our everyday life

How to Write a Proposal for Working Remotely

by Scott Shpak, studioD

Working from home is a dream for many. As a home-based worker, setting your own pace while integrating personal and professional lives becomes increasingly possible as information technologies refine and expand for businesses. The secret to writing a successful remote work proposal is concentrating on the benefits to your employer through your performance improvements. Without tangible results and low risk, your proposal won't be compelling.

Your Perspective

Downplay your motivations for a remote work proposal. While it may be true that being able to respond to your children's needs reduces your stress and improves your performance, your manager will focus on your time away from work. Present how your work benefits from the proposed changes. Focus on reduced distractions and time saved from commuting. Propose where and when you will do your work, and what duties you will perform at home and at the business.

The Company's Perspective

Focus on direct, immediate and tangible benefits the company receives from accepting your proposal. For example, if you save an hour morning and afternoon, propose to work the afternoon commute hour to extend service to clients in the time zones west of the company. Outline how you will measure your productivity improvements. List space and resources the company recovers with you working remotely, right down to an extra parking space, if that is a concern.

Proactively Troubleshoot

Address your manager's concerns, whether real or imagined. Tell your boss how you will maintain contact with him and your co-workers. Outline provisions for when you lose cell phone coverage or Internet access. Explain how you will handle special projects, or deal with obtaining office supplies. When you bring up remote work with your manager, his mind will run immediately to operational details. Point out that the company time clock has remote logging, you have a land line for phone backup, or that the office supply company will deliver to your home at no charge. Anticipate everything that could affect your performance, and propose solutions.

Be Flexible

You're asking for flexibility from the company, so remain flexible yourself. If remote work is a hard sell in your company, propose a trial period, or suggest two days a week as a starting point. Schedule a review with your manager to ensure remote work is successful for both of you. Even when you agree to Mondays and Tuesdays from home, be ready to go into the office if a major client visits on Monday. Spell this out in your proposal so your manager knows you understand his priorities.

About the Author

As an operations and technical projects manager in the photofinishing industry, Scott Shpak is also an experienced audio engineer and musician, as well as Editor-in-chief, feature writer and photographer for Your Magazines Canada.

Photo Credits

  • John Howard/Photodisc/Getty Images