Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eric's Business Tips: Effectively Working from Home.

As I write this I am wearing a sports coat, and shoes. Yes, I don't have to --- I work from home. But I've learned that these and other small touches add an air of professionalism to the image I see in the mirror, and that makes me feel better about myself, and it helps me be more productive. I also make the bed and sit with my legs crossed. Another thing I've learned is to have meetings.

Meetings are one of the things I most miss about the corporate American workplace. They are an opportunity to draw out our interactions with people we don't like---to extend what could be a simple email exchange into an hour-long discussion. I only have the dogs to meet with mostly, so every Monday I reserve a cushion on the couch and we sit down, each of us with a typed agenda, and go through our plans for the day. Today Lydia offered to lick the same spot on her foreleg for twenty minutes. Cassie and I asked if we could count on her to slobber on the couch pillows as much as possible. We also need someone to follow me into every room in the goddamn house, and Cassie stepped up to the plate. Besides from having meetings, I also try to fashion my physical surroundings into a more professional environment.

Being in an office means sitting in the same spot for hours on end looking like you are doing more work than others. That second part of that isn't too hard around here. But the sitting part IS hard. I have A.D.D., and it's one of the reasons I don't do well in offices. I pace, I go the bathroom more often than I have to or should, I make endless cups of coffee. In offices I am anxious all the time people will begin to question the amount of time I don't spend at my desk pretending to work. So here, I pretend for the dogs. I'm actually even more disciplined at home than I have been in traditional work settings: I belt myself to the chair.

Last, I try to talk around the house as I would in an office setting. This afternoon I asked Cassie for an ETA. Lydia offered to have a quick download with me in the backyard. I sat endlessly scratching my own deliverables until they hurt. You're only as professional as you say you are.

Hell, my friend Jack Sartre said, is other people. Heaven can get lonely, mind you, but the coffee is better, and your boss is only ever as crazy, or unreasonable, or as much of a total worthless asshole as you.


Michael B. said...

Eric, did that meeting comment include people like me (BrandHackr partner, Michael)? That's really hurtful I think. Anyway what time is our meeting?

Eric said...

You're an exception to every rule. And as long as we never slip into "business persona" during our discussions we're safe. Let's not call them meetings at all.