View Full Version : Negotiating remote work without the productivity angle?
12-13-2007, 03:01 PM
I'm trying to find a new angle to use as I pitch the remote work idea to my bosses. My problem is that I can't use the "I'll be more productive from home" angle because they already don't have enough work to keep me busy.
Currently, I sit in a full time position, but only stay busy for about half of the time I'm there. I haven't exactly kept this a secret from management, but I'm afraid to make too big an issue out of it.
The only logic that I could come up with that would benefit the company would be either to accept less pay and go part time, or quit altogether and work for them as a consultant. I'm trying to preserve as much of my income as possible - so those solutions are good, but I think I can do better.
Anyone got ideas?
12-13-2007, 03:21 PM
Well, not to be blunt, but if you're barely working half-time as it is, your time is probably limited at that company anyway. It might be best to just bite the bullet and ask to go down to half time, unless you see business picking up in the near future.
12-13-2007, 04:56 PM
People make decisions or have certain behaviours for two reasons. First reason is to avoid pain. Second reason is to seek pleasure.
When you negotiate remote and claim the benefit of higher productivity, you are going after the second reason (seek pleasure). You need to go after the first reason (avoid pain). You need to make sure that you are highly valued by your firm, or by your boss. This way the boss will not want to lose you as an employee. If you can create this scenario, then you can propose remote work while hinting that you are not wholly satisfied, and that you'd feel a lot more job satisfaction if you could avoid the commute, etc.
You could also invent a reason for remote work. This borders (or is way over the line of) dishonesty, and it is your call as to the ethics, but it is possible to consider a lie that entails some form of remote work (perhaps and emergency trip that you need to take due to some family emergency in another city), which then leads to you doing 1 month remote work, which leads to you telling your boss you like that setup and want to keep it.
Whatever you do, you need to setup this scenario where it is painful for the boss to lose you (mostly because it is a hassle to recruit and train a replacement).
Also keep in mind that you may just be better off elsewhere. If you come to a decision that you are better at another firm (assuming no changes happen to grant you remote work), then you might want to just push extra hard to get the remote work, either it works (you are happier then) or it fails and you have to leave the company (you are happier then also).
Just remember your priority should be you and your family.
12-14-2007, 08:51 AM
If you are only busy half the time, what are you doing with your time? I though about not being critical here, but that might be what you need (if not then skip to the end here).
You aren't busy because you aren't trying hard enough. Bottom line. If you have to take out the garbage and clean the toilets to log 40 hours of a paid 40 hour work week, then do it. I would hope that you can find a better outlet for your energies though.
Try reading the book Automatic wealth by Michale Masterson. Make yourself more valuable to the company. I can't imagine why they would employ you to only work 20 hours but pay for 40, and no one in their right mind would hire a slacker as a consultant. Take some initiative and improve your situation.
You mentioned quitting in your post. People try to work from home because they like the job they are doing and want to continue it while moving toward a 4 hour work week. If you have no attachments to it, then let go and go some place where you are more challenged.
If you continue trying to look busy 20 hours a week to make up for lack of work, you will just kill your work habits. It is like many of the English teachers I see over the years who come to Japan (I live here). They teach 18 hours a week, but try to look busy the rest of the time, and develop terrible habits. Basically becoming unemployable. Not the direction Tim advises at all.
12-16-2007, 04:23 AM
Why donít you make better use of your 20 hours. I have been in the exact same situation. I worked for a very rigid employer that just wanted somebody to answer the call when a manager was in a crisis. They did not care that I had nothing to do 50% to 100% of the time. I developed my business plan, and networked with contacts to start a new gig. It is actually a fantastic solution because you are being paid to brainstorm your exit. Just make sure not to use any of the companies equipment for anything (IP reasons) I wrote everything down on a notepad and took notes in a digital recorder. At home in 1 hour I was able to transcribe 4 hours worth of thinking.
Participate in forums, read blogs, but do nothing productive towards your goal. Save all that energy and get it out in 1 hour. The alterative is find a way to better yourself during those 20 hours. Start reading business books, or take a college course and study at work.
Do something to keep your mind moving! Something for you.
12-21-2007, 02:11 PM
Wow, you people give great feedback...lots to think about.
I definitely agree about developing the bad work habits..I can already feel it starting. I am working on using the extra time to develop the work habits described in the book. Of course that leaves me with even more extra time, since I do the little work I have faster.
It's true that no one in their right mind would hire someone to work 20 hrs of a 40 hr week. When I was hired I was always busy and stayed that way for 2 years. This lack of work thing is fairly recent - I thought it would blow over but it's not. I have brought it up to my bosses, and they are indifferent, which puzzles me. Ironically I am busier this week - probably because I posted on this forum.
I have tried in the past to take the initiative to come up with projects that I believe are good for the company - and move them forward. But this is the kind of company where if you stick your neck out, it gets stepped on. They seem to just want me to be there when something comes up and not think on my own too much. You can see why I am unhappy in my job.
I like the idea of using the extra time to do everything on paper. I have been trying to do what I can with my own muse ideas, but outside work is frowned upon - even if they arent keeping me busy.
Something's gotta give soon. I have started looking at other jobs, but taking another full time position without at least trying the remote work thing seems like starting from square 1 to me. My goal is not to work from 9-5 in a gray office. I would have to start from scratch to create the conditions that would allow me to negotiate remote work at a new company.
For now, I am working on inserting myself into as many projects and meetings as possible, getting involved in things that I have not been part of. If I can make a bunch of projects hinge on me in any way, it will hurt to lose me.
I have a lot more I want to say - but I gotta go to work :) Thanks to everyone for the great feedback..
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