The working landscape has changed to one of telecommunication, many have become digital nomads, vagabonds who will be cloudcommuting, hotdesking, and being even more local by being virtual. This is a good thing.
If we can balance our life and work styles to have the best of all the worlds (environmental, social, cultural, economical) we can save the planet while remaining connected both digitally and physically.
The convergence of dramatic changes in technology, psychology and the environment have driven an increase in teleworking described below.
Three major technology changes have taken place over the last decade: the decreased cost of laptop and mobile technology, cloud-based computing and significant improvements in online security.
The shift in thinking is occurring on both sides of the equation. Employees and employers are moving from their fears of loss of control, performance and competitive edge to acceptance as the statistics come with the results of increased employee productivity, increased health of workers due to less stress, decreased office costs and smaller environmental footprints, among others.
For example, the savings on the environmental footprint of 50 million US remote workers that would telecommute 50% of the time (from Lister and Harnish 2011):
• 281 Barrels of oil or 46% of Persian Gulf imports
• Reduced greenhouse gases (GHG) to the tune of 51 million tons/year
• Reduced road travel and the associated injuries/wear on infrastructure
• Reduced off-shoring of jobs
Make the case for working remotely for two days a week to your employer. Make an appointment to discuss and negotiate your proposal.
• It Saves Company Time By Not Having to Commute
• It Helps the Environment
• Saves Company Costs
• It Cuts Down on Interoffice Conflict
• It Prevents Complications and Loss of Work Due to the Weather
• It Saves Money on Moving Expenses
• It Increases the Productivity of Your Boss
• It Eliminates the Possibility of Spreading Disease
• It Keeps Employees Happy
Check the employee manual. If there’s an existing telecommuting policy or flex schedule then your chances of success are good. You can use the information provided to make your case in your remote work proposal.
If there’s no written information but some of your co-workers currently have flexible work arrangements, ask them for advice on proceeding; they’ll have the inside scoop.
But don’t worry if no one ever has established a flexible work schedule or remote work agreement at the company; you can be the first!
Use your experience to your advantage:
• Because your supervisor’s support and approval will be key to getting your request granted, you’ve got a leg up if you are an established employee whom your supervisor trusts and values. Make sure you maintain that respect and continue to make yourself invaluable to the company.
• When creating your remote work proposal, reference past employee evaluations that had positive comments related to critical telecommuting traits, such as: initiative, ability to work without supervision, communication skills, etc.
• If you’re a new hire, prove your ability to telecommute productively using examples from past experience at other companies. If you don’t have past remote work experience, highlight the expertise you do bring to the company; they hired you for a reason, so they will probably want to keep you. Perhaps delay the request, however, until you’ve developed a strong rapport with your supervisor and proven yourself invaluable to the company.
The Deep Dive:
Advantages and disadvantages of teleworking here.
Learn what it takes to become a digital nomad here.
Role of teleworking in reducing carbon emissions here.
Boston is Number 6 on the Remote Work City Index here.
Remote Work: An Examination of Current Trends and Emerging Issues (2011) from Cornell here.
Remote Work myths here.
Check out a legitimate telecommute job search site worth paying for here.