How to Get Flex Time? Ask!

Susan Hall
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Telecommuting's Powerful Benefits

While it may not be for everyone, the future of telework appears bright.

After recently reported a survey in which one-third of technology professionals polled said they'd take a pay cut of up to 10 percent if they could telecommute full time, you'd think companies would be all over that.


Clearly it can be a powerful tool in recruitment and retention. But when do you bring that up with an employer, asks a freelance writer and mother in this Wall Street Journal piece.


I think most companies that offer telecommuting these days are savvy enough to dangle that option in front of potential hires. If they don't, that's not a good sign, but job candidates can still press for it. But as my colleague Ann All has written, organizations that are implementing telework, such as the federal government, might still have managers that still aren't on board or at least are reluctant to offer it.


According to the Journal article, most newbies have to pass a probationary period first in the office. It says the worker needs to sell the employer on her skills and drive to do a good job. Once an offer has been made, that's the time to ask about flexibility. Carolyn Thompson, a Tysons Corner, Va., career coach suggests questions such as:

What sort of programs do you have to support work-life flexibility and telecommuting for employees after they have passed the probationary period?

The article suggests submitting a formal proposal addressing the employer's concerns, including how your performance will be measured and how you will maintain contact with clients and co-workers. With instant messaging and chat programs, communication really isn't an issue, even globally. And with videoconferencing and other unified communications offerings, meetings aren't either.


Ann pointed to a report by Scott P. Overmyer, a professor and director of the MSIS Program at Baker College's Center for Graduate Studies, who cited six key success factors for telework for both employee and employer:

  • Support from top management.
  • Clear written policies and agreements.
  • Training for employees and managers.
  • Effective performance measures.
  • Evaluations based on performance, not presence.
  • An inclusive work model that makes an effort to include remote workers in team communications.


Is your company looking to implement telework? You can be its biggest advocate by finding the resources to make it successful. Check out the offerings in our IT Downloads center such as Info-Tech Research Group's sample Telework Policy and Agreement.

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