How to Negotiate a Remote Work Arrangement

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Whether you're a new or an existing employee, it's possible to convince your company to let you start working from home, at least part-time. The key to establishing a remote work arrangement is negotiating with your boss and proving that when you work from home you'll work even better than you do at the office.

If you're looking for a new job where you can work from home, there are many telecommuting jobs, but you'll need to learn the best places to look for a work-from-home position.

Before You Work From Home

First, make sure telecommuting is really for you. Working remotely is a dream for many, but it's not for everyone. You probably already know the benefits of telecommuting, but make sure you also know the disadvantages and carefully consider all the factors that will make telecommuting either successful or not for you personally (such as your ability to focus without supervision, comfort with being isolated from the office, quality of home/remote working environment, etc.).

Before you approach your employer, you should have some knowledge about the at home opportunity you are after in relation to your current role and work to strengthen your negotiating position. Find out more about your company's existing remote work policies and evaluate where you fit in as an employee in terms of being greatly valued and trusted. This information can strengthen your case for telecommuting.

Do some extensive research that proves the benefits of telecommuting arrangements for employers that will be applicable to your company. Not too long ago, telecommuting was considered a perk, but today it's a common work style that benefits both the employee and the employer. You can use positive research findings of telecommuting benefits for employers, such as telecommuters' increased productivity and improved employee retention, to strengthen your proposal. GlobalWorkPlaceAnalytics.com is a great source for research on telework and telecommuting.

Approach Your Employer

Once you've compiled your research, create a written proposal. This will help you fine-tune your request and will likely be taken more seriously than a casual mention. The proposal should include the benefits to your employer and details on how you will accomplish your job more effectively and efficiently. If you'd prefer to make your request in person, still write the proposal -- as practice for when you talk to your boss. It may be beneficial by starting small and proposing to try out working from home for two weeks or so to see how things go for both you and your employer.

It's important to get ready to discuss in person by brushing up on your negotiating skills. If it looks like your request will be turned down, find out why and offer a solution or compromise (e.g., part-time telecommuting vs. full-time, short trial run, etc.).

Once You Start at Home

During any trial period, be sure to keep up your part of the agreement and maintain your productivity, of course (you can refer to your written proposal and the executed remote work agreement to stay on track). In order to show your commitment to the company, check-in regularly with your boss to show your progress and emphasize how working remotely has improved your work -- so that you can make this arrangement permanent.