I’ve been studying and blogging about work and family issues for a long time, so I didn’t expect to learn anything new, but I did. Ferriss’ trick is to ease into your flexible arrangement gradually.
You start by increasing the company’s investment in you. If they spend a lot of time training you or a lot of money educating you, they’d rather not lose what they invested.
Next, you show how much work you can get done at home. Be as productive as possible for a couple of days, preferably when you’re off so you can show your efforts for a full workday (and Ferriss includes tips on how to get more done in less time), and document exactly how productive you are with lots of quantifiable evidence.
Then, you show how much it benefits your company if you continue working from home.
The fourth step is to propose a trial period. You can start by asking for just a couple of weeks for maybe one or two days per week. This gives your boss a chance to raise his or her objections.
The final step is where you expand your remote time. You can use the success you’ve created in your short trial period to make a case for working from home even more. And so on, until you’ve got your ideal schedule.
This approach doesn’t always come problem-free, of course, but I liked the idea of warming up to a more flexible schedule gradually. Most people who want flexible schedules but don’t have them fall into two categories: people who don’t ask and bosses who won’t allow it.
Most of those bosses are not mean, evil tyrants who want to crack the whip on all their employees. They’re usually reluctant to try it when they haven’t done such a thing before, and they might have real concerns about how such an arrangement could work.
But if an employee starts out small by asking for lesser changes, the boss has an opportunity to try it and see how those concerns play out.