Help me justify Telework
October 3, 2017 4:31 PM   Subscribe

Mefites, I've seen you provide excellent wording before so calling on you to help me out with some today. Please help me justify Teleworking.

For the past three years I've been teleworking two days a week - no problem, have never been questioned and have always produced above and beyond. Our new Director has instituted a policy by which persons at my grade can only telework one day a week. My direct boss is in support of me continuing to telework two days a week but I need to arm him with a few bullets arguing why I should continue - can you help me word that? Essentially my dealio is that I have two toddlers under the age of three and my commute is one hour each way. The four hours I save per week not having to commute means I've got four hours to get life done, get kids ready for daycare, get dinner cooked. Its quite frankly how I've been able to sustain us. I'd like to argue that more work gets done on days that I telework (it does, as I have a constant barrage of people in my office the three days a week I am there as I supervise 8 people) and that its in the best interest of my office to allow me to continue to telework two days a week.

Has anyone out there successfully negotiated an additional telework day and if so, might you share that language with me? Looking for it to be short, concise and too the point and I don't want to get too much into the details of the fact that those four hours I don't commute allow me to get my kids dressed, laundry done and meals cooked cuz I am not sure the big boss gives a hoot about that. Any suggested language around life-work balance would be appreciated too TIA!
posted by SanSebastien to Human Relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This has to be 100% not about the benefits to your family, home life or schedule, but instead 100% about the benefits to the company.

What is it you get done on your teleworking days that would be less productive if you worked in the office?
posted by DarlingBri at 4:56 PM on October 3, 2017 [16 favorites]

"Or I'll quit" usually works around here.
posted by fshgrl at 5:04 PM on October 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

Seconding what DarlingBri said and adding that the constant barrage of people on days you are there can easily suggest that you need to be there (after all, supervising is part of your work), so you'll need to add how it's better for your team (or your whole team's productivity) to not increase that access.
posted by brainmouse at 5:07 PM on October 3, 2017 [10 favorites]

People at that level who come up with those sorts of ideas tend to have short attention spans.

Ask for a three-month transition period. (yes - of course - great leadership - much alacrity - I estimate it will take me... 3 months - will be right on it - rest assured - cross that off your list!)

With any luck, new boss will have rotated out, forgotten, realized it made no difference, or... SQUIRREL!

(years from now, people will wonder - how come that person gets to telework 2 days?! - and someone will answer - oh yeah, they got grandpersoned in, but gosh they get more done than anybody else, shrug)
posted by metaseeker at 5:14 PM on October 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

Bring some numbers. The two days working remotely are days when you can focus on producing x more whatevers uninterrupted. You’ve tried and it’s not possible in one day. The three days in allow you to devote soooo much time to your team (or whoever’s interrupting you) so you can focus solely on resolving those issues and be totally available without worrying about producing x.
posted by kapers at 5:21 PM on October 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh yes, bosses love finite trial periods because it’s a way to make a decision without making a commitment.

Are you the only one at your level who currently does two?
posted by kapers at 5:24 PM on October 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Since you asked for actual language...

"For the past three years, I have been successfully teleworking two days a week. I would like to continue that schedule, as it allows me to bring the most value to our office. On telework days, I am able to focus my efforts on X, Y, and Z for a sustained period of time with minimal interruptions. This leave me greater availability on the remaining days that I am in the office to have in-person discussions and handle A and B. By dividing up my work week this way, I am better able to BLAH and my colleagues are better able to BLAH. The end results is that we can PRODUCE WIDGETS 18 PERCENT FASTER. Of course, my schedule remains flexible, and I am always able to appear at the office on a specific telework day, if required."

(Nothing on work-life balance, as that is generally implied with telework requests.)
posted by whitewall at 5:38 PM on October 3, 2017 [12 favorites]

My director justifies her teleworking day by saying she has more flexibility, and is able to get online earlier or stay later because she doesn’t have to commute.
posted by inevitability at 5:38 PM on October 3, 2017

I like to frame it like this: the productivity I get out of two "quiet days" without the "social overhead" of being in the office or the wind up/down periods you often have with a commute makes it possible for the job to be done by one person well and productively. Without those two quiet days, something's going to have to give...
posted by Lyn Never at 5:43 PM on October 3, 2017

My partner has particular tasks that he routinely completes from home (policy writing) because he finds it basically impossible to get those tasks done at work where he's frequently interrupted and loses his train of thought each time. I'd tend to reinforce something like whitewall's answer by emphasising not just that you have more time to devote to tasks when you're teleworking, but also that the lack of interruptions and increased focus allows you to work more efficiently in that time - only if you believe that to be true for you, of course.
posted by Cheese Monster at 6:10 PM on October 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd like to argue that more work gets done on days that I telework (it does, as I have a constant barrage of people in my office the three days a week I am there as I supervise 8 people) and that its in the best interest of my office to allow me to continue to telework two days a week.

I'm going to mention the possibility that the policy is being changed because some employees in your org have expressed frustration with having their supervisors out of the office two days a week. Maybe not the people you supervise, but I have certainly sometimes wished that teleworking supervisors were in the office more often, and it is possible that some people in your workplace have similar feelings. (For example, my boss definitely gets more work done when he teleworks, but everyone he supervises becomes less efficient, because we have to wait to hear back from him about questions that need his approval instead of just having a 10 second conversation. And days when emergencies break out while he's teleworking can be much, much harder to handle.)

I don't say this to say that you shouldn't make the ask, but because it is something to consider in your pitch-- do you have a record of answering subordinate emails quickly? So quickly that it is just as easy for them to send you a quick message as it would be for them to stop by your office with a question? Maybe put together some evidence to show that you are still accessible when you're teleworking, in case that is part of the reason behind the proposed change. Proof that you're still in charge and effectively managing on days when you're out of the office could be very helpful for making your case.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:54 AM on October 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

How do the people you supervise feel about this? If they are in favor of the current setup because it allows you to devote more attention to their issues etc., asking them to put in a good word for you may help this immensely. Many of those in management, particularly those not comfortable communicating through chat/email/phone, believe it's nearly impossible to manage people remotely. The more evidence you have to push back at that notion, the better.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:18 PM on October 4, 2017

« Older Help me get a new (used?) car in my life?   |   Is "Big Dairy" influencing TV Comedy "The Good... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.