How to Sell a Telework Program to Your Company

Your detailed case should provide a clear and concise outline on how a telework program will benefit your company's bottom line. Remember, there is no "one size fits all" approach to get your management to buy into telework. However, the following resources will be helpful for you to make your case.

The benefits of a telework program may be difficult to put into numbers. When possible, measure productivity by listing performance standards that can be tracked, such as: sales calls per week, time spent with customers, customer satisfaction review forms, or projects completed per quarter.

Investigate the potential risks or concerns with your program to assure the benefits outweigh them. Your suggested telework program is an opportunity for you to make a significant contribution to your company’s success. To sell your plan to top management you’ll need to consider every element carefully, and estimate what fiscal benefits your program offers the company. An outline follows:

A. Carefully detail how a teleworking program will benefit your company. Whenever possible, quantify these benefits, including:

  • Increased productivity
    Will your proposed telework plan help employees avoid wasted time spent in traffic? If one or more employees worked offsite, would it benefit a team's productivity? If fewer employees endured long commutes or traffic, would they have more energy or focus?

  • Increased employee retention
    If employees had the flexibility of teleworking, would they enjoy higher morale and feel greater company loyalty?

  • Reduced real estate costs
    Will teleworking reduce the need for scarce or expensive parking at your office? If a number of employees were to telework, would it eliminate your company's need to move, or ease the need for additional office space?

  • Decreased absenteeism
    If employees were able to telework, would they be less likely to leave work early, come in late, or call in sick? If fewer employees endured long commutes or traffic, would they have higher morale and greater company loyalty?

  • Increased ability to keep the doors open in times of crisis
    How would your company function in the event of a natural or man-made disaster that affected your facility or the transportation routes to and from the office? In the event of a pandemic, are your employees prepared to work remotely so that your business can stay up and running? A recent study by CDW-G found that only one-third of private sector companies are prepared for "business as usual" during such events, which means that 66% of private sector companies are at risk of failure during emergency situations. Which category does your company fall in right now? A well-designed telework program can help address these issues.

  • Reduced traffic congestion
    If employees did not have to commute to the office, would your company be able to hire from a wider geographic area and talent pool? If fewer employees endured long commutes or traffic, could they be more relaxed and focused on their work?

B. Next, outline and quantify costs including:

  • Any equipment required to set up home or offsite offices laptops, PDAs, cell phones, printer/fax/scanners, office furniture, software, phone lines, and Internet connection fees.

    Additional software, service and connection fees

    Examples: phone lines, web access, set up fees and IT consulting
  • Information technology/remote access service at the central office.

    Examples: remote access servers, firewalls, Virtual Private Network software,and IT consulting
  • Telework training for employees and managers.

    Examples: How to manage by results, effective remote communication, and IT/remote access software and security training
  • Other labor costs associated with program start-up.

    Examples: review and revision of HR manuals and personnel policies, telework policy development, and the cost of evaluating the program.

C. Compare the benefits and Return on Investment (ROI) with the costs to determine if your telework program is a viable solution for your company.

  • Quantify the potential reduction in real estate/overhead costs, recruiting/retention savings, and where possible, employee productivity, to estimate the ROI.
  • While some potential savings may be difficult to pinpoint, use success stories from similar companies as a baseline and adjust as appropriate for your company's situation. In addition, there are telework ROI calculators available on the web to assist you.

D. After compiling the research and writing your case, you'll complete a few more steps to gain approval.

  • Make a list of every individual (or at least every department) in your company that your telework arrangement will affect, and how.
  • Present your case to the appropriate person(s) in your company. Depending on the size and nature of your company, this could be someone from Human Resources, upper management or the CEO, or all of them.
  • Anticipate questions and answer them with care and confidence.