Working from home from time to time is one of the benefits I really enjoy. My daily commute is around an hour each way, and even though I can fill this time with podcasts and audio books, it is nice to be without it.
You should be careful not to over do it, though, as it can spoil the good synergies you have with your colleagues. However, let’s be honest: working from home is a good thing. You save the transportation, you can spend the morning with your kids and open the door for the plumber, should she decide to swing by.
I came across the following guidelines of what to do and what to avoid, if you are so lucky that you can work from home:
- Do not leave your cell phone at home if you leave the house to go shopping or eat lunch.
- Pick up your phone – also if you are in the bathroom.
- Arrange some short phone meetings with people at work. They hate your guts because you are working from home and this will show them your commitment to your work – also when you are working from home.
- Avoid long and complex mail threads with your boss to early in the day as this may result in a call where you have to answer the question of where you are (even if you have been granted permission to work from home, then do not remind your boss of this).
- Do not drink alcohol early in the day, just because you are home. This also includes beer for lunch.
- Remember to send the long e-mail with lots of attached spreadsheets that your colleagues have been waiting several weeks for. This serves two purposes: 1) It demonstrates that you are in fact doing something and 2) You can be sure no one will react to what you have sent. It is far to complex and takes to much time to read so you get some peace and quiet.
- Do not leave your Elvis Costello album playing on the stereo with the volume turned to full throttle when you talk on the phone to your colleagues.
- Do not take the phone when you sleep. Let it wake you up. Splash then some cold water in your face. Then call back and say you were in the middle of something important. It may well be your colleagues are looking straight through you, but it was worth the try.
- Try to reach your boss very late in the day, but be absolutely sure he has left the office. This is the kind of attitude a boss likes. You are so engaged in your work, that you did not consider your boss might have left for the day when you called.
- Dress properly – do not work in your underwear. People will know. No one knows why, but people know if you are talking to them only wearing your undies or g-string.