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I am at an IT job that I was very fortunate to get, but hasn't been the best fit for me. However since this is a local government agency, people don't get terminated easily.

When I was in my first trimester I was always dog-tired coming into work but my supervisor and co-workers were understanding of this.

Now in my second trimester I am getting my energy back but I am dealing with lot of stress because I suddenly became a single mom (I'm expecting in Oct 2014), so my work quality had taken a hit.

I want to get my focus back because that's what I'm being paid for.

My question is, how and when do I approach my supervisor or HR about my desire to telecommute after my 12 weeks maternity leave is exhausted. I want to be there for my child during feedings AND I also want to deliver excellent work to my organization.

Where I work, they give tasks, but they don't give deadlines. So how do I prove that I am an employee worthy enough to be trusted to telecommute (and go above and beyond expectations)?

EDIT:

I'm a full-time unioned employee .... I haven't spoken to HR yet .... will address more of these helpful comments and answers later

EDIT:

All your answers are great. The answer that says to emphasize this is temporary arrangement really hit a chord. And also, going back to office once or twice a week, and having someone bring the baby to office during feeding times (my office won't mind this one bit, there is even a small room in the ladies room for this type of thing).

Today I started being proactive and forced myself to focus on my tasks (still dealing with other emotional things right now, but that shall pass)

Your answers gave me a lot to think about .....

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    Are you hoping to be watching the baby and working at the same time? Or having someone else watching her, but taking breaks from work for feedings? – thursdaysgeek Apr 17 '14 at 0:29
  • @thursdaysgeek - a nanny or my Father will watch the baby .... I am just there for feedings only ..... – Glowie Apr 17 '14 at 0:30
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    What does your contract say about this ? – happybuddha Apr 17 '14 at 2:02
  • Is anyone else telecommuting? If so, ask them how they got it approved? If not, then it'll be a challenge. Once the precedence is set, you won't be the only one who wants to telecommute and management knows that. About the only leverage a person could have in this situation is the company fears losing you. If that isn't the case....good luck. – Dunk Apr 22 '14 at 16:17
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As others have posted, the key is to show you can still do the job and you have some recent negative experiences.

Mitigate your boss's fears. Make sure you work out a detailed plan with your boss, so she knows this isn't permanent-think of it as a trial period. If you can't accomplish certain things, you will lose this privilege. For most supervisors, feeling like they're stuck with a decision along with "everyone will want to do it" concerns make them inclined to say no. Listen carefully while you have this discussion. It may take more than one meeting as you figure-out how to alleviate any concerns you didn't think of. Don't expect to solve this problem all at once. Feeding your child is important to you so let them know this will motivate you to make this work.

Prove Yourself. Start working from home as soon as possible for a very short trial-run. Work on a personal, sick, vacation, holiday if necessary. Being in a union may limit how or what you can barter with, so I don't know if you can offer to shorten your maternity leave. Your boss may not require time limits, but you should put them on your work. Make plans and let people know when you will have things ready even if they don't ask. Follow-up on your work and get feedback from them, "Did I get this to you in time? Is there anything else I can do?"

I realize you want to be there for every feeding, but you may have to compromise that to keep this job. Can you do partial days or shift your office hours just a little so you make most of the feedings? Could a caregiver drop by the office on a lunch break with your child for a feeding?

All of these solutions do not solve your exact problem, but I hope if you're not able to work from home the whole time, there are some minimal trade-offs that you can try.

  • @JoeStrazzere - I know the OP intends it to be permanent. The boss only wants it to be permanent if it is working. Some bosses just say "no" to a request because they think it will be difficult to take it back. Often they don't say this. What happens if it doesn't work? The boss will have to break the bad news and take away the privilege. Easier said than done for many people. – user8365 Apr 17 '14 at 19:26
  • I will be more than happy if they allow me to telecommute temporarily for several months after maternity leave is over, perhaps till my child is one years old ..... later on as time goes by and I can adjust better I will look for permanent jobs that allow me to telecommute, but for that I wrote separate question – Glowie Apr 17 '14 at 21:21
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So how do I prove that I am an employee worthy enough to be trusted to telecommute

Based on what you have written, you do have quite a lot to prove.

Two trimesters of sub-par performance. The first trimester because you were "always dog-tired". New parents can expect to be tired for a long, long time. (I always tell new parents that the first 18 years are the hardest!) The second trimester because you were "dealing with lot of stress because I suddenly became a single mom". I assume you'll continue to be a single mom, and that the stress will continue.

Now you want to be granted permission to work from home.

If you are planning to work your third trimester, you might need to hit a home run. Show your employer that you can excel at work despite being tired and despite the stress of becoming a single mom.

Complete all your tasks beyond expectations, ask for more work.

Don't leave early, make up for any time you must take off, be a model employee and someone they can start to trust.

Talk with your union rep and with HR - now. Explain what you would like to do after your maternity leave has expired, and ask how the agency handles telecommuters. Ask what rights you have, and what the process is for applying for work-from-home status. Then follow that process faithfully.

It will certainly be easier to gain permission if your agency has others who already have this permission, and if you have recently become a model employee. If you aren't sure, ask around and see if others work from home, and if so, did they start working from home immediately after a maternity leave. In a union shop, precedence is very important.

Finally, arrange things at home so that your childcare is handled without needing your involvement. Make sure the nanny is hired and ready to go. Make sure your father is ready and capable of handling everything while you work. Make sure you have backup care in case the nanny or your father is sick. Basically - show your employer that you aren't just staying home to take care of the baby with one hand while you work with the other.

Then, hope for the best.

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I'm going to post this as an answer even though I suspect it's not the answer you'll want.

I think this could be a tough one, telecommuting opens the risk of a huge range of distractions. I suspect most employers will believe you'll be too distracted at home by having your baby with you. Not only that but you'll have been out of the office and out of the loop for quite some time. Getting you back in may be a very good way of bringing you back up to speed with the company.

However, here are my thoughts on how you can persuade your employer.

  • Arrange childcare which is out of the house, make sure your employer knows this. Make them aware you're doing everything you can to minimize distractions. You've said you want to be at home for feeds, can your child be away from the house the rest of the time?
  • Ensure you'll participate in the daily meetings/stand-ups, being at home is no reason to miss out on important office communication.
  • Split your time between the office and home, this shows commitment and an effort to get back into the normal work environment.
  • Arrange short term goals, make sure both you and HR can measure that working at home does not cost them efficiency.
  • Be honest, say you're worried about the long commutes, ask their advice, would they suggest that working from home would ease you back in?

Best of luck with the little one!

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