If you’re like most people, you’ve probably thought about teleworking. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 80-90% of American workers would like to work remotely at least part of the time. From the employer perspective, allowing more flexibility can help reduce expenses related to office space and parking and can be a way to attract and retain top talent. According to researchers at Harvard and Princeton Universities, the average worker would be willing to take an 8% pay cut in exchange for telecommuting.
When thinking about whether telework might be right for you, try to remember the three As:
Is your home ready to double as a home office? Many telework experts recommend setting up a full office in a room that will not be used for other purposes. It’s important to keep your workspace separate from other activities going on in your home—but don’t take our word for it.
The primary reason employers are hesitant to allow telework is accountability. This problem is both helped and exacerbated by the way we work. While many aspects of our job can now be done remotely, that same turning towards the intangible makes productivity harder to measure. Try to allay these concerns by establishing periodic check-in times and reviewing your work plan and milestones ahead of time. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has a great list of steps and other resources for managers of teleworking employees.
While broadband is more widely available than ever before, it is important to ensure that you have adequate bandwidth to handle all the files and any VPN connections you’ll need to access. Are there web-based versions of your company’s productivity suite available? If your workplace uses an instant messaging or chat application, will you still be able to keep in touch with your colleagues?
Finally, remember that it doesn’t have to be a permanent or exclusive arrangement. Many employers might be more inclined to let you work from home one day a week or every two weeks on a trial basis. It’s not all or nothing in your pursuit of the ultimate casual Friday.