Top 7 Taboos For Working From Home
By Jeff Zbar
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During a recent interview, a reporter told me he’d been fed a litany of rules and taboos related to being an effective home office worker or home business owner. In short order, I set him straight by quashing this cockamamie conventional wisdom:
- Home officers don’t do chores between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The lawn, laundry and errands all are fair game. If deadlines are met, distraction is OK.
- In the SOHO (small or home office), home officers work “normal” hours. Sure, I guess, if “normal” includes the hours between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. In a recent poll on ChiefHomeOfficer.com, 56% of poll participants said they get their best work done after sunset; 29% said it came before sun-up. A mere 15% said “between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.” Thankfully, none said “Weekends.” At least I know we’re not a totally whacked lot.
- Home officers dress for success. My “business suit” is a tank top with shorts, surgical scrubs or flannels, on cold mornings – when I might even don socks. I often go unshaven for days on end. My slacks and Polo Oxford are reserved for those times I actually have to leave the home office. Shaving is done en route with the electric razor.
- Kids are kept at bay during the day. Certainly, unless I want to play some hoops, toss someone (maybe even myself) in the pool, or take Riley – our Kerry blue terror and fourth child – on a long walk. Our kids know the deal: If Daddy’s on the phone, stay away. If he wants to partake in some shenanigans, you’ll know about it soon enough.
- Desks are cleared at days end. Let’s make one thing clear: People with neat desks scare me. Mine gets cleared when big projects end or the weekend comes. Come Monday, the clutter arises anew. Besides, years ago my father had a sign in his office that put that reality into writing: “Please don’t straighten out the mess in my office. You’ll confuse me and screw up my whole world.” Touché.
- Rules maintain order in the workplace. As Chief Home Officers, we’re free to make, amend or bend mandates as we see fit. We know our deadlines and client expectations. Working from home affords us certain liberties we can't get as clock-punchers in the corporate tower. Like “punching in” at 4 a.m., or hitting the hay for a nap at 2 p.m. Many times, I’ve cranked out significant work before the sun has arisen, and been awakened by a client’s mid-afternoon call on the portable phone as I take a siesta in our hammock. I carry my Blackberry on vacations, log on from wifi-enabled hotel rooms while the family is asleep, or make biz calls from family events on weekdays. Work is a thing, not a place, and it goes on irrespective of location – or rules.
- All home officers are alike. The reality is home officing is what we entrepreneurs and teleworkers make of it. Take it or leave it, that’s today’s reality.
This missive © 2006 Jeffery D Zbar Inc., the home of the http://www.ChiefHomeOfficer.com. Jeff has worked since the 1980s as home-based writer, author, humorist, speaker, dad and corporate marketing consultant specializing in entrepreneurship, home officing, telecommuting and small business.
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Article Submitted On: March 02, 2006