Author Topic: Is there an etiquette for working from home?  (Read 5077 times)

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hobish

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Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« on: February 09, 2013, 04:41:44 AM »

Forgive my sentence structure, please.

My job is collateral risk management. I look at paperwork and numbers, and financial tolerances. It's really boring to most people. Don't get me wrong, it isn't exciting; but I am good at it and I like it most of the time. Right now I am on a new project. I am overwhelmed.

The only way I can get done all the stuff is to work from home. I like that i can work from home. I like that I have that option. I could use some tips on separating them. I like home. I like my job. I have potential to be a jerk on both fronts.
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Penguin_ar

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 07:34:33 AM »
What are you having a problem with? Are you tempted to watch TV/ answer personal phone calls?  Or is your spouse/ kids interrupting and you are looking for etiquette approved ways to tell them to stay away from you during working hours?  Are you looking for polite ways to tell your boss not to call you after hours/ at weekends/ how to tell him you are overwhelmed?

Sophia

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 08:55:18 AM »

Never do Work stuff and Home stuff at the same time.  When you do, you do each 1/3 as well as normal. 

Have a designated place to do work.  It doesn't have to be an office.  I used to work from home, and my office was the other side of the king bed.  (I lived alone)  I had pillows and bolsters arranged to make a nice comfy chair and the laptop was on the nightstand.  If you live with people, have a sign so they know to not bug you during work.

It goes without saying that you need to get at least as much work done while at home as if you were at work. 

For me personally, I liked to work in about three big chunks of time, rather than one long stretch.  For example, I'd wake up at 6:30am to 7:00am and I'd get to work before even leaving the bed.  (I worked for a German company and getting emails out that early would shave a day off the response time)  Then about 10am or so, I'd do life stuff for a couple of hours. Then work, long break and work, then done. 

stargazer

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 11:54:01 AM »
I also am confused about your question.   My favorite day is Friday because that's my typical work from home day.  My company actually gets MORE work out of me that day because I can roll out of bed in my pjs and get to work around 7am when normally I don't get to work till 9am.  So I never feel guilty about using a few minutes here and there to wash laundry, tidy up the kitchen for a few minutes, etc.   But again that's because I'm working more hours without putting them on my timecard.  If you are working your regular hours, just do your work and pretend you are not at home.

Zilla

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 11:59:20 AM »
Who are you being a jerk to? Your family at home because you are trying to work at home and they are bothering you?  Just tell them you have a huge project and need to have strict privacy and not to bother you.  That isn't being a jerk.
If you think you are being a jerk to people at work because you are working at home instead of the office?  Unless the project is a team based one, I don't see why it's any of their business that you are working at home.  If they have a problem with it, have them kindly take it up with your boss.
 

sweetonsno

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 05:30:14 AM »
I work remotely as well. It's tough, tough, tough, and I don't even have a family to take care of! When I'm up against a hundred-odd small assignments to read or thirty-some papers to grade, the laundry becomes fascinating. I realize that I need to scrub out the oven, or the fridge, or both. I decide for some reason that it's a good time to go grocery shopping (again). In short, it's very difficult for me to get anything done with work when I am distracted by my home, and it's tough for me to get home things done when I need to work. (Grading becomes strangely appealing when I realize that I've dropped yet another spoon into the garbage disposal and need to fish it out before I can run it.)

For me, I really, really need to have a space that is for work only. That is the only way that I can really not drive myself nuts trying to balance things. Because I don't have an office set up, I'll usually run to the local library with my laptop. If you're able to take your work somewhere out of the house, that might be a good idea. It will make the line between "work time" and "home time" a lot clearer for you. If that isn't a possibility, then do whatever you can to make "work time" clear at home. Get into your work clothes. Set up your computer and your documents in a corner somewhere so you can't see the state of the house, kick any family members out of the room, and get to it. It might help to set a timer so you are scheduling breaks. Set the timer for half an hour to an hour. When it pings, take a few minutes. Get up, make a cup of tea, pet the cat, make sure the kids aren't dyeing the dog purple, etc. When your break is up, go back to work.

It's a real challenge for some people (I'm one of them). Sometimes, I like the flexibility, but other times, I really wish my home was my sanctuary and a place for relaxation. Being in a space that is devoted to conflicting responsibilities is very challenging for me.

oceanus

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2013, 11:04:02 AM »
???
OP, I see nothing wrong with your sentence structure.  I don't know what your etiquette question is.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2013, 11:10:09 AM »
I work remotely as well. It's tough, tough, tough, and I don't even have a family to take care of! When I'm up against a hundred-odd small assignments to read or thirty-some papers to grade, the laundry becomes fascinating. I realize that I need to scrub out the oven, or the fridge, or both. I decide for some reason that it's a good time to go grocery shopping (again). In short, it's very difficult for me to get anything done with work when I am distracted by my home, and it's tough for me to get home things done when I need to work. (Grading becomes strangely appealing when I realize that I've dropped yet another spoon into the garbage disposal and need to fish it out before I can run it.)

For me, I really, really need to have a space that is for work only. That is the only way that I can really not drive myself nuts trying to balance things. Because I don't have an office set up, I'll usually run to the local library with my laptop. If you're able to take your work somewhere out of the house, that might be a good idea. It will make the line between "work time" and "home time" a lot clearer for you. If that isn't a possibility, then do whatever you can to make "work time" clear at home. Get into your work clothes. Set up your computer and your documents in a corner somewhere so you can't see the state of the house, kick any family members out of the room, and get to it. It might help to set a timer so you are scheduling breaks. Set the timer for half an hour to an hour. When it pings, take a few minutes. Get up, make a cup of tea, pet the cat, make sure the kids aren't dyeing the dog purple, etc. When your break is up, go back to work.

It's a real challenge for some people (I'm one of them). Sometimes, I like the flexibility, but other times, I really wish my home was my sanctuary and a place for relaxation. Being in a space that is devoted to conflicting responsibilities is very challenging for me.

Iím the same way. Everyone in my group works from home on day a week, except for me. That being said, I do have the flexibility to work from home whenever the weather is bad, or I have something going on I need to be right after work, that may be closer to home, and so on.

I hate it though. Our network has some quirks and some of my applications display so small on my screen its very difficult for me to see, and they canít be changed.  I much prefer my larger monitor and desktop in the office. I tend to get less done when I work from home, since a lot of the time, there are things I can do, and some I canít, so Iím not always as productive as I should be.

But itís a trade off; I donít have to schlep in when the weather is bad, so thatís nice.

Mikayla

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2013, 01:41:15 PM »
Your issue is about setting boundaries in both places?  The home one I've seen first hand, because my bro and SIL are both realtors and they work out of home.  They also have a non-ending parade of friends and relatives either staying with them or dropping by. 

They actually got one of those clocks stores use that say "be back at 2 PM" or whatever, and when it's on that setting, people know not to interrupt.  And they did have a learning curve in enforcing it.

I'm not sure about work.  If you have set hours and people contact you outside those hours, then can you use Outlook calendar or whatever to let them know when you're available?

I do know that when I did this, I had to draw a pretty strict line between the two.  It didn't work at all if I was trying to do work and help my neighbor with something.  It was a mindset thing.

mandycorn

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 04:11:24 PM »
I work with a lot of folks who work remotely. Some of them are really good at it and some of them really stink. Here are my tips based on working with the stinkers (which I'm sure you won't be, so all "you"s are general):

If you're on a lot of phone calls, make sure you have a good signal, so you aren't fading in and out. Talk to somebody you're friendly with in the office to establish how being on your cell or home phone changes your volume. I have one co-worker whose home phone is so loud that i have to crank my volume all the way down just to talk to him, but when he's in the office, i have to turn it way up. If you know that about your own phone, you can warn people and/or take steps to address it, like getting hands free set or something.

Along with that, use your mute button whenever possible. If there's a lot of neighborhood noise or pet noise or anything like that, mute so nobody else has to wonder if there's a dog in the office (or be sad because there's no ice cream truck).

Make sure you check your emails frequently; our email system is less than ideal outside of the office, so most people working from home go hours and hours without checking it (it'll log you out without warning, so they don't realize or forget they aren't connected), which is extra irritating if i have a somewhat time sensitive question that I need an answer to.

Make sure everyone at your office has your home/cell contact information. Doesn't matter which you give them, just make sure they have an easy way to reach you.
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hobish

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 04:42:39 PM »
What are you having a problem with? Are you tempted to watch TV/ answer personal phone calls?  Or is your spouse/ kids interrupting and you are looking for etiquette approved ways to tell them to stay away from you during working hours?  Are you looking for polite ways to tell your boss not to call you after hours/ at weekends/ how to tell him you are overwhelmed?

LOL, All of the above? I didnít ask very well. I get into a panic just thinking about it. As of a few weeks ago my fiancť Gish works for the same company, and now that the big computer at home is fixed I can work from home outside of office hours. My worlds are colliding.
I guess it is only partly an etiquette issue, as far as how to make it clear with people; and partially just advice on keeping the worlds separate. I donít want to be at home on the weekend feeling like I ought to be working instead of playing Pokťmon, and I donít want to neglect my fledgling new project while my coworkers are scrambling to cover my normal work. One of them is already pretty mad at me; but I have pretty much decided she plain does not like me Ė and if I were her, honestly, I wouldnít like me, either Ė and that is just going to have to be what it is, for lack of a better way to put that.
I think when I wrote the original post I was still at a stage in it where I was really going crazy. Iíve got a little support now, and my boss seems to finally understand that it is a huge amount of work Ö I hope. It still makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it.

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EMuir

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2013, 04:56:12 PM »
Set hours and stick to them.  Make sure you take breaks though, just like you would at work.  I know it can be tough. *hugs*

DavidH

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2013, 05:27:17 PM »
One thing is that you keep regular hours that overlap with people in the office. So even if you want to be nocturnal, if teleconferences are important, you would want to keep some regular office hours.  If you can get a separate phone line or cell phone for work that can help since that becomes the office phone and you shouldn't feel obligated to answer after normal working hours.  Just as you wouldn't go into the office on the weekend to see if the phone was ringing.

The flip side, is being available on the phone or email during working hours just as you would be at the office.  It's fine to take breaks, along the lines of those that you'd take at the office.

For your family and friends, don't answer the phone, don't get roped into running errands while you are at work.  If they call, let it go to voicemail and actively discourage them from stopping by unannounced while you are working.  If they do, it is fine not to answer the door.  Remember, a ringing phone or doorbell is not a summons that you must answer.  If you were in the office and they called or stopped by, then they wouldn't find you at home either.

For email, set expectations, for example, you work 8 to 4, so emails after 4 are likely to be answered the next day.  This doesn't mean you can't check them, but make sure others know not to count on you seeing them after working hours.

Another is to minimize distractions while interacting with others in the office.  This means that if you have a barking dog or screaming child at home, it is key to find a place free from background noise when talking to people from work. 

Having an office space may help to keep you sane.  It can be a separate room, a desk, your laptop, whatever works for you. 

Finally, it's fine to do somethings while at home that don't compete with work.  For example, putting in the laundry before going to work and moving it to the dryer on your break is fine, but scrubbing the floor, not so much.   

Rhindle

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2013, 10:50:24 PM »
Hobish, are you exempt? If not, are you approved for the overtime to do weekend work? If so, maybe you could use the 10/20 or 15/45 tactic. The larger number is the number of minutes you spend on work. The smaller, the minutes you spend doing something enjoyable or stress-alleviating. Plus what DavidH said, nothing wrong with starting off the laundry or dishwasher before beginning your next project to-do. Maybe one weekend of this would be enough to get you into the swing of it. I don't advocate giving up weekend after weekend, but I've been in a situation where one weekend alone in the office was well-spent. Good luck with the project.

CakeEater

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Re: Is there an etiquette for working from home?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 12:58:20 AM »
Oh gosh, I would be terrible at working from home. I am such a procrastinator and so easily distracted. Even if I had the option, I would never do it.

The only thing that worked for me was the tactic described above - spending a certain amount of time doing work, then having time off. Except the time off would just be tainted by the knowledge that I still had work waiting for me.

In conclusion, I have no good advice. Sorry.