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"Working" from home

Category: 2002 Published on Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Mike Berman
Dave Berman

I have to admit that, when I worked from home, I ENJOYED going to work in a dirty t-shirt and boxer shorts. I also enjoyed being able to work in the comfortable, relaxing environment of my own home and not having to deal with the rigors of a long commute or the uncrompromising stuffiness of an office.

In fact, I discovered that I was more productive during the one or two days that I telecommuted than I was when I was in the friendly confines of my office, communing with my coworkers.

Of course, there were a few ground rules that had to be established to make it work.

First, I had to submit a list of work-related tasks that I would complete while at home and they had to be approved by my editor, who would always add another task or two.

Second, I would be at my desk --- wearing whatever I deemed appropriate (and comfortable) at the same time I would have been expected to show up at the office, be it nine or noon.

Third, I was always available via phone or email during "normal working hours", except for lunch and an occaisonal bathroom break. There was no Jerry Springer. No Ricki Lake and definitely no dog licking at my toes.

But there was the ability to relax; to unwind from the constraints and rigors of the past few days. I could work while listening to my favorite CDs or take a break now and then without the fear of being reprimanded for not being at my desk.

Despite what my frizzy-haired offspring tells you, having the ability to work from home does not breed a staff of napping, TV-addicted, unkempt employees. What it does do is create a saner, more emotionally stable, more productive employee.


Everyone works from home at one time or another and I'm not against it. What I take offense to are those that abuse the privilege.

Working from home doesn't mean logging into work and clicking on Get New Messages every 15 minutes.

To work from home effectively, and to avoid pissing me off, you should do the following:

Get dressed and shower before sitting down and starting your day. You wouldn't go to the office in boxers and a dirty tshirt, would you?

Do more than just email. Keep in touch with others like you normally would if you were in the office.

Sit in an area that's conducive to working. Don't sit in front of the TV doing work while watching Jerry Springer. The last thing you want to do is to type "lesbian" accidentally when replying to your boss.

Don't take a nap during lunch or meetings. Even if you do this while at the office, it just isn't right.

Put in a full day's worth of work. Being online and contactable doesn't cut it. If you have an appointment during the day, make the time up afterwards.

Only work from home when absolutely neccessary. Furniture delivery is not a good excuse.

And, while I'm guilty of working from home when necessary, I'll be the first to admit that there are fewer distractions in the office:

I don't have the dog licking my toes when I'm at my desk in the office (unless I bring her with me).

There's no TV at my desk, so I'm not distracted by "Go Ricki!" chants.

My desk isn't nearly as comfortable as my bed, or as inviting.

Don't waste my time or the company's time. Rather than work from home, don't work at all and take a vacation day.

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