“Our department head refuses to allow telecommuting. He will not accept
that people can work productively at home even though other department heads
occasionally permit it. My commute is an hour each way, so eliminating drive
time one or two days a week would greatly improve my quality of life. My
immediate supervisor favors the idea, but she knows the department head won’t
approve it, and if he does it for me, he’ll have to do it for everyone. I would
like to offer myself as a telecommuting test case. How should I present the
idea?” — Tired of Driving
* Successful telecommuting requires clearly measurable results. Before relinquishing on-site supervision, managers need to agree with employees on what will be accomplished during “at-home” days.
* Telecommuting suits some jobs better than others. Work requiring quiet concentration often benefits from fewer distractions. But jobs involving interpersonal interaction may suffer when face-to-face contact is reduced.
* Before granting work-from-home privileges, should develop a clear telecommuting policy. Employees need to understand how approval decisions will be made.
* Managers also must consider the fairness factor. Telecommuting will not be a morale booster if employees perceive that favoritism influences approvals.
* To strengthen your case, present some telecommuting success stories from other departments. But remember that feelings sometimes carry more weight than facts. If your department head has a strong emotional belief that working at home means goofing off, he may never be swayed by rational arguments.