Why working from home is (still) the next big thing.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing new about remote working. In the last decade working from home has grown from a perk to an accepted (if occasional) option, so popular that the acronym “WFH” is universally understood.
But soon this option may become more and more the norm, for the simple reason that older millennials are well into their 30s and entering the ranks of management. These digital natives recognized a long time ago that you can work from anywhere, and they do not see it as anything particularly special or exotic.
True, some companies have had problems making telecommuting work and a few (Yahoo and IBM) have even pulled workers back into the office. But you know what? Corporate America is eventually going to have to bend to the demands of younger workers who place a high value on flexibility. It’s telling that one of the tools hungry startups use to lure talent away from large employers is the promise of being able to work from home at least part of the time.
So how can you get in on that some of that WFH goodness? A few tips:
Play the green card. If your employers are at all concerned about reducing their carbon footprint, let them know that skipping the commute is good for the environment. They can further be tempted by the prospect of shutting part of their facility once a week or using a smaller space.
Anticipate objections. Perhaps your boss is worried about proprietary information leaving the workplace. You can alleviate these concerns by setting up a dedicated workspace at home, preferably with a door that can be closed. Also, make sure everyone understands that if an important meeting is scheduled for one of your at-home days, you will be there.
Pick Wednesday. If you’re proposing to be allowed to telecommute once a week, suggest Wednesdays. That way no one will think you’re angling to lengthen your weekend.
Finally, suggest a trial period. Even the most reluctant manager would have trouble saying no to a pilot program, especially if you frame the idea in terms of benefits to the company. Hint: During said trial period, make sure you are unfailingly accessible, productive and responsive. It’s best to err on the side of over-communication.