Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Do bosses feel betrayed when telecommuting is proposed?
Old 04-13-2010, 05:12 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 81
Do bosses feel betrayed when telecommuting is proposed?

For the "too long didn't read" version jump to the end

I am considering proposing to my boss that I work remotely from another country (in a set city, we wouldn't be traveling around except on weekends, and the timezone isn't wacky, so my hours wouldn't change) for 3-12 months. The large difference between the minimum and maximum number of months is because I would put in a "if it's not working out for either party I'll return home early" clause that would be reviewed every three months. There are significant advantages for the employer and my family, what seems like a "win-win" for everyone that I won't be going into in this post as they don't have much to do with my question - I would obviously highlight the benefits for both sides (with a focus on the company side). I would be keeping my home etc, the intent isn't to change anything in the long term.

Some background on my relationship with my company and my direct superior:
I've been with the company for five years and have been promoted several times. My boss, the general manager, and I have a very good working relationship. We both have a high degree of trust in each other. Our parent company, which is about 5 times bigger than us, has owned us for almost four years, which is when I started working with the current general manager. He has confided in me that I am considered by other senior people in the enterprise (he has been with the parent company for 15 years) to be a "lifer" and an up and coming member of the senior team and that everyone appreciates my hard work. The company has also been paying for my training towards my accounting designation for the past year and a half that I began studying towards when I accepted my latest position in the accounting department and moved from my previous department. I would continue working towards my designation as it is all done by correspondence except for the exams.

I was asked to "break the mold and brainstorm creative ways to save money in the short term" by my boss the other day. I had already thought of this before he mentioned that, and this gave me an easy excuse to propose it to him if I decided to.

My major fear is that my boss (who studies critical thinking heavily, but is still prone to emotional thinking) will somehow feel betrayed by my proposal. I would of course frame the proposal with "if you don't like this idea that's fine, no questions asked, I'll drop the idea", but the fact is it would be out there now that I considered it and I have this niggling feeling that he would think less of me for it for some reason. I would be a little annoyed if the proposal was rejected, but I wouldn't really care too much, and I would drop the idea.

So I guess my main question is:
"Do bosses feel betrayed when telecommuting is proposed?"
Does anyone have any experience with this? Maybe someone who reports to you asked to work remotely?
__________________

__________________
schmidtjas is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-13-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
Recycles dryer sheets
JBmadera's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Green Valley
Posts: 241
Over the past 15 years, working in hi tech, many of my folks have telecommuted and it was never a problem for me. If I am understanding you right you are talking about moving to another country? If so would the majority of your face to face business be in the that country? Lastly, are you thinking of asking your company to relocate you?

jb
__________________

__________________
JBmadera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2010, 05:55 PM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,375
A young friend asked her boss if she could work from home when she moved several states away and was told no. When she gave notice, her boss's boss called her immediately and asked why. When she told him, the boss's boss immediately suggested she work from her new home. Three years later, she's still working from home for the same company and has been promoted.

So while your immediate boss might (or might not) take your suggestion personally, the higher ups, more removed from the situation, may think it is a great idea when/if they get wind of the idea.
__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2010, 06:03 PM   #4
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,613
I wasn't asked to work remotely, but when I mentioned we bought a small place out in the country and might want to move there at some point, my boss offered up a transfer to our Austin office which would have me working part-time in the office and part time at home; this was nearly 4 years ago. The Austin office is about an hour and 20 minutes each way, so when I worked in the office I tended to work 2-3 straight days in the office and spend the night in a motel near the office -- leaving early Monday morning and coming home on Wednesday afternoon most of the time.

Eventually I started going in less, and late last year the facilities folks wanted to consolidate office space and they wanted to know if I could relinquish my office. I asked my boss about and mentioned that I'd probably need to be classified as a full-time home office employee in order to do this and that I was fine with it if he didn't mind me being a full-time telecommuter.

I haven't been in the office since before Christmas.

I think his whole team mostly or completely telecommutes now and it's not an issue. We have a lot of proven performers who have demonstrated they could get everything done at home with a broadband Internet connection and a telephone.

Plus it's convenient for us; we are very much a global organization with internal "customers" in all geo regions and time zones. By working at home we're not tied to the usual 8-5ish schedule which shortchanges our colleagues in Europe and Asia when they need a quick turnaround. Working at home, it's easier to work for a few hours early in the day (starting with handling requests and inquiries from Europe), take some time to run errands and do other stuff during local business hours, and come back and check in during the evening to wrap up a few things and handle urgent requests from our folks in Asia. It's actually quite a plus to work from home in a global organization because it enables you to "come and go" to the virtual office all day and evening and provide the best service to the entire globe.
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2010, 06:09 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBmadera View Post
Over the past 15 years, working in hi tech, many of my folks have telecommuted and it was never a problem for me. If I am understanding you right you are talking about moving to another country? If so would the majority of your face to face business be in the that country? Lastly, are you thinking of asking your company to relocate you?

jb
Yes I would be moving to another country (not driving distance, but in a similar time zone with reliable high speed internet etc) for 3-12 months. The move would be on my dime. I wouldn't have any face to face business, my doesn't involve external customers. I would be maintaining my local residence etc.
__________________
schmidtjas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2010, 06:20 PM   #6
Recycles dryer sheets
JBmadera's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Green Valley
Posts: 241
given that, based on what I've seen, I would not think there would be any issue.

good luck and let us know how it turns out!
__________________
JBmadera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 05:33 AM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 354
I think a big factor is often precedent -- is there a telecommuting policy in the office already, or would you be the first to do this? In my case, I could pretty easily do 80-90% of my job on a telecommuting basis. Most of what I do is email-based, with most of the rest handled by phone, and not so much face to face time really needed in most contexts. But my boss made it pretty clear when I joined the office he was not going to be comfortable with me telecommuting on a permanent basis. The main thing is the precedent. I am the only other expat staff member, and he would not feel comfortable letting the rest of the staff telecommute. He probably wouldn't have a problem with me doing it, but if he lets me do it, then he has to let others who ask. He was really great about letting me work from home for several weeks last fall when we had a family medical emergency, and I appreciated that greatly (and stayed on top of everything while juggling home responsibilities, too). But I still don't think I am much closer to a telecommuting arrangement. I'll keep plugging away at it, but I think it will be a long time coming.

lhamo
__________________
lhamo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 08:18 AM   #8
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 11
Hi, I am new here but have been lurking for awhile and found this topic interesting.

My company has recently begun to consider a mobile workforce program to free up office space. They are reviewing roles to understand which has to be in the office, which can be part time in the office, and which can be a full time telecommute. I have mixed emotions on this. On one hand, working from home could save a bunch of money (no local tax, reduced commuting costs). On the other hand, being removed from the office would make you less "visible." My concern is that reduced in person visibility could, in some way, impact perceptions when it comes time to reviewing and ranking associates. Has anyone had a problem with this?
__________________
mrstop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 10:54 AM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,646
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtjas View Post
He has confided in me that I am considered by other senior people in the enterprise (he has been with the parent company for 15 years) to be a "lifer" and an up and coming member of the senior team and that everyone appreciates my hard work. The company has also been paying for my training towards my accounting designation for the past year and a half that I began studying towards when I accepted my latest position in the accounting department and moved from my previous department.
I doubt any of us can better guess how your boss will respond than you but the above aspects may have a bearing. I authorized many employees to work at home over the years - some part time at home, some full time. I even had a couple who moved out of state. These were generally programmers who could on work independently with a little accommodation. It sounds like you are in some sort of financial position and I assume (or you wouldn't propose it) that your work can be performed from a remote location. So far so good. But I expect the surprise/resistance may come from the other aspect - his view of you as a future senior manager. It would be difficult to convince many organizations that you are actively staying on a management track if you planned to work remotely for a long period. If you share the "future manager" view you need to explain why you would take yourself out of the day to day immediacy of the office and for how long. If you don't share that view you could explain that to your boss and see how it goes.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 10:59 AM   #10
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,613
Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
It would be difficult to convince many organizations that you are actively staying on a management track if you planned to work remotely for a long period.
That's a good point -- but fortunately moot in my case since I have zero desire to go into manglement. I'm exactly where I want to be on the "corporate ladder" -- at the highest pay grade below management.
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 11:02 AM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
Q 1: How would your boss feel about your working from home say 20 miles away? Were I him or her I would want to test that out first.

Q 2: Working in another country is not as simple as it seems. They would need to comply with that country's tax and employment laws. That alone might kill the deal unless the employer already has a workforce in that country and is familiar with their practices.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 11:13 AM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
Q 1: How would your boss feel about your working from home say 20 miles away? Were I him or her I would want to test that out first.

Q 2: Working in another country is not as simple as it seems. They would need to comply with that country's tax and employment laws. That alone might kill the deal unless the employer already has a workforce in that country and is familiar with their practices.
A1:I've worked from home a number of times, though usually only when the weather is really bad or something. I only live 10 minutes from work. I've also worked for days at a time at the parent company's office doing work for my company. Their office is about an hour away from ours.

A2: Does this apply if I'm "visiting" the country and using my normal home bank account, credit card, and mailing address? It would be a temporary thing, probably 6 months is what I would shoot for.

Right now I'm at the highest level short of general manager in my company that I can attain, and I'm fine with that. Three people report directly to me, all three of which require very minimal direction, they have very defined clerical and support roles. I've managed all three for short stints remotely, so I'm not concerned. As far as promotion, now the only place left to go would be to move to our parent company, which I think is a long term (5+ years away) plan for the higher ups as certain people leave there they would replace them with people who they've groomed from our company - we work pretty closely with them, and often adopt their procedures when we run into something new.

What donheff mentioned about perception is really what I'm going over and over in my head, I don't want my boss to think differently of me because of this.
__________________
schmidtjas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 12:59 PM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
ESRwannabe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 630
I would love to be able to telecommute but it isn't possible with my job, unless I had some kind of remote control robot on-site I could use when needed... Not only that but I get called in a few times a month during my off-hours. I so look forward to the day when I will no longer be on-call.

Anyway, getting back to the thread topic... I would be too paranoid to suggest telecommuting even though I know I would love such an opportunity. If you can telecommute then you have just proven that they can outsource your job. They are looking for ways to save money right...
__________________
ESRwannabe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 02:33 PM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
beowulf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 466
Interesting topic with personal experience. Last year I asked my company if I could long distance telecommute for about 4 months - essentailly from one end of the country to the other. The initial reaction was no - I would have to resign and then come back as a new employee - if they had a job for me. As with bestwifeever's friend, I told them fine, I quit - as of now. Next day I received a call telling me "let's not get hasty, on second thought, it's OK with us." So now I am finishing the 4 month stint away and will be returning home soon. I don't recommend trying this unless you are prepared to follow through. This economy is not a good one to walk away from a paying job. But I'm pretty close to fully retiring anyway, so it would have just been a bit earlier than I planned.

If you are good at what you do and know you can find another job quickly, then it could be worh it to push the envelope
__________________
Mission accomplished - not necessarily ER, but certainly R.
beowulf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 02:53 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtjas View Post
So I guess my main question is:
"Do bosses feel betrayed when telecommuting is proposed?"
Does anyone have any experience with this? Maybe someone who reports to you asked to work remotely?
Well, I'm a retired "boss" who got asked that question quite a few times.

Generally I said no. I had no one on the team who was 100% project orientated in their assignment. All had responsibilities that required interaction with other departments.

When someone would suggest that I rearrange assignments so that they would have data provided to them by others and they would crunch the numbers from home, it always meant that Mr "Others" would have his/her assignment changed so that being up and about gathering info was all they did. Not good.......

So I insisted on everyone working on site, collecting their own data and info and crunching their own numbers. Folks seemed to draw better conclusions from data and info they gathered themselves from operations they understood and from actually being there hands-on.

Occasionally someone would want to work from home for a day or two because of some issue like a sick kid (and they didn't want to use vacation days). I'd try to approve those but stopped if it didn't work out well or if the requests became frequent.

I can imagine some jobs where telecommuting would work fine. But I would not allow it if the non-telecommuters had to have their assignments changed to accomodate. I would also be very clear about expectations during the goal setting process of performance evaluations. Accomplishments would have to be met without acomodation for the telecommuting status. But for truly independent contributors, or those who can do any necessary communication via conference call or occasional on site meeting, why not?

BTW, I never felt a bit betrayed when someone asked. If they went over my head and created a stink with my boss and her boss and her boss and HR and ......... on and on. Well, then it could make me a little grouchy....... This happened on one occasion when I was manageing a QC department. Boss overruled me and said to rearrange assignments so Engineer X could telecommute. I had to change two other engineer's job assignments to accomomodate Ms Telecommuter and they both appealled to my boss. He denied them. So they appealled to his boss. Hee hee hee hee...... It was funny. Within a month the telecommuting was over. And my boss never overruled me regarding the pragmatic, day to day aspects of running the department after that....... In fact, to his credit, he told me where the button was on his cranium that I should push if he started to make that kind of mistake again.
__________________
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 03:13 PM   #16
Full time employment: Posting here.
Calgary_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Calgary
Posts: 775
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtjas View Post
A2: Does this apply if I'm "visiting" the country and using my normal home bank account, credit card, and mailing address? It would be a temporary thing, probably 6 months is what I would shoot for.
Looks like you're Canadian so you're planning on telecommuting from the States? You might want to review the following website:

Cross-border Telecommuting - Tax Implications to Consider

Looks like you'd have to pay taxes TWICE. When I moved to the States in 1999 I had to sever all of my links to Canada to prove to the Canadian government that I was no longer a resident of Canada (I kept my Citizenship however and still filed a Canadian tax return every year declaring my U.S. income). I closed all of my bank accounts, credit cards, driver`s licence etc. You would also have to sell your house in Canada.
__________________
I can only be nice to one person today! Today is not your day...tomorrow doesn't look good either.
Calgary_Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 04:22 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Onward's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,667
I telecommuted (exclusively) for the last 12 yrs of my working life. Various companies, both as a contractor and as a W2 employee. Here's my take:

1. It's less likely that your boss will feel betrayed than that he will feel jealous. He has to haul his sorry ass into work every day while you just waltz across the hall in your pajamas. Not every boss reacts this way, but some definitely do, and it's a difficult obstacle to overcome for prospective telecommuter.

2. Your status at your company changes when you go from onsite to telecommuting. Officially it doesn't change, but in reality it does. You don't have as much "presence" at the company--literally and figuratively. In some ways this is good (you avoid some of the politics), and in some ways this is bad (you won't have as much say in how things work, including some things that affect you).

3. Full-time telecommuting takes a certain personality. Many people don't have it. You need huge self-discipline and the ability to stave off loneliness. Working alone every day for months is very different from working at home a day or two a week.

Those are some things to watch out for. You probably know most of the perks. Good luck!
__________________
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.
Onward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 05:21 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,871
When my company relocated in 2001 from lower Manhattan (before the 9/11 attacks) to Jersey City, New Jersey, I was able to get a mostly telecommuting arrangement. [I hated the commute before, now it was unbearable.] I also switched to working part-time so I would go to the office one day a week and work from home about 14 hours, some of the hours during the "core" midday times and the others at my choosing.

I could do most of the stuff I was able to do at the office. But being one who did a lot of computer programming maintenance, working from home during the off-hours was a good fit because I could do that when the rest of my division's staff was not working.

This worked out well for about 2 years until my company ended any open-ended telecommuting arrangements in 2003. I could still work part-time but I had to fulfill all my hours at the office. I protested vehemently but to no avail. I showed them an article from a business magazine about the advantages of telecommuting. [I also stepped up my early retirement plans LOL!] My bosses liked the telecomuting compared to working 3 days a week from the office, too. I was available to answer questions every day and they liked my doing programming stuff during the off-hours. [I would have taken a pay cut to telecommute had they offered it.]

When I left the company in 2008, I told the HR rep in the exit interview that the commute was the #1 reason I was leaving, and losing the telecommute deal 5 years earlier was a death knell for me. I was so burnt out from the commute in the 5 years that even if they gave me back my old telecommute deal I would not take it - I would need a less frequent come-to-office deal.

So my company lost a 23-year employee they may have not needed to lose. It is okay, I like being retired.
__________________
scrabbler1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2010, 01:56 AM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
beowulf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 466
Unless you are in a job that reuires manual labor, high levels of security or hands on engineering type work, I see no reason that telecommuting can't be done, at least part time. With video teleconferencing, conference calls, collaberative on-line tools to include SharePoint, there is virtually no position that can't accomodate some level of telecommuting. I have seen supervisor after supervisor refuse to allow telecommuting at all (maybe a day here and there) because "they want you where they can see you and because you need to be there to work with others" Honestly, I believe that is a bunch of crap.

Every study I have seen shows that employee productivity increases, employees are happier and that the work gets done when they are allowed to telecommute. In addition, costs to the company are reduced - both for office space and for material infrastructure. Yes, some positions - wrench twisters, truck drivers, etc., clearly can't do this. But the vast majority of white collar workers to include engineers, don't need to be on-site, in an office, 5 days a week.

If you can't trust your employees to do their job at home, then how can you trust them in the office? They shouldn't be your employees.
__________________
Mission accomplished - not necessarily ER, but certainly R.
beowulf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2010, 06:18 AM   #20
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 3,851
I retired a few years ago from a company that was "Euro owned" but I was US based.

In the later years, when TC was being used by a lot of folks in the local office, I was not permitted this "luxury". It seemed that my managers over the years (two, in two different Euro countires) wanted to have their folks located on-site, as was the culture of the time on the "continent".

The only time I could TC was when I was traveling (which was a lot). Sort of pi**ed me off, since those that were located in the US, and had US managers were more willing to have you TC.

In this case, it was culture driven. There was no company standard and TC use was up to the area manager to approve.
__________________

__________________
rescueme is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Proposed new retirement savings options quietman FIRE and Money 12 09-06-2009 09:32 PM
Comments On Proposed Investments yakers Stock Picking and Market Strategy 3 05-31-2008 02:20 PM
Proposed VG Reallocation - Comments?? Achiever51 FIRE and Money 11 05-03-2008 10:41 AM
Re: Proposed changes in 403b plan newellcr FIRE and Money 4 03-15-2005 10:48 AM
new proposed savings accounts wabmester FIRE and Money 2 02-03-2004 02:16 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:21 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.