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How to Talk to Your Employer About Telework

Marie Cox
Marie Cox February 23, 2017 Marie Cox is a former Business Development Manager at Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP).
ATP Takeaway: Telework saves your company money, improves productivity and ensures business continuity, but many employers are still hesitant to try telework. With Telework Week coming up March 6-10, it’s a great time to talk to your employer about the benefits of telework.

Telework can be a touchy subject for some employers. Common myths about the program include not knowing what employees are working on, employees not being available when teleworking and that some employees may see the policy as being unfair. In reality, telework actually has several advantages and is something employers need to consider to stay competitive in today’s market.

Are you looking to change your employer’s view on telework? With Telework Week coming our way March 6-10, this is your chance to bring it up to your boss. Use these tips to make the exchange comfortable and productive.



1. Don’t Make It Personal

While it’s vital to think about your motivations to telework before speaking to your employer, they should not be the focus during the conversation. Making the conversation specific to your situation won’t make your employer think of telework as something that could benefit the company as a whole. Here’s an example of how you can change your language to work in your favor.

BEFORE: My commute is horrible, I spent 2 hours in the car this morning trying to get here. I need to telework on days like today to be a happy and productive employee.

AFTER: Many of us commute more than 1 hour each way daily. If telework were an option, we could instead spend that time productively by working from a home office or coworking space.

Here, you’re taking the focus of the conversation off your specific issue and showing it as a challenge that a whole group faces. If you know how many people in your office have lengthy commutes, even better! If not, we can help by conducting a commute survey at your workplace.

2. Think Like a Boss

Put yourself in your employer’s shoes for a moment. What would convince you to try something new? Tailor your pitch accordingly and know the cost/savings of a telework program as well as data that can back up your point. You can also offer to take it off your boss’s plate by researching any equipment needed, drafting policies and managing vendors. Here’s how this conversation may go:

YOU: Teleworking not only reduces our commute times, but saves you money. Some companies have saved over $50 million in real estate costs, with the average savings for employers with full time telework at $10,000 per employee, per year. Additionally, with the cost of losing a valued employee estimated between $10,000 and $30,000, not including recruitment and training costs, 95% of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention.

BOSS: Sounds good but I don’t have the time to work on this right now.

YOU: I completely understand that you’re busy. I’ve done some research on partners who could help us implement this benefit for free, like Arlington Transportation Partners and Telework!VA. I’m happy to be the point person for working on this as well.

Don’t be surprised if you face an objection or two along the way. Be the expert by printing off case studies and other materials your employer can easily refer to and find any answers to questions of productivity or how it has worked elsewhere.

3. Try Before You Buy

If your employer just isn’t ready to commit to a formal telework policy, ask if they would be interested in a pilot program. Piloting a telework program can serve as a trial period after which an employer may assess if a formal telework policy is right for them.

Not every staff member has to be given the opportunity to take part in the pilot program. Participation can have set criteria, such as seniority or performance ratings, can require that the employee have access to specific technology and can limit the number of days per week or per month that an employee may telework. If your employer is ready, we can help you pilot a telework program along with our friends at Telework!VA.

Keep these in mind and go forth and prosper so that your next conversation with your boss looks a little more like this:

YOU: What do you think of the new telework policy, boss?

BOSS: It’s great! Thanks so much for recommending it. You’re the best employee I ever hired! Here’s a raise.

Looking for some extra material before you sit down with your employer? Download the telework guide for step by step instructions on implementing a telework program.

Understanding Telework | Download the Guide

Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/ for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Technology, Telework


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