Planning Company Travel Six Months Away — While Secretly Pregnant

When to Tell Your Boss You're Pregnant | CorporetteWhen should you tell your boss that you’re pregnant? Are there any circumstances where you should tell your boss earlier rather than later?

My husband and I are expecting our first child. I haven’t told anyone at work yet, since we’re still in the first trimester (due in June). I’m two years into my current job, and love my company and my work.

A few big opportunities and changes just came up that may affect my plans to “break the news” about my pregnancy earlier than intended:

(1) My boss, who supports my advancement within the company, just got a new position. With a change of management, I may not have a boss who is as supportive of me, especially given that I intend to be out of the office for three months.
(2) My team is planning now for travel that must occur in the spring. Travel involves going to developing countries, which I won’t be able to do on the cusp of my third trimester.
(3) I just found out I am scheduled to present two of my biggest projects to our Board of Directors in June, which is a major career opportunity for me. This cannot be rescheduled for many reasons.

Any advice?

Congratulations, A! We’ve talked about when is the best time in your career to get pregnant, how to announce you’re pregnant, and how to negotiate maternity leave before, but your circumstances may be sufficiently different so I’m curious to hear what readers say. For my own $.02:

The standard wisdom is to wait until the end of your first trimester because the risk for miscarriage decreases then, and I really don’t think you should vary that here.  (At the very least, wait until you hear the baby’s heartbeat!)  (Readers often recommend the work/life balance book, Balance is a Crock, Sleep is For the Weak — as the authors there say about announcing early to your boss: “shut your piehole.”) To put it another way: What are you hoping will change based on your sharing your news? [Read more...]

How to Campaign for Flexible Working Conditions (Or, How to Change the Company Policy That Requires You Lug a Heavy Laptop Around)

How to Campaign for A More Flexible Workplace (Or: How to Ditch Your Company Laptop)How do you campaign for accessibility and flexibility in your workplace when the policies are less than ideal?  Yesterday’s post on how to lighten your tote bag got me thinking — I was so intrigued by the commenters who noted that they have to carry a huge, bulky laptop to and from the office because that is the the only approved way to get access to the office system.  When I was working in BigLaw, my firm used Citrix to give everyone access to the Docs Open system and other office programs — there were even times you could access document review programs from home.  (Ah, glory days.)  The only thing we needed to access the system was a small, flat device (a 2″ by 1″ fob) that displayed a long number that changed every thirty seconds. When you needed to log into the system, you entered the current security number.  That was five years ago, so it honestly didn’t occur to me that companies with information security issues would not be using something similar to Citrix in 2013.  (Even the Department of Defense has a better remote access option, according to a 2011 Lifehacker article.)  Maybe there are good reasons Reader R’s company isn’t using a secure remote system — but maybe it’s just an old policy that hasn’t been reevaluated in a while or from the right perspective. 

So readers, let’s talk about this — how do you change an office policy to make the conditions better for you (and those who come after you)?  Sheryl Sandberg talked a bit about this in Lean In — regarding how she insisted that the Google parking lot have spaces reserved for expectant mothers — and this was kind of mentioned in a recent NYT article about workplace flexibility  — but I can’t seem to find much else about this topic on the Internet.  For my $.02, here are some ideas… [Read more...]

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.

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How to Set Up the Best Home Office

New Home Office, originally uploaded to Flickr by TypeFiend.I’ve recently gotten a few requests on how to set up a home office. For example, from reader B:

I work part of the week out of my law firm’s office and part of the week from home. I would love to hear ideas for organizing a home office that isn’t just boring filing cabinets (but I need somewhere to stash files – points for nontraditional filing cabinet ideas).

Great topic, particularly as more and more employers offer tech budgets and other accommodations to make working from home easier. (Pictured: New Home Office, originally uploaded to Flickr by TypeFiend.) Some must-haves:

- A good Internet connection. I always take my Internet connection for granted until I visit friends or family with a slow connection, and I marvel at how they get any work done at home at all.  (I think “a fast enough computer” goes without saying.)

[Read more...]