5 Compelling Arguments for Managing Projects Remotely

virtual projects office

At every organisation in the civilised world right now there is someone there trying to figure out how best to present their case to their manager on why they should be allowed to work from a home office. This scenario won’t work for everyone. There are positions that just plain won’t work for the remote working model…though they slip my mind at the moment.

 If you think it will work for you and you just need some good arguments to take to management to possibly make this happen, then consider the following…

 Most or all of my project team members are remote or not co-located.

It always helps to have a history here. Have you managed any projects in the past two years where several project team members or a majority of your team was co-located with you in the same office? If so, your argument will begin to lose air. But if you have rarely – if ever – managed a project with any or even more than one or two team members were physically located where you are, then you should have a good argument for taking your project management skills to an offsite home office. Especially if you have a great track record of organised, successful project management experience and high customer experience ratings that you can show (possibly in the form of some lessons learned session notes on past projects or at least a lack of any customer complaints).

 I’ll take a pay cut.

I know this may sound ridiculous, but if working remotely is important to you and you consider it a life-style upgrade or quality of life upgrade (which I firmly believe that it often is…it was for me), then looking at the pay differential option may work. Work through all of your costs directly associated with sitting at a desk at the company headquarters. For now, let’s just consider transportation and transport time (and for purposes of this example I’ll work with $90,000/year for base pay and a 30 minute drive to and from work each day using 1 gallon of gas each way):

 30 minute drive to work = gas and car wear and tear and 1 hour round-trip of your time = $5 gas and vehicle usage per day + $45/day of your time = $50/day = $13,000/year (assuming 260 work days). That’s just travel time. Without taking into account any wardrobe changes and possibly eliminating a vehicle from your family’s driveway meaning no insurance and licensing on that extra vehicle. But we must also consider that those items might be replaced by a higher usage of energy at your own house with you in it all day so that could be a wash. What you could do is offer a $6,000/year pay cut (about half the savings on transportation and transport time) to go remote and see how that works.

 Work less, do more.

This one probably needs to stay just with you because if you present it then your employer may try to overwork you. But you likely will be able to get more done quickly from a good home office situation or even your local Starbucks (which I have found to be my absolute most productive work location). Why? Because you don’t have the frequent interruptions from co-workers. Water cooler discussions are very much overrated. They often are more about backyard barbecues and gossip than real work discussions and decision making. You will likely find that you can get done in 30 hours what it took you 40 hours or more to do at the office.

 My work time can be more flexible.

This is a great argument if you are managing projects using project team members or interacting with project clients in time-zones that are far different from yours. If you don’t mind offering to be available for 11pm or 5am client calls, then this is a big plus for your argument (unless you are already expected to do this anyway). Document your argument and your regular client needs. This one also helps you argue for putting together the most accurate project status info as you can make a case for doing it the night before an important client status call after you’ve touched base with your project team members.

 Freeing up space and resources at headquarters.

This one won’t be a front line argument most of the time, but there are those instances when a growing company is bulging at the seams and needs every bit of floor space. That actually was the case at one of my employers but I was already working remotely. If it works for your scenario, use it.

 Summary / call for input

 If you want to take your work remote, then try these arguments out on your boss. The worst he can say is “no” or “I’ll consider it.” But each of these make good business sense and if you’re a great employee, he should want to at least consider your interests. Good luck!

 How about our readers? Have you ever tried to make these arguments with your organisation? What was the result? What other points would you add to this discussion to help tip the scales.

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Brad Egeland

Author: Brad Egeland

Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 10, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad's site at http://www.bradegeland.com/

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