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Telework Employees

Making Your Case for Telework

What happens if you have been deemed ‘eligible to telework’ under your agency telework program, but your manager is reluctant to approve your telework requests?  It is important to remember telework is not an employee benefit or entitlement and is subject to managerial approval within the limits of the agency telework policy and requirements of the law. 

If you have a manager who is a reluctant supporter of telework, you may need to build a business case for telework to address your manager’s concerns.  To begin you may find preparing a brief, written proposal could help guide your discussion. It is important to think like a manager, and in particular your manager, when developing your business case.

Key Questions and Elements to Include in Your Written Proposal:

  • Why You Want to Telework — Explain exactly why you want to telework and what teleworking will mean to you.  Focus on the nuts and bolts of your telework arrangement, such as how things will be done or how communication will occur.
  • Employer Benefits — Relate how it will benefit your agency.  In some cases, it may be better to focus more attention on how telework will benefit the agency/organization versus how it will benefit you.
  • Job Responsibilities — Summarize what you do and identify specific tasks or parts of your job that lend themselves to teleworking.  Focus attention on telework’s positive effects on your work responsibilities. 
  • Employee Characteristics — Discuss why you would be a good candidate for teleworking.  Remember successful teleworkers need to have work habits that support independent task performance such as:  1) the ability to work with minimal direct supervision; 2) organized work practices; 3) good planning skills; 4) the ability to meet schedules and deadlines; and 5) effective communication skills.
  • Home Environment — Describe where in your home you will work.  If applicable, include a safety checklist self-certifying the space is free from hazards.
  • Equipment and Communications — Describe what equipment you will use (e.g. your employer's or yours) and how you plan to communicate with your supervisor, coworkers, clients, etc.
  • Schedule — Be Flexible.  Suggest a schedule that will be "comfortable" for your manager. Consider starting out with one day every one or two weeks and increasing the number of days, if you wish, as you both gain more experience.
  • Trial Period — Suggest a short trial period (e.g. 3-6 months minimum) with the option to change the parameters of your arrangement after you and your manager have had the opportunity to  evaluate the telework arrangement.