When you hear the phrase “work from home” do you envision talking customers into buying double-paned windows or stuffing envelopes for pennies? That is definitely not the case today. Many people are finding they can trade the office cubicle for a home office with benefits to the environment, their employers, and themselves.
In December 2010 President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act outlining guidelines for providing greater flexibility of work schedules for Federal employees. This legislation was designed to help federal employees better balance their personal and professional responsibilities. But telework or telecommuting is not a new idea, for many decades it has proven to be a viable option for many who seek the balance of home and work life. According to Telecoa.org, 40 percent of the workforce, 33 million Americans, have jobs that can be performed remotely either part time or full time.
As responsible world citizens we are always looking for ways to improve our carbon footprint and make less of a negative impact on the environment. Working from home ensures that we can lessen fuel emissions by having fewer cars on the roadways each day. Also there is less highway congestion and overcrowding of public transportation at rush hour saving transportation and facilities costs.
There are many other benefits to working from home both for the employer and employee. For employers reduced costs of labor and facilities, reduced absenteeism, labor turnover, and savings on liability and health insurance are some of the benefits. When gas prices last year hit $4 per gallon, many employees considered working from home an innovative cost saving alternative. Other benefits for employees include: increased productivity, creativity, better balance of home/work life, and decreased stress. So you are ready to give working from home a try, how do you get your employer to agree?
Making Your Case
1. Put together a telecommuting plan that, much like a business plan, outlines how the company will be benefitted by your working from home. Outline your proposed work schedule and how you will keep in contact with the office, via telephone, internet, or email.
2. Give a detailed description of your home workspace. A quiet home office separate from your main living space is ideal; if that isn’t possible, a quiet dedicated corner with a desk and all the equipment you need to successfully do your job should be outlined.
3. Itemize a list of all the equipment you have purchased or intend to purchase if not provided by your employer.
4. Purpose a trial period. If your employer is not sold on the idea as a permanent alternative perhaps a six month trial period would give both of you an opportunity to see if telecommuting would work.
In this time of recession having career options is always a good thing. So whether you are seeking a viable part time opportunity or a fulltime career, with forethought, advanced planning, and an honest effort you very well may be able to make working at home work for you.