How to Work from Home Effectively

work from home efficientlyWhat are the best ways to work from home effectively?  One of the main takeaways I took from Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece in The Atlantic* is that businesses should really accept that the concept of “work” is changing from an office-centric, time-macho, “face-time” culture to a more flexible “work from home, sometimes” culture.  So I thought we’d explore some of the best ways to work from home effectively, whether part-time or full-time. (Pictured: Home Office, originally uploaded to Flickr by Sean MacEntee.)

- Have a dedicated space if you work from home regularly — and if you live with others, make sure this space is secluded from the rest of the apartment or house. A good desk (that isn’t piled high with other stuff — I always used to use mine as a makeup vanity/desk until I started seriously working from home), drawers, folders, a file cabinet, a printer… even creature comforts like artwork, framed pictures, and more, help you get into the right mentality.  If you Skype with colleagues, invest in a good setup — ditto for your phone.  My cell phone is my primary phone, and I find the quality (on both ends) to be tremendously better with an ear piece.

- Expect to answer to regular working hours.  When you work from home you often find huge pockets of time to work that are not normal working hours (mornings, nights, weekends), and it’s great to use those times.  But you should still think of your “core” hours as being 9-5, M-F.  By this I mean that you should think twice before you send an email at two in the morning, and be available to put out fires that crop up during the normal workday, even if it interferes with your “ideal” work from home schedule.

- Limit domestic duties from 9-5. You have no idea how attractive your dirty dishes look as procrastination tools! (Plus, you feel like you’ve accomplished something afterwards, which makes it doubly dangerous.) At the beginning of each day, I like to set the timer on the kitchen microwave to 20 minutes, and every time I do something domestic — the laundry, prepping dinner, washing dishes, cleaning the toilet, etc — I push the timer on. Sometimes I’ll use the time spread throughout the day; sometimes in one big chunk.

- Take breaks differently than you did in the office. In the office, I always used to take a “ten minute Internet break” during lunch or after I finished a big task — and far too often I would look up and realize an hour or more had passed. When I’m working from home, I’m not allowed to take too many Internet breaks. (In fact I don’t even let myself read articles at my desk; I just put them in my “Read It Later” queue.) Instead, if I’m eating my sandwich or what not, I’ll sit down and watch one segment (from one commercial break to the next) of one of my silly reality TV shows.  I get a mental break, but it’s much easier to limit it in time, even though it sounds much more decadent.

- If you have children, you still need childcare.  One of the worst pieces of advice I got was that I could easily work from home with my son until he was one year old.  And maybe with some babies, you can.  But not only did my son suffer from colic (where he pretty much cried unless we were holding him), for the first 5 months of his life he really only slept on us.  Once he started to get more personality, I felt guilty trying to work in the corner while he played on his mat or in his bouncer chair.  And after he started crawling… forget about it.  I’m told it’s harder to work in the same apartment or house once the baby becomes a toddler (and you either need to send him to daycare or get an office space close to home), but I’m hoping that an office that is tucked well out of sight is an acceptable compromise.  We’ll see, I guess.

- Change out of your bedclothes, and wear shoes.  I’m not going to say “change out of your pajamas” because one theory of working from home is that you should deliberately wear things you will not wear in the outside world, which may mean you have a set of “working pajamas” or “work yoga pants.”  I usually just wear regular clothes, but I have noticed that if I’m wearing a sloppy maxi skirt I’ll change into something a bit more chic before I leave the house, whereas if I’m wearing jeans I just leave the house as is.  As for shoes, it’s recommended by podiatrists to wear shoes around the house (I’ve heard two podiatrists say Crocs are ideal house shoes, but I just can’t do it), and getting “dressed to your shoes” really does make a difference in outlook.  As far as makeup and jewelry, I think it really depends what you have going on — if there’s a Skype call or you’re meeting clients, you obviously want to look your best.

Readers, what are your best “work from home” tips?  Do you work from home as often as you’d like — and when you do, are you productive?

* For today’s post I actually wanted to go through Slaughter’s piece in The Atlantic, “Women Can’t Have it All,” and add my thoughts… but really, I agree with so much of what she says that it doesn’t seem very productive. I completely agree that the culture of work needs to change significantly before we can make progress. My 3 favorite points:

  •  The “time macho” attitude — “a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you” — needs to go.
  • “While employers shouldn’t privilege parents over other workers, too often they end up doing the opposite, usually subtly, and usually in ways that make it harder for a primary caregiver to get ahead.” Yep.
  •  “The American definition of a successful professional is someone who can climb the ladder the furthest in the shortest time, generally peaking between ages 45 and 55. . . . [This definition] makes far less sense today. . . . Peaking in your late 50s and early 60s rather than your late 40s and early 50s makes particular sense for women, who live longer than men.” I particularly love this point (says the 35-year-old).

Comments

  1. We’ll see how I feel at another point in my life, but I hate working from home. My best days are when I can keep my work life and personal life completely separate.

    Etiquette TJ:
    I am about to get a chair massage for thirty minutes. (A massage therapist is stationed in one of our conference rooms today!) How much should I tip for this? The massage will cost $20.

    • I generally tip 20% on massages, but unless you have four dollars I always feel bad asking for the extra dolla back. So I would tip $5. But then I rip generously for most services.

    • I agree. I’m lucky that my job only requires 10 hrs max overtime per month, most of that at month end. I have the option, especially when month end falls on a weekend, to work from home. I’d way rather come into the office to work than try to do it at home – I’m used to my at work computer set up, and besides, home has way too many distractions. I’m much more productive if I work in my regular work environment.

      I’m not sure about the tip.

    • Yes, I agree. I used to be in academia, where I worked at home all the time, and all it meant was that I agonized about work all the time, and never got away from it. The best thing about giving up the “autonomy” of academia and getting a 9-5 job was that I only work when I’m *at* work. Obviously sometimes that’s late into the evening, but I’d rather stay at work late than work at home.

      That said: I don’t have kids. I don’t think you can actually work while looking after kids (below a certain age, anyway), but I get that the flexibility to work at home when kids are asleep/at school/in child care would be valuable (and totally support making work from home possible for others. I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about it myself.

      And I usually aim for 15% tip on a massage. Though my approach might depend on whether they’re an independent massage person or attached to a group (like with stylists; many tip the owner differently from an employee).

      • Anna D., you and I are on the same page. I think work flexibility should be available for other people, but I won’t do it myself! I too have 0 children, which makes staying later and finishing everything possible. I could never get anything done while simultaneously looking after kids.

      • Working at home with kids–my nearly-10 yr old just came in and asked to snuggle. I assume something went wrong with a Lego structure, but this summer is going better working with at home than any other time in his life. One of his first sentences was “Mama work ‘puter” and although he’s had 30 hrs of childcare a week for most of his life, I’ve always put in some hours with him around. Would I make this my main way of getting things done? Never!

        • Coming back to this post to see what suggestions others had. Just came to my comment. I think I was trying to say that having a child at home while working can be done, but is not desirable. My words were not as effective as the example–a nearly incomprehensible post with my nearly-10 yr old at home.

  2. PharmaGirl :

    I work from home twice a week and generally agree with all of this advice. It is easiest when I am very busy and have no choice but to buckle down and work. When things are slow, I end up throwing in laundry, turning on the dishwasher, etc… it’s a slippery slope when there are so many distractions and ways to procrastinate at home.

    • PharmaGirl :

      To add to one of Kat’ points, many of my co-workers wrongly assume I keep my child home with me when I work from home. I actually had to sign a telecommuting agreement that, among other things, stated I would have childcare during all work from home days.

      • I’m curious what you do (and what Kat does) – do you take the kid to day care, or have a sitter/nanny there with you?

        (Way back when I telecommuted for an insurance company, we had a similar agreement – no kids under 12 in the house unless another adult was present. I know that I tried just to manage a very rambunctious new puppy for a few weeks, and it was almost too much, so I completely understood that caring for a toddler and still working would be impossible.)

        • I actually worked from home on Friday because I had a monumental amount of doc review to do by close of business, and it was more time-effective for me to not waste time driving to the office, etc. I took the baby to the nanny (SAHM in our neighborhood who watches him) as usual, and that’s what I plan on doing any other time I work from home. I know me, and if the baby was in the house with me, I wouldn’t get anything done because I’d want to spend all my time with him. It’s hard enough knowing he’s only a few streets away.

        • PharmaGirl :

          I take him to daycare. I honestly don’t think I could handle having him in the home while I’m working, nor could he. He’s been home sick with my husband while I worked from home and would scream for me when he heard me speaking on a teleconference. It was so distracting and I felt terrible for not being able to go to him.

  3. TJ. Can anyone recommend a good book on interpersonal relationships at work? Like, how to interact with different personality types, how to be firm about something without being unlikeable, etc.

  4. HereThere :

    Any suggestions on a good router? It needs to cover 4 people with heavy use, likely typically over wireless. Obviously want a secure one, etc. but there are still too many options. Cheap is better, but at the same time, I want something that will last a few years and not break on me.

    TIA!

    • Do you already have a modem, or will you be acquiring both modem and router?

      If you don’t already have a modem, I strongly suggest against getting a combo modem/ wireless router – if one of the pieces breaks, you’re stuck replacing the whole thing.

      We bought a stand alone modem and stand alone wireless router by reading reviews on NewEgg and then shopping around for the best price (it ended up being Amazon). They were about $50 apiece and have lasted us two years so far.

    • I bought a Belkin from Walmart about 2 months ago. It works with up to 5 users and was $35, I think.

  5. I have a hard time writing anything at home, so I try to plan to do editing, reading, and reviewing. It’s a good time to plow through some of the more brainless tasks, but I’m never too productive, so I only telework once every two weeks.

  6. Gooseberry :

    Curious – what’s the theory behind deliberately not wearing things you would wear outside? Seems counter-intuitive to me, in a way.

    • Feeling liberated because you’re at home by yourself, and can be as comfortable as you want..
      When I started working at home I made several pairs of really great pajamas. My reasoning was that everyone was going to assume I was in pyjamas (they do..), so I may as well have a variety of good ones. I usually showered and changed for lunch, having had a good productive morning in pjs (afternoons were devoted to icky routine tasks). Made me very happy.

  7. Word. Working while caring for a young child = not working, caring for young child. This was something my (all male) partners did not understand while I was on maternity “leave.” Yes, I am at home, and yes, I have a computer and an internet connection. This does not automatically mean I can write you a legal brief while nursing an infant 8 times/day.

    And I second the sentiment that I’d rather have an office. I hate working at home. I work to have people around me and a place to go. If I stay home I end up getting distracted by my dirty floors/messy kitchen/unsorted sock drawer.

  8. Associette :

    Great post, Kat! I am very interested in this topic. I LOVE working from home, and would do it more if I didn’t feel guilt and judgment that I was not in the office. I expect that I will work from home more when I have kids.

    Does anyone work at a firm where they set up a phone at your house, so that if a client/atty calls for you, the “special” phone rings and the client does not know the difference? I hate having people leave a voicemail at the office, only to call them back on my cell when I was sitting at the computer working the entire time.

    • Can you forward your calls? That’s what we do at my firm, and the caller doesn’t know the difference. I actually love working from home, too. I’ll do it when I know I have doc review all day or if I’m going to spend the entire day in an intense drafting session. I’m more productive without the distractions from coworkers.

    • Okay, I’ll revise my answer. I love working from home _every now and then_, IF I have childcare. A big, plodding project is perfect for a cozy day at home. But it can’t be the norm for me–I need an office with people in it as a home base. One day every couple of weeks or so is perfect.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I have a special headset device the connects to my computer so calls come through as they normally would to my office phone. Another option is forwarding calls to a home or cell phone but some companies do not allow that for compliance/auditing reasons.

      • JustLiketheOffice :

        I have a VOIP phone that is just like answering my phone at the office. Actually I can take it anywhere and maintain the same phone number. I can also press buttons to conference with colleagues.

  9. Our office doesn’t have separate numbers or anything, but each office phone can be easily forwarded to a cell phone. Most of my co-workers do that anytime they are working out of the offices. The caller can’t tell the difference.

  10. Related to this topic, I guess – I’m pg now, and currently debating how my maternity leave will work (I’m the only associate at a very small firm, have mostly total control over my cases, and there’s no maternity policy in place (pretty sure it’s never come up before); my bosses basically just said, “let us know what you want to do”). I’m the main breadwinner, and, while I have short term disability, it’s tiny, so my leave will be limited for that reason, and because I really don’t have a lot of backup while I’m gone. I’m thinking no that I’ll probably take about 8 weeks, maybe starting back part time for a week or 2.

    My assistant mentioned that she would be happy to bring over files and work while I’m out (she doesn’t live far, and I think that she’s angling to get to see the baby, too) – is this practical? I’d like to think that I’ll check emails and be able to do, not major things, but answer mail, draft letters, maybe a little bit of research, that sort of thing, while I’m gone, at least after the first week or two, but at the same time, I’m kind of nervous about committing to anything at all with a baby. My workplace is extremely flexible, so they’ll most likely be fine with any way I want to play it, but I do eat what I kill, so any opportunity to make a little bit more $ will be appreciated, and I’m pretty worried about the necessary drop off in work that I’ll have leading up to leave and right after (since I’ll have to make sure that active cases are not too active while I’m gone).

    • I worked part-time from home with a baby. It started small (~10 hours per week) and then grew.

      We were in an unusual situation, though. I had 4 weeks off work after she was born, then went back for 2-2.5 months while my husband stayed home with her. Then, we moved and I stayed home and worked part-time. So, she was not quite 4 months old when I started staying home with her.

      I will admit that my daughter had a Pavlovian response to the phone ringing. The one way I could guarantee that I could keep her quiet during a phone call was to nurse her.

      The normal advice is to sleep when the baby sleeps. That didn’t work for me because that’s when I could get things done. If I had slept when she slept, then the house would have been a disaster and I wouldn’t have done any work. I was sleep deprived for quite a while, but I’m not sure if I was any more sleep deprived than a mother who wasn’t trying to work part-time.

    • I would suggest taking 6 weeks of “real” leave, where you don’t work at all and can only be contacted in an emergency. You’ll need 6 weeks to physically recover from birth, establish a routine with your baby, etc. If you can telecommute for a month or so after that, that would probably be ideal, especially if your assistant is willing to help you out and bring stuff to your house for you. But really, don’t commit to doing anything in the first 6 weeks. You need that time for yourself and your baby.

      • I 100% agree. Getting your teeth brushed before 1pm is often a big accomplishment during the first couple weeks you have a new baby at home.

      • Also agree with this. I was able to check emails here and there for the first 6 weeks, but couldn’t seem to find more than 10 consecutive minutes of down time in a day to do anything work related. Also, you don’t know how your delivery will be, and recovering from a c-section and breastfeeding a newborn can be really draining. I was in the hospital for a full week after delivery, so working after a week or two would have been impossible. I think it would be better to not commit to any work and it will be a bonus if you happen to have more time and energy than you expected to work.

        Things that were do-able after several weeks were emails, letters, internet research. But in-depth research and analysis are tough when sleep deprived. Also, anything requiring a phone call was virtually impossible unless someone was there to watch the baby, especially since I didn’t want anybody to hear my son crying in the background.

        Congratulations! Try to enjoy your time bonding with your new baby.

      • This. I completely underestimated how emotionally and physically wiped out I would be for the first 6 weeks. Your horomones are crazy, you’re trying to get used to a new schedule and responsibilities, and it takes that long just to feel like yourself again. I took 8 weeks – the first 6 were just recovery and then for the last two I started reading e-mails, got my haircut, went to the dentist, all that stuff to get ready to go back. When I got back, I was fine. Just don’t cheat yourself or your baby out of those first several weeks!

    • Were you the poster where the other associate was told they couldn’t take maternity leave or am I mixing up aliases again? If so, congratulations! I’m glad the firm was willing to work something out!

      • No, sorry, that wasn’t me. Though that post did have me breathing a sigh of relief for myself – I could very easily have been in her shoes had my firm decided to act differently. (And I completely considered asking about maternity leave when we were in negotiations – I even floated it here and it was mostly recommended, but I chickened out.) Thank goodness – my firm is awesomesauce.

    • Yeah, depends some on you, your baby, and how the birth thing goes. I took me a while to get back on my feet–literally, I was bed-bound for about a week and then pretty drained for a bit after that. But you may bounce back quickly and have a non-screamy, good sleeper baby. You just don’t know. If you can, don’t commit to too much. It’s really hard not to know how things are going to go, and really hard not to feel pressured into returning sooner than you’re ready. But I really wish I had. I wonder if my experience would have been a lot less negative if I had put my foot down and explained that I was not ready to resume working yet.

      Also, I know this comment will be poorly received by some, but here goes: Breastfeeding can dampen your worky-brain, and can take a physical toll that makes it hard to be compatible with gung-ho careering. If you MUST MUST MUST return to work after a certain number of weeks and you find this to be the case, try not to feel guilty about introducing some formula at that time, at least during the workday. Breastmilk is awesome, but so is sane mommy and food on the table. (I wish someone had said this to me–I suffered from some depression that didn’t clear up until I stopped the insane pumping at work.)

      • I 100% agree. You just never know what is going to happen with the birth, you never know what type of baby you will have, you don’t know if breastfeeding will be easy or hard for you, you don’t know if there will be complications, you just don’t know. There are way too many variables. With ds#1 I was in a total fog the first 2 weeks, and then colic started, and my fog extended to 2 months. I seriously remember very little from the first 2 months of his life. #2 was almost as bad, but luckily he was a June baby and dh was a teacher at the time & home for the summer, so able to help. Oh, and he nursed every 45 minutes during the day for the first month (and gained more than a pound a week because of it). That was hard because newborn feedings typically take 20-30 min (if memory serves) and so I really felt like a milk machine. Finally #3 wasn’t colicky, and I understood why people say they enjoy newborns.

        I always tell new moms to make the decisions that fit their family. There are so many debates – breast vs bottle, where is the baby going to sleep, how much can you hold him – just do what works for you & your family. There are very few black & white right & wrong ways to do things when it comes to parenting. And above all else you must be flexible because of all those unknowns I mentioned above.

        And I always laugh to myself when people say to sleep when the baby sleeps. That only works for your first, and not even then very well.

      • I couldn’t disagree more about breastfeeding. Nursing produces “feel good” hormones, which help you return to your regular self more quickly. Also, pumping made me feel connected to my baby, even when I couldn’t be with him.

        • Hormones hit people differently. For some, the breastfeeding ones are “feel good.” For others, they are anything but. I did not become human again until I quit, at least during the workday. Everyone’s experience is going to be different, that’s all I’m trying to say. Don’t let your MIL’s or your girlfriend’s answer control your own, and don’t get caught up into the guilt-trap of thinking you’ll screw up your baby forever if you don’t “do it all right.”

        • Oxytocin did it for me!! Seriously, I enjoyed that time with my son so much, the rift between my mom and me started getting bigger, because she kept insisting that nursing ties mothers down, that the babe’s a ball and chain. I couldn’t imagine how she hadn’t fallen in love with me during that year of such a wonderful experience, couldn’t stand how she put down the sweet communication with my babe during that time when he couldn’t do a whole lot else (at first).

          Main thing is, you do what you feel is right, weighing all the factors. People make fun of women who nurse if they like it or go “too long” (according to their opinion). I’ve heard that women who don’t nurse can feel guilty about that. Nothing you do will please everyone, so make sure it is the best choice for the people actually involved.

      • Anonymous :

        Good to bring up and for prospective moms to consider, but I have been back to work for 3 months, pumping and nursing, and feel myself at work. All sane in the membrane. Now, it’s tiring, that’s true. But everything is when you’re working two jobs. Pumping isn’t any worse than any other part, and is a great comfort to me. No deleterious neurological effects for me.

    • I agree with the other posters that it will be hard to work with a newborn. My son only slept 10-12 hours a day when he was a newborn so there was very little time to work. I really wanted to work remotely while I was on maternity leave because I was so bored and desperate to be mentally engaged (even though I was busy with the baby), but it simply wasn’t doable. Plus, sleep deprivation is not consistent with high-quality legal work. I checked emails a few times a day, made a few settlement phone calls, and was able to do research for a pro bono case once, but that was the extent of what I was able to do in nine weeks.

      • That mostly sounds like what I’m thinking that I would be doing. Certainly nothing like full time work.

      • Yeah, second the sleep deprivation factor. My son did not sleep well at all for quite a long time, and I think I did my career a disservice by trying to return to work while I was getting ~4 hours of sleep per night (or less). I feel like I never really recovered from the stigma of the poor quality of work I did during that time. And as a result, I have really struggled with resenting my son for “ruining my career” (which is totally not fair, I know, and it’s gotten a lot better).

  11. In House Lobbyist :

    I wouldn’t committ to any work on your maternity leave. I checked emails on the blackberry and would occasionally respond if needed but I didn’t do anymore than that. I had my laptop and planned to work but it seemed like the free time I did have was better put to use by showering or sleeping myself. And you won’t know how you will feel afterwards. I had to have an emergency C section at the last minute and that just added more time to my recovery. I was out for 2 months and it was not nearly enough so just take it easy and see how you feel.

    • Kontraktor :

      This would be my concern. You don’t know how your labor will go, and what happens if it becomes medically complicated? I probably wouldn’t want to commit to anything until 3-4 weeks after the birth.

      • Right. I was supposed to be back on campus 2 weeks after giving birth, but baby had jaundice, so we were in the hospital. I was out for 3 weeks altogether.

    • Yup, I had an emergency c-section after 23 hours of labor and the physical recovery from that took a good month on too of the baby care. I’d be very wary of returning to work before your baby’s 6 week(ish) growth spurt. Mine hit that at 7 weeks and literally nursed every.single.hour for 5 days in a row. It was really tough on me.
      Once we got through that, things got better, but my son is still not much of a sleeper 4 months in. You may be blessed with an easy baby but you never know.

  12. Woods-comma-Elle :

    I’m not a huge fan of working from home, as I like to keep work and home separate. However, if I have to do something over a weekend, I would rather do it from home than go into the office. Because I usually only work from home when there is something I *must* do right that second, I find my productivity is pretty good. However, if I just have a day of working from home and I don’t have anything specifically urgent to do, then I procrastinate way more and end up billing less.

    I’m intrigued about the point re wearing shoes in the house. This sounds so weird to me. Can it really be a good thing? I thought you were supposed to walk around without shoes esp if you wear heels a lot…

    • I was wondering about the shoes thing, too – I’ve always considered the fact that I spend so much of my time barefoot a good thing that undoes the woes I visit upon my feet by wearing heels when I’m out. Not that I’d stop, I guess – I absolutely hate wearing shoes of any sort, and taking them off is the first thing that I do when I get anywhere it is socially acceptable to be barefoot.

    • Doesn’t most of the world take off their shoes habitually when entering their home? At any rate, I’m not going to start wearing them while at home; I also kick off my shoes every time I sit down at my desk at work too.

      • Yes, I am so intrigued by this. Also, wearing shoes in the house = gross! I schlep through the city every day and there’s dog pee and who knows what all over the place. I don’t want to trek that into my apartment. I guess you could have a dedicated pair of indoor-only shoes to wear…

      • Ditto! I always take my shoes off when I get home, and often when I’m sitting at my desk. Down with the tyranny of shoes!

    • Walking around barefoot can be hard on your feet. I have plantar fasciitis and my doctor suggested wearing shoes with arch support at all times. Even an hour spent cooking/doing chores while barefoot renders me lame the next morning. I try to wear flops with decent arch support when at home.

      • Yes, exactly – and more so as you get older.

        I wear house-only shoes at home – Birkenstocks work best for me.

        • Mousekeeper :

          Amen – I keep a pair of Birkenstock sandals near the kitchen for that very reason. If I’m spending a lot of time in the kitchen on the weekends, which I often do, and I forget to put shoes on, my feet hurt like crazy. B’stocks have great arch support.

  13. Related question: anyone have any recommendations for a comfy desk chair for home?

    • Constance Justice :

      Best thing I ever did for my home office was invest in a Herman Miller Aeron. My productivity increased dramatically!

      • I got the Herman Miller Mirra for my home office (work there full time). It was worth every penny. If I ever go back to a job that requires me to be in an office, I’d probably take that on in or buy another.

  14. How do I search for things on the blog? I made mental notes, but not bookmarks for

    shoe suggestions

    my question about pulling my home office together so it’s more efficient and inspiring

    the NGO person who’s offered to help people learn about working in that field.

    How do I look them up? google for [name of blog]:term?

  15. Did I just shut down all discussion on this topic? Wow. Gulp. Sorry.

    I wasn’t asking for someone to look up those vague topics for me, but I know I’ve seen people here search this blog for recent conversations and am just wondering how to do it.

  16. Found TCFKAG’s instructions on how to search for something within the blog. Thanks for posting that!

  17. Collins_JCC :

    Does anyone have any suggestions on dealing with allowed working from home not being the same a department with similar job functions? For example, I would like to work from home more as I am more productive and cuts down on the commute time. However, I have been told I can only do it in emergency situations when others do it on a daily sometimes unplanned basis. Thanks for any suggestions or related stories.

  18. While I understand the view that “While employers shouldn’t privilege parents over other workers, too often they end up doing the opposite, usually subtly, and usually in ways that make it harder for a primary caregiver to get ahead.” It is also true that employees without kids are often burdened in other ways.

    As a single, childless employee I often find that my colleagues expect me to attend / lead all late night activities & take on the longer work trips because I don’t have kids. Just because I do not have kids does not mean that I do not have a life outside of work!

    • Anonymous :

      We probably all agree. Slaughter takes pains to speak of men (dads) getting in on the positive and negative (worry, temporary or longterm career decline) aspects of life balance, and I’m sure we agree non-parents need balance, too. She gets at that by saying mothering and marathoning *both* make workers better workers. We should all get to get a life, however we define it. Hopefully let’s not get sides-y here.

  19. My work from home tips:

    -Making my work area completely uncluttered and a haven for art, plenty of natural light, and comfort. I personally find that if I don’t love my surroundings, I won’t love being working there.

    -Carefully plan out my day by making individual task lists (work, personal errands, etc.) and block out time in my day to do each, so that my life stays balanced.

    -During my home work hours, I find it important to take breaks and just walk outside. The fresh air really is a great stress-reliever! Plus it’s my favorite place to just think and pray:)

    Nikki Mata
    Thebellabordeaux.blogspot.com

  20. You know, I think i’ll try the change into work clothes strategy. I never thought of that from a work from home perspective. I knew that attire affects the mood generally, though.

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