Workplace Rights

Weekly (9/3/14)

Topic of the Week  Punch the Clock in Your PJs

Punch the Clock in Your PJs, Executive Summary:

  • Telecommuting saves money.
  • You'll get more done.
  • Suggest a pilot program.
  • Trade it for a raise.

Punch the Clock in Your PJs: Convincing Them To Let You Telecommute

Approximately 10% of American workers telecommute at least one day a week. Jet Blue and Deloitte Consulting are leading the way with a big commitment to telecommuting. If you'd like to join the people who work from their couch, I'll outline a series of strategies that you can use to convince your boss. But first, here are the results of a Wakefield Research survey of what people really do when they work from home. 43% watch TV, 26% take naps (I'm guilty as charged), 24% drink alcohol and 7% work in their underwear or naked.

Now isn't that a pretty picture? Someone watching TV, after just waking from a nap, smelling like booze and wearing nothing but his or her birthday suit. But it gets better, in spite of all that aberrant behavior studies by academics and companies documents that telecommuters are more productive that people who work back at the office. Before I outline a strategy for convincing your boss to let you work from your home, let me make a simple point. Working from home isn't for everyone. Many people like to have an office routine, coworkers and the chance to avoid temptations like the fridge and Jerry Springer. But for those who are ready to make the case that they should work from home, here are some points you should make with your boss…

Telecommuting saves money. The office in your home is always going to be cheaper than the office that your company can provide. AT&T found that they cut office space costs by up to 50%. While IBM reports it saved $56 million. But the cost savings don't stop there. A study by Stanford University found that workers were happier and less likely to leave the company, so attrition rates dropped in half.

You'll get more done. On the low end, Stanford found that workers were 12% more productive when they worked from home. While a study by American Express found home based workers were 43% more productive. Reasons include that you lose less time to commuting, don't have as many interruptions and working from home is quieter.

Suggest a pilot program. Don't try to change the entire company policy on telecommuting, just offer yourself up as a pilot program to test the concept. You'll be the guinea pig and the company can learn if it's beneficial.

Trade it for a raise. Okay this is clearly a worst-case scenario. But if you can't get your company or boss to budge on the idea of telecommuting, wait until you have an annual raise coming. Offer to trade the raise to work from home on a regular basis. Yep, show them the money. Odds are that you'll still have more money in your pocket when you reduce your commuting and getting dressed for work costs.

But my favorite study found that people liked their coworkers more when they telecommuted. I guess distance does make the heart grow fonder, especially if you do your best work naked.


Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"It's not for everyone. Full-time telecommuting can be like falling off a cliff for some people. They need the social interaction of an office environment."

–Jane Anderson

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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    • Nineteen percent of full-time workers say they can't afford to take a vacation Down from 24 percent in 2011


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