Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Preparing for Telecommuting Holidays

You don't need me to tell you that Christmas and Hanukkah are fast approaching. Those of you lucky enough to celebrate Eid al-Adha are already out of the woods; congratulations. For the rest of us, however, there are a boatload of tasks to be completed to ensure a festive time will be had by all.

The most important preparation for telecommuters: reinforcing the sanctity of your home office. Seriously.

Your children may not go to school for weeks. They will be hopped up on goofballs and roaming around the house like a pack of goats, eating everything in sight and and playing Nintendo DS until you are ready to lose your mind. Maybe this is my children, but I suspect that other people's children may exhibit these same symptoms.

I'd like to recommend the following:

- Remind your children of the rules of engagement. For example, I have a sign that says NO that I hold up if they're peeking through my office window to come in while I'm on a call. Even the little one can read that, and they do a pretty good job of respecting it.

- Consider a lock. If you have very little kids, or it's really important that there be no interruptions or the perception of being anywhere other than a Real Office, a lock is essential. Preferably you'll want to get one that the kids can't open.

- Line up help. Even if you're home and your children are fairly self sustaining, you can buy yourself some time by getting some cousins or other slightly older people to hang out with them.

- Take a break. Don't forget to have fun with your kids, too. After all, the work will still be there even if you wander out of your office for half an hour to goof off with your little tykes. Don't be a grind.

I know. Just get a lock on the door. I'm way ahead of you.

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