Have you ever wanted to ask your boss about telecommuting?\u00a0 Maybe some of these things might be holding you back:\n\n \tYou do not know how to write a telecommuting proposal.\n \tYou think boss won't allow you to work from home.\n \tYour coworkers who have to work in-person will be a little bit jealous.\n\nNo matter what is holding you back, remember one thing: you will never know until you ask!\n\nSo, how do you write a telecommuting (remote work) proposal?\u00a0 As with most writing, your best bet is to start with an outline, and fill in the details.\u00a0 Make the case from both the business and personal perspectives.\u00a0 Show your employer that there is something in it for them - not just you!\n\nOf course, you don't want to make it all about you.\u00a0 Be sure to include ideas about how remote work will benefit the company, such as the reduced need for expensive office space.\n\nIn this article, we'll discuss how to write a telecommuting proposal for remote work.\u00a0 We'll cover everything, starting with the outline and going through the introduction, body, and conclusion.\n\nI have also included a template for a telecommuting proposal (which you can find here), along with several examples of things you might want to include.\n\n(If you still aren't sure about whether remote work is right for you, check out my post on the pros and cons of telecommuting).\n\nLet's get started.\nHow To Write A Telecommuting Proposal\nThe best way to write a telecommuting proposal is to start with a brief outline.\u00a0 Don't go into too much detail at first - just write down a general idea of what you want to say.\n\nYour outline should include:\n\n \tIntroduction - tell your boss what you are suggesting.\u00a0 Be brief and get to the point!\n \tBody - this is where you make your main points in support of your remote work proposal.\n \tConclusion - drive your point home and reiterate how this will help the company.\n\nLet's get into more detail about the parts of the outline.\nTelecommuting Proposal - Outline\nYour telecommuting proposal will have three basic parts.\u00a0 These parts are the same as in most essays: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.\nProposal - Introduction\nYour introduction should be brief.\u00a0 Before reading about the details, your boss will want to know the basic idea behind your proposal.\u00a0 State what you want in simple terms.\u00a0 Then, give a brief overview of why it is necessary or beneficial to the company.\nExample (Introduction)\nAs a software engineer at Orange, Inc., I enjoy my role as Senior Software Engineer.\u00a0 I spend a good deal of time each week mentoring and training new employees to get them up to speed.\u00a0 The downside is that I have fewer uninterrupted blocks of time to work on new code for upcoming projects.\nTo remedy this situation, I am proposing a trial telecommuting period.\u00a0 On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would work from my home office.\u00a0 I would work in the office as usual on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.\u00a0 This would allow me to dedicate time each week to developing new software.\u00a0 I would also have the chance to continue mentoring junior engineers.\nThis solution will allow me to develop software more quickly.\u00a0 It will also allow me to pass on knowledge to new employees.\u00a0 This will make the company more competitive in the long run.\nAgain, don't go into too much detail in the introduction.\u00a0 Keep it brief.\u00a0 You can give specifics in the body, which I will discuss in depth later.\u00a0 You want to make your point quickly in the introduction.\u00a0 If the introduction is weak, or too long, your boss may dismiss the idea before reading any further.\nProposal - Body\nThe body of your proposal is the "meat and potatoes" of the entire document.\u00a0 It will contain all of the specific ideas to help make your case.\u00a0 This is your chance to show your boss that you have considered every possible detail.\u00a0 The body should include:\n\n \tthe business case (general statistics, and benefits for your company specifically)\n \tthe personal case (your track record in particular)\n \thome office logistics (location, materials, equipment)\n \taccountability (schedule, work hours and tasks, availability)\n \taddressing objections (security, liability, fairness, morale, cost)\n\nYou might make a strong business and personal case.\u00a0 You might also prove that you have thought about logistics and accountability.\u00a0 However, there will likely still be objections regarding your proposal.\u00a0 Anticipate these in advance, and prepare your responses accordingly.\n\nYou know your boss and company better than I do.\u00a0 Think about how they would respond to your ideas.\u00a0 I will provide more detail on how to write the body of the proposal below.\nProposal - Conclusion\nIn the conclusion, you will want to reiterate what you want, and that it benefits the company.\u00a0 Make it about the company, not about you.\u00a0 Do your research and write a good proposal.\u00a0 The conclusion should confirm the boss's belief that your idea has merit.\u00a0 Again, keep it brief.\nExample (Conclusion)\nThank you for considering my proposal to telecommute part-time.\u00a0 I am confident that this arrangement will allow the company to operate more efficiently.\u00a0 As a result, we will remain competitive for years to come.\u00a0 Please let me know if you would like to discuss any concerns.\n\nTelecommuting Proposal - Body (Making the Case!)\nTo fill in the proposal body, you need to address the areas discussed in the outline.\u00a0 Many of these details will be specific to your company.\u00a0 Along the way, I will provide examples for some of these areas of concern.\nThe Business Case\nIn this part of the proposal body, you want to mention any statistics that support your position.\u00a0 Typically, you will use general statistics provided by government or research agencies.\n\n\n\nYou can also use statistics released by companies that have done their own studies on telecommuting.\nExample (Telecommuting Productivity Statistics)\nIn studies on telecommuting, many companies have found that remote employees enjoy increased productivity.\nBoeing discovered that telecommuters were 15% to 30% more productive than onsite colleagues.\nIBM found a 10% to 20% increase in productivity among telecommuters.\nAccording to Inc Magazine, a Stanford study has shown that telecommuters got an entire day's productivity boost each week.\u00a0 This works out to a 20% increase in productivity.\nIn addition to citing general statistics, you can mention specific trends for your industry, region, or company.\u00a0 For example, are more companies in your metro area offering telecommuting to workers as a perk?\u00a0 If so, your company may want to get on board so that they can attract the best new talent.\n\nIf you can find a study showing that telecommuting saves money, include the reference!\n\n\n\nFor instance, new hires in your industry might take a lower salary in exchange for telecommuting options.\u00a0 Large cost savings can make skeptical managers very receptive to your proposal.\n\nAlso think about your company's specific goals, and tailor your proposal accordingly.\u00a0 For instance, your company might be looking to reduce costs.\u00a0 In that case, point to telecommuting as a way to reduce the cost of office space.\u00a0 The more people who telecommute, the lower the cost for office space becomes!\n\nAnother possibility is that your company wishes to increase productivity.\u00a0 In that case, point to studies that mention improvements in productivity for remote workers.\u00a0 I mentioned some of these earlier in the article.\u00a0 You can use these studies, or find your own research.\u00a0 The latter might be better if you really want to tailor your statistics and arguments for your company and boss.\n\nDon't fret if your company has never tried telecommuting.\u00a0 You can make the case that you will work to perfect the process through your pilot program.\u00a0 This includes testing the equipment, tools, software, and methods to optimize telecommuting productivity.\nThe Personal Case\nIn this part of the proposal body, you will want to highlight your past performance at the company.\u00a0 If you have good reviews, and colleagues think highly of you, this will speak in your favor.\nExample (Track Record)\nDuring the past four years, I have earned two promotions within our department.\u00a0 I helped to complete the Baker project after Larry broke his hip and was out for a month.\u00a0 I also reduced departmental costs by 10% after reviewing and negotiating with three of our major vendors.\nIf your company already has telecommuting workers, use that to support your argument.\u00a0 If it makes sense, your boss can talk to their managers to see what works and what doesn't.\u00a0 This conversation might also put his mind at ease about fears and objections about the arrangement.\n\nIn addition, you should speak to these telecommuting employees at your company.\u00a0 Ask them how they made their case to the boss.\u00a0 Also ask what helps them to be successful in a remote role.\u00a0 In addition, find out what problems they have overcome while working remotely.\u00a0 Finally, incorporate what you learn into your own telecommuting proposal.\n\nIf your company leadership hesitates to approve a remote work situation, emphasize the "trial" part of "trial run".\u00a0 If the results are good, you can continue, and if not, you can go back to where you were before.\u00a0 You will be no worse off in this case.\n\nMake sure to specifically state when you will sit down with your boss to review the remote work trial.\u00a0 I would suggest a 30, 60, or 90 day trial.\u00a0 If the boss is nervous, go for a shorter trial of one week.\u00a0 Then, review the results before moving to a longer-term arrangement.\n\nFinally, remind your boss that telecommuting saves you time, energy, and money.\u00a0 This will translate to a happier, healthier employee who has more resources to devote to the company.\u00a0 Check out my post about the benefits of telecommuting for employers to learn more.\nHome Office Logistics\nIn this part of the proposal body, you will want to go into detail about your home office.\u00a0 It might seem like overkill, but include specific items, to show that you have thought this through.\nExample (Home Office Details)\nOn telecommuting days, I will work out of my home office.\u00a0 This office is a 10' x 14' room in my house, with two windows to provide natural light.\u00a0 The walls have a shade of green that helps me to work more productively.\nThe room has ample task lighting, along with ergonomic equipment.\u00a0 This ergonomic equipment includes a mouse, keyboard, and wireless headset for conference calls.\n\nI also have a dedicated telephone line through Skype, along with high-speed internet access through Verizon.\nMy computer is an Asus Zenbook 3, with Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Mozilla Firefox installed.\u00a0 I have dedicated this computer for work tasks only.\u00a0 In addition to my computer, I have an HP OfficeJet 5741, which allows all-in-one printing, faxing, scanning, and copying.\u00a0 I also have plenty of pens, paper, staples, and printer ink.\nIn addition to these considerations, you may want to discuss how you will move files between home and office.\u00a0 You should mention flash drives, email, and security measures you use to maintain the integrity of company data.\nAccountability\nIn this part of the template body, you will discuss your work schedule, including hours of availability.\u00a0 You should also mention what you will accomplish during your telecommuting days.\u00a0 In addition, a template for a daily or weekly report might not be a bad idea.\u00a0 This will let your boss know that you take your job seriously and will complete your work.\n\nFirst, you will want to include the days that you will telecommute.\u00a0 You will also want to post your "core hours", which is when you will be working and available for questions.\u00a0 Make it clear that you are available by phone for emergency questions.\u00a0 However, colleagues and bosses can email low priority and non-urgent questions to you.\n\nAs long as you answer within a few hours, you should not have trouble.\u00a0 This arrangement has the goal of freeing you from minor distractions.\u00a0 That way, you can do high quality work during long blocks of uninterrupted time.\n\nYou should also include your work plans for the days that you telecommute.\u00a0 A software engineer might write some new code in the morning.\u00a0 Then, he can do a code review for a colleague in the afternoon.\u00a0 A salesman might make calls in the morning, and organize notes in a CRM system in the afternoon.\n\nThis might look exactly like what you do at work.\u00a0 However, you should write it down to reassure the boss that you have a system for completing your work.\u00a0 A daily or weekly template for a "work completed" sheet will save you time.\u00a0 Once your boss knows what to expect, he can see at a glance that you finish your work.\nExample (Telecommuting Schedule and Hours)\nI plan to telecommute on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week.\u00a0 During work hours, I plan to be available from 8am-12pm and 1pm to 5pm.\u00a0 I will check email before lunch and towards the end of the day to answer non-urgent questions.\u00a0 I will of course be available by phone for emergency questions at (617) 123-4567.\nThis will give me two long blocks (about 3.5 hours each) of uninterrupted time.\u00a0 My plan for the morning block is to focus on writing new software and optimizing existing programs.\u00a0 For the afternoon blocks, I hope to perform code review for junior engineers.\nOn Tuesday and Thursday, I will submit work reports.\u00a0 They will detail what I worked on and the level of completion for that day.\nThis proposal shows that you have a plan for how you will spend your time.\u00a0 Any manager will hesitate on telecommuting if he thinks your plan involves the "wing it and see what happens" strategy.\u00a0 Don't give them another objection to raise.\n\nBe specific about how you will spend your time!\u00a0 You might go into more detail than in the example above, depending on your current projects.\u00a0 Your goal is to prove to your boss that you can handle the responsibility of remote work.\u00a0 You want to show them that you have no intention of abusing this arrangement.\nAddressing Objections\nIn most cases, your boss will raise some objections to your proposal.\u00a0 He might simply want to test you, to see how much you want it.\u00a0 Perhaps your boss wants to test your sales ability, if you are a salesman!\u00a0 Most of the time, your boss will raise sincere concerns about telecommuting.\u00a0 If you can anticipate them and address them in your proposal, it will make your position stronger.\n\nFirst, you should address the concern of information security.\u00a0 You should install antivirus software on your home office computer.\u00a0 Two possibilities include Microsoft Security Essentials or McAfee Total Protection.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Whatever you choose, you should keep this software updated.\n\nIn addition, you should back up your work files to a flash drive.\u00a0 It makes sense to do this daily.\u00a0 If your computer crashes, then you lose a day's work, at most.\u00a0 You should also take steps to secure your home office.\u00a0 This includes using password protection for your computer, and locking your door.\n\nYour kids likely will not try to steal company secrets.\u00a0 However, they could still delete important files or cause other mischief.\u00a0 Finally, shred any client or company documents before you throw them away.\n\nNext, you should address the issue of ergonomics and safety.\u00a0 You might have already mentioned some ergonomic equipment, such as a keyboard, mouse, headset, and desk.\u00a0 You should also mention that you will educate yourself concerning proper use of this equipment.\u00a0 At a larger company, they may have someone on staff who works with employees on this very issue.\n\nYou should also address concerns about work and availability.\u00a0 If you have already addressed these in earlier parts of your proposal, then you should be fine.\u00a0 However, employers may wonder about the following:\n\n \tCan you finish your work at home? - assure your boss that distractions will be at a minimum at home.\u00a0 For example, the kids have school and sports from 7am to 4pm.\n \tWill you be available to answer questions? - you should have already addressed this earlier in your proposal, when you talked about telecommuting days\/hours and methods of contact.\n \tHow do I know you are working? - tell your boss that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.\u00a0 Just kidding.\u00a0 Assure him that the quality of your work product will tell him all he needs to know about your efforts.\u00a0 Results, or progress, matter more than process.\n \tWe have never allowed telecommuting! - times and labor markets change rapidly, and your company\/department does not want to lose out.\u00a0 Many of the best employees will expect telecommuting arrangements.\u00a0 Companies that offer this perk will attract and retain the best workers.\u00a0 Companies that do not will lose their best workers to other forward-thinking companies.\n \tYour colleagues will want to telecommute too! - all the better.\u00a0 You are not asking for special treatment.\u00a0 If a job allows for it, the company should implement telecommuting.\u00a0 Instead of having only one employee with increased productivity, your boss will have 5 or 10.\u00a0 You can still meet in the office some days, as needed.\u00a0 As your team becomes super productive, this will probably become less necessary.\n \tYour absence will hurt morale. - make the point that telecommuting will improve your own morale.\u00a0 Further, a single member of the team with high morale can boost everyone else's mood.\n \tWhat about the cost? - admit that your boss might have to reimburse you for a few home office expenses.\u00a0 Then point out that the company can make up the cost with increased productivity.\u00a0 In addition, if the company rents a smaller office space, they will save on rent and utilities.\n\nCheck Your Tone\nWhen writing your telecommuting proposal, use the proper tone.\u00a0 I would err on the side of caution, and make the tone more formal.\u00a0 However, you should tailor your writing style to what your boss and company expect from an employee in your position.\n\nIdeally, you should speak to someone at the company who has made the transition from in-person to remote.\u00a0 Ask them for a copy of the proposal they used, and incorporate elements of style from their work.\n\nIt may be that you are a trailblazer, and are the first employee to ask for remote work.\u00a0 If so, try to get in touch with someone outside of the company who has made the transition successfully.\u00a0 Again, ask for the proposal, and use it as a baseline.\nPotential Problems and Solutions\nAs mentioned earlier, your telecommuting proposal should address any objections your boss may have.\u00a0 This includes any obvious problems you might run into while working remotely.\u00a0 It may also include unforeseen issues, or problems you heard about when you spoke to people who already work remotely.\n\nShow your boss that you have done your homework and anticipated possible problems.\u00a0 It will work in your favor!\nInternet\nAs mentioned above, you should give specifics about your internet access.\u00a0 You should have high-speed, reliable internet.\u00a0 You should consider springing for a higher tier internet from your provider.\u00a0 For one thing, it will be faster and more reliable.\u00a0 For another thing, you will offset the cost with reduced spending on transportation, including gasoline, parking, and repairs.\n\nIn addition to your own fast, reliable internet, make sure you have a backup plan.\u00a0 This could include working on the Wi-Fi at a nearby coffee shop, bookstore, library, or coworking space.\u00a0 It could also include working at a friend or family member's house.\u00a0 Either way, make sure to clear this with IT, in case there are any cybersecurity concerns.\u00a0 I will talk more about this below.\nPhone\nYou should give your work colleagues a way to speak with you directly, if needed.\u00a0 A program like Skype would work.\u00a0 A second cell phone could also work.\u00a0 If you already have your own plan, adding a 2nd line would not be an outrageous expense.\u00a0 You might not want to give out your home or personal cell phone number to everyone at work anyway.\nPower Outage\nThis one is pretty rare in some places, but your boss will be glad that you thought of it.\u00a0 You will too, if it prevents you from missing an important deadline!\n\nOne possibility is to continue working at a place that still has power.\u00a0 If the outage is widespread, however, you could be driving for a while.\u00a0 That would still put you out of commission for a while, which defeats the purpose of a backup.\n\nA better plan is to buy an extra laptop battery and keep it charged, just in case.\u00a0 That way, you have enough stored power to make it through a full work day, or close to it.\u00a0 If the power is still out after a day, don't fret. You might be able to recharge the batteries nearby.\u00a0 Worst case scenario, you can go in to work if they have power and nobody else does!\nIT and Cybersecurity Concerns\nTalk to your IT department about any potential problems with working from home.\u00a0 They will likely think of things that we wouldn't even be vaguely aware of.\u00a0 What's more, some of these problems will be specific to your company.\n\nIf there are cybersecurity concerns, ask how you can address them.\u00a0 This could mean installing antivirus software on your computer.\u00a0 It could also mean having an IT expert configure your security settings and tools, such as a firewall and VPN.\nChildcare\nYou don't want your boss to think that you are pulling double duty with kids and work!\u00a0 It is better to mention childcare specifically and address it, rather than leave your boss to wonder.\u00a0 For instance, reassure him that you will continue to use your current daycare provider.\nIsolation\nThis is both a personal and business concern.\u00a0 Your boss will not want to see you suffer the effects of isolation.\u00a0 He will also not want the company to lose your contributions if you are no longer able to work effectively.\n\nKeep him posted on what you plan to do outside of work to go outside and spend time with others.\u00a0 Also, plan some calls during the week, with your boss or coworkers, to check in and see a friendly face.\nMotivation\nYour boss may worry that you will have trouble starting work in the morning.\u00a0 This is a valid concern if you are too comfortable at home.\u00a0 Emphasize the dedicated office space you have set up at home.\n\nAlternatively, remind him that you will be working from a coworking space.\u00a0 These spaces often have an atmosphere that will encourage you to do your best work.\nOverworking\nOn the other hand, your boss will not want to see you overworking yourself to the point of burnout.\u00a0 Make it clear that you are setting limits on your time, and that you know when to quit.\u00a0 This will depend on your company culture.\u00a0 However, your boss will worry if you are sending emails every hour of the day.\u00a0 Use your best judgment!\nTelecommuting Proposal - Template\nGood things come to those who wait!\u00a0 As promised, I have a telecommuting proposal template for you.\u00a0 If you don't want to write your own from scratch, this is a good place to start.\n\nYou can just use it as a starting point or for inspiration as you write your own.\u00a0 Make sure to add details specific to your company!\u00a0 You will not impress your boss with a 100% copy and paste job from my blog (as wonderful as my blog may be).\n\nYou can find Word and PDF versions of the telecommuting proposal template here.\n\nI hope this article has helped you to build your case for telecommuting.\u00a0 Enjoy the fruits of your labor!