How to Write a Telecommuting Proposal
Want to work from home? You are not alone. According to a 2017 report on the state of telecommuting by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, nearly 4 million U.S. employees work from home at least for half of a traditional work week. This number has grown exponentially--in 2005, according to the report, only 1.8 million were clocking hours from their home offices. If telecommuting isn't offered at your company, it does't mean you shouldn't propose it, but you will need to work to present a compelling case for it.
Perhaps one the most important things to show your boss in a telecommuting proposal is that you've done your homework. A well-researched proposal will not only express the points needed to convince your supervisor, but it is also demonstrates your ability to work independently and create a quality product. Don’t just jump in and start writing, first read:
Elements of a Telecommuting Proposal
You may want to introduce the proposal with a brief cover letter, particularly if this will be distributed among several people. our proposal itself should be modeled on a business proposal, such as one you might prepare for a client whom you hope to convince to do business with you.
A brief intro tells what you want and why it is good for the company. If you are proposing a trial or part-time telecommuting arrangement, state that up front as well. Keep it short because you will have time later to expand on your points.
Toward the beginning of the proposal, you’ll want to briefly state any favorable background information. This might include personal information, such as your qualifications, positive performance reviews, years on the job, etc., or information regarding the company’s existing telecommuting or flexible work policies. Save longer explanations of why telecommuting would be beneficial for later, though.
How Telecommuting Would Work
This where you get into the nuts and bolts of how this arrangement would work. This will likely be an information-dense segment of the proposal so you may want to divide it up with bullet points or section headings to make it easier on your reader(s).
- Job Tasks – What are you jobs daily, weekly and monthly tasks, and how can each of them be done from home? If you are proposing part-time telecommuting, specify which tasks will be done at home and which in the office.
- Hours – Definitely if you will work different hours than you did in the office, you’ll want to touch on this subject. But even if you won’t, it’s still a good idea to state your anticipated hours. This can be a safeguard against the expectation that you will work any and all hours.
- Technology – What technology will be needed for this arrangement to work? If you already use a laptop at work, state that. If you plan to use your home computer, tell what software/modifications will be needed for this. Are you able to log into your company’s network from home now? If so, say that; if not, outline what will need to be done to make that option available.
- Cost/Logistics – If new technology is needed, who will pay for it? What will not cost anything? There are many free services useful that are useful to telecommuters plus there may be services that your company already pays for (e.g. SharePoint) that you would utilize. Where will you work if you do come in the office? At home, explain where you will work. If you have a dedicated space for you home office, be sure to mention that.
- Communication – Outline a plan for communications. In addition to stating how routine communications with coworkers, clients and your supervisor will be conducted (phone, email, teleconferencing, etc.), this might include proposing a regular phone meeting with your boss or the use of teleconferencing services for meetings. You’ll also want to state any events that would require face-to-face communications.
- Accountability – Propose a plan for a review of the situation. For instance, choose a time period—e.g., 90 days, six months—after which the arrangement will be assessed by you and your boss. It’s important, whether you put this in your proposal or discuss it later, that expectations of what success looks like are laid out in advance.
Benefits to the Company
Begin with benefits that are specific to your situation. How can telecommuting help you do your job better? And while it is definitely worthwhile to mention how working from home will improve your personal life, don’t lead with that and frame it in terms of how it will help you do your job better.
Potential Problems and Solutions
This is information you only want to put in the proposal, if there is a really obvious potential problem. Only then is better to address it in the proposal, and you must have a workable solution to it. However, while you are writing your proposal, you may want to jot down a list of potential problems and their solutions, so that when you speak about telecommuting with your boss you are ready to address these issues.
If you have young children at home, you may want to state your plan for child care, assuming your plan is to have a different child care provider than yourself. And that really should be your plan; no employer wants to pay you to do two things at once. However, this might be an issue to address in person rather than in your formal proposal.
Giving your supervisor a clear option for a next step can help prevent your proposal from being lost in limbo, but it has to be an option. Don’t demand a meeting or a hearing on this. Suggest a time frame for an in-person, in-depth discussion on the matter.
Keep any summary brief, but it’s always nice to say thank you.
Not all companies (or jobs) will be compatible with telecommuting, but it never hurts to ask.