Now that you realize that you can do your job from a home based office, it is now time to bring that idea to realization. It is time to write a request for proposal to your employer. Now in some cases, depending on the type or size of the company you work for, you may be able to have this proposal to work from home as an impromptu discussion. Then on the other end of the spectrum, you may need a comprehensive written document outlining every detail. Either way, the basic foundation of information you need to provide remains relatively the same.
For sample purposes, below I’ll describe a job scenario where you are working for a small business. Followed by a written proposal guide. I would always recommend a written document to support your verbal request no matter the comfort level you have with your employer. Having a written plan is like putting the ball in their court, they need to react and act on it. I feel that a verbal proposal without any supporting documents is like throwing the ball towards their court, but they have the option just to slap it right back at you. Most employers will ask you to have in writing anyway, so having already written when requested will show great initiative. Having the proposal on paper shows your employer that you have put thought into this idea and that this is important to you. If you are a valued employee, they will certainly take your approach seriously. You can also have other colleagues sign the proposal if they are interested in working with you and the employer to make this happen. Putting all this research and plan in place on the get go will give you a better chance at successfully having your employer agree to it.
Like you and I, the employer has a lot on their plate too, and having someone just come and say they would like to work from home would be low on their priority list. That is the reason you must be prepared before the request. Then when you come to them with a verbal request and hand them a written document, doing most of the homework for them already, and showing that there may be benefits for them, it won’t be long to start bringing your stuff home and start working in your PJs at home.
The primary information to provide in your proposal are as follows:
- Indicate clearly and precisely the topic of your proposal. State Your Purpose!
- Describe the reason you are presenting this proposal so the employer can understand the issues that brought this up.
- Provide solutions, of course one solution being to work from home, but also indicate how your solution will have benefits to the employer, to yourself or other employees and even to the environment. Many companies have environmental improvement initiatives, and if they can add this solution into their portfolio, bonus!
- Show how the above solution can be put into action, any costs or new equipment being involved, or there may even be lower costs. At this stage, it is important to give as many details as possible. Again, less work the employer needs to do to make this happen, the better.
- Conclude by again listing the purpose, the problem and the proposed solution.
- Date for review, this is a tricky one as you don’t want to seem too pretentious. I suggest you can put a blank date area or box that a date can be written in, so when you present it verbally, you can cordially discuss a date to review this proposal so it doesn’t sit gathering dust somewhere. You can write it in with the employer, then indicate you will add it to your calendars to review on that agreed date.
You work for a small business where you spend over 80% of your time at your desk or cubicle, typing things into the computer, making/taking calls. The other 20% of the time may be spent consulting with coworkers, some job related and some social interaction, and then you have your breaks. Your office is already part of a network of satellite offices around the region for the same company (as I’m writing this, a show called The Office, comes to mind). You drive close to an hour to get to the office both in the morning and evening (2 hours on the road daily).
Sample Proposal (basic info, further detail will be required for your home-based job proposal)
To: Employer name here
From: Your name here (and work colleagues if applicable)
Date: Today’s date
Title /Subject: A proposal to perform my employment tasks from a home-based office.
State it clearly, short and precise. I prefer presenting it in a positive tone to show that you do like your job, but this would be a great improvement to your work /life
balance. Stay away from saying something like “I hate coming to the office and prefer to be at home”, this is not exactly a good sales slogan.
example: I am proposing the option for me to perform my everyday work tasks from my home office. Although the office building environment has been a successful method of performing business, new technological advancements have provided ever expanding options for a new virtual office.
We currently have X number of satellite offices, all connected as one large virtual office. I propose that this virtual office can now be expanded to include individual employees from their home-based “satellite” offices.
This is where you can describe the advantages of working from home, work/life balance, productivity, cost savings and better for the environment.
example: Research has shown that businesses who provide the option for their employees to work from home have more benefits than just a better work /life balance for the employee…
You can continue to add specific details for improvement for your specific work. You can list things on how it improves employee satisfaction which contributes to better retention, reduces unscheduled absences, better productivity (you can list how your office time is spent-interruptions by co-workers, noise, cuts down on wasted meetings), employee empowerment, become more self-directed to meet work expectations/quotas, reduces regional boundaries which can expand their reaches to acquire new experienced employees, how an environmental friendly company may be able to access government grants. The list goes on, you can search and pull a number of research papers with analytical statistics and pull the ones that best fits to your situation.
Now you need to list how this can be done.
Cover all their doubts. Some employers may worry about all the legalities surrounding a work from home office. What happens if you get injured while working at home? How about employees that need an ergonomic desk? What do you do if you need tech support? We can’t send IT to everybody’s homes. The best and shortest solution to cover all these questions that I have seen is to have the employee sign a work from home office agreement. The agreement statements are variable, but it would basically outline that the employee is Voluntarily working from home and the employee would need to ensure a safe, private work environment. The employer can state that they will provide the hardware and software, like a laptop, telework phone and VPN access, but the employee will need to do their own setup, and if tech support is required, the employee is expected to present themselves to the closest satellite office.
example: Using my current laptop and telework phone no extra costs for equipment is required. I have discussed the options to use the laptop and phone at home, with our IT tech support and they agree that the current laptop and phone can be used without any modification. The laptop is already loaded with a VPN access due to our current virtual office setup with our satellite offices. The VPN connection provides secure access to the company’s network, and will have access to all of the same applications as if I were sitting in our current office. The telework phone can be connected to my home internet service.
You can continue to describe all the tools needed to work from home, you can list them in point form, indicate any costs that may be associated, cover all their doubts. I personally set up a pilot trial, cooperating with IT and my boss, so that I was personally able to see if there were any unforeseen barriers to working from home. Another concern that would need to be addressed is how the employer can track your productivity. Ensure to indicate all of the employers current methods of measuring productivity or you may offer other options to assist them.
example: In conclusion, I believe providing the option for work from a home-based office will assist in maintaining a better work / life balance. Using current hardware and software for little or no upfront costs the work from home option will bring the company to a position that will be envied by other companies worldwide.
Summarize the purpose, reason and solution in a positive note. Again it is up to you whether you want to add a review date, depending on your comfort with the employer.
I hope you find this information helpful. No need to feel that writing a proposal has to be something a lawyer needs to draw up. Honesty and clarity is the key to creating a proposal that has the best chance of approval.
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