productive—Even When Sick (shrm.org)
2 Surprising Working From Home Productivity Statistics (2021) (apollotechnical.com)
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4 thoughts on “Making the Case for Teleworking”
Could be valid. I have to be curious about whose analysis of productivity and hours worked were used in the studies – the employee’s or the employer’s? An occassional customer inquiry responded to after hours hardly constitutes an additional block of hours worked – it is part of providing good customer service.
I was on vacation and played golf with one of my brothers. In 9 holes I had three work-related phone calls and one fax from the office sent to the golf course office. My brother said “I thought you were on vacation” and I merely told him that I was. No big deal to handle issues as they arise- at least in my personal work ethic.
True story, a great manager or employee just handles work without worrying about it. (Along with a bit fun and a lot of life.)
I’m not in a position to work remotely, so I have an underlying bias. Even if I were able to work remotely, however, I think I would prefer a hybrid schedule. We still do well, in part, when able to interact. Scheduled interactions could start to seem like performance commands–kind of like, be creative, now. There is no easy solution, and of course there are quite a few workers, perhaps even the majority of the number working, who are not in a position to work remotely. It’s a complex issue with no easy answers, as Lynne shows here.