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How can I convince my employer to let me work from home?

Friday February 21 2020

Technology and internet connectivity has birthed the concept of virtual offices.

Technology and internet connectivity has birthed the concept of virtual offices. PHOTO | FILE 

Q: I enjoy working from home and I can competently deliver on my responsibilities at my current workplace. However, I don’t know how to approach my supervisor with this issue because she doesn’t seem to fancy the idea. She even takes a head count every day to ensure that every employee is present. How should I raise this matter with her?

Workplace cultures have evolved over the years. Many employees today prefer more flexibility, and are actually likely to change jobs just to achieve that. Gone are the days when closed door offices were a symbol of seniority. Now, most employers prefer open-plan work space and hot desking.

Technology and internet connectivity has birthed the concept of virtual offices which allows employees to operate from different locations. However, not all employees prefer to work from home like you. Additionally, this arrangement may not be possible for those in fields such as hospitality where they need to interact with clients every day. Even so, there are other options such as allowing staff to work for half a day or for three days a week, which may still foster higher retention rates for the benefit of all parties.

Working from home can help organisations cut down on operational costs such as office space, since one work station can be used by as many as five employees if they are all allowed to work from home on certain days. The same principle will apply to other employee costs such as meals and transport. It also creates a better work-life balance and reduces time wasted on the way to work, which translates to reduced stress levels and more time for family. Proponents of this idea often say that due to reduced disruptions, those who work from home are more productive.

However, some employers are hesitant to embrace this new culture because they fear that their employees will take advantage of it. This can be countered by making sure that performance objectives are clearly set, and that key deliverables are measurable and well understood. Reviews should also be regular to ensure that all parties are on track.

Of course there will be days when all employees are required to physically attend key meetings, but this can be worked out in advance.

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Mwikali Muthiani - Managing Partner, MillennialHR (@MwikaliN; [email protected]) 

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