I am currently doing my master's thesis in cooperation with a company. I set myself a deadline to submit the thesis for review by my supervisor at the university at the end of June. Besides the fact that the deadline might be way to optimistic for my current progress, I also have problems concentrating at work. This has to do with some personal reasons (wanting to just finish the thesis/lack of motivation because of interest in other things, unhappiness, etc), but also with the work environment. Based on a new project, my office (which inhabits 3 other employees) is often filled with other team members discussing different topics. Under normal circumstances, this is not a problem for me; however, because I must write in a foreign language (English), I have problems concentrating and getting into a flow, making me extremely inefficient in writing. Furthermore, I am not used to write in academic content at all, which complicates it as well. To compensate the lack of work accomplished I am also writing at the weekend in the university library, which works very well but is draining at the same time because of no rest. Last week I also went to the library directly after work to get at least something done.
Now to the work-related part: My boss has no problems with me working at home (or in the university library) if I ask my supervisor at the company’s site for permission. However, my supervisor thinks that I should be working at least the 8 hours per day. I already stated to him, that I can only concentrate properly in the morning before everybody arrives (which is from 6.20AM to approximately 8) and after everyone left the office (no clue when that is because I leave at 3PM). Therefore, he proposed that I come for 4 hours in the morning and for 4 hours in the evening with plenty of free time in the middle. In my opinion that could work but is also extremely draining as well because I waste a lot of time driving home and back to the company (it costs me no money or fuel, but time is valuable for me). In my opinion it would be good if I could have the morning free to work in the university’s library and show at the company in the early afternoon to present my progress or discuss problems that hinder me continuing working on my own. After I proposed this, he just answered that I should be working at the company for 8 hours per day - which made me think because of his repetitive answer without even arguing. I guess that he is afraid that I will not accomplish enough work when working on my own. The background is that we did this already for some time and I did not perform that well, based on the personal issues I already mentioned.
I think my boss would be on my side because he stated several times that he understands that you need a quiet work environment to write and read academic work. On the other side I don’t want him to overrule my supervisor, because of obvious reasons, therefore I want to talk to my supervisor first.
My question is: How can I convince my supervisor that working at home is the better choice for the success of the thesis without directly going to my boss? I am also okay with admitting that I lacked motivation when working alone the first time, but I would prefer not to if possible.
I am interested in your approaches and probably you can also elaborate what further thoughts of my supervisor are.
I talked to my supervisor a second time and both the answers' points were mentioned. First, I stated that I am unhappy with doing the master's thesis because of personal reasons, not because of the company. Then I mentioned that I have a really hard time to concentrate and that it makes me nervous being so unproductive. Since we had an actual meeting room for the discussion instead of an office with other colleagues (this was the case the first interaction), the discussion was different. It felt my supervisor had more time to listen and to understand. After I stated my problems I asked my supervisor what he would propose to finish the thesis as fast as possible with the best quality, given the mentioned problems and finally we agreed on the following points:
- I work 6 hours at home/library
- I come in daily for 2 hours to discuss the process
- We do this for a trial period as proposed by @Sourav Ghosh (1 week)
- My supervisor also mentioned writing in German and translating it to English with the intention of getting into a writing flow as proposed by @nvoigt
Additionally, there was some miscommunication between me, my supervisor and my boss. My supervisor thought work at home is only permitted for exceptions while I thought it is generally accepted with a good reason.