Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I’m Conducting Business Like A CEO – (Working From Home, Part 1)

After spending my entire business career in an office environment, I recently changed jobs and became a “telecommuter”.  Of course this is a misnomer, because in the digital age you can work from home and spend very little time actually on the telephone.

This obviously was a big change and I was worried about being “unconnected” and isolated.  Well I am definitely not unconnected; in fact I am over connected. I have my own “command center”.  I can now receive calls on three phones (business, home and cell), do FaceTime, and receive e-mails on two accounts. I fear the day when all three phones ring, I get “FaceTimed” and important e-mails arrive all at the same time.  I think trying to decide which one to answer first would throw me into “digital shock” which I doubt is covered by Obamacare.

The challenge is to make your home office seem as much like a real office as possible.  You need to do this so that you never realize you are actually at home.  If that ever happens, you will end up on the couch in your pajamas, eating Cheetos and watching ESPN all day.

There are major benefits to working at home.  Take the ten-step commute from the bedroom to the office chair.  Now on some days this can take longer if the doors are closed or if there is stuff on the floor I have to walk around.  In addition, it is great to have a private bathroom at work.  At three previous employers, the CEO had a private bathroom off their office.  One time during a meeting, I actually got to take a whizz in the executive toilet. It is one of the highlights of my business career.  And now I have an executive bathroom of my own where I can conduct my business in executive comfort, just like a CEO!  At my old job, my co-workers always complained about that “guy” who always stunk up the bathroom.  Well now I think they were full of it.  My bathroom at home smells just like the bathroom did at work, so I think that’s just how bathrooms are supposed to smell.

People think you can become dull and boring if you work at home, but nothing is further from the truth.  In fact I have become much smarter since I changed jobs.  As soon as I started working from home, my fantasy football team was virtually unbeatable.  I won the league and this was my first year of playing fantasy football ever!  Yes I am pretty smart. It was finding that rookie seventh-round draft-pick out of the Mississippi School for the Blind that won me the title (and the cash).

I am also much more popular since I started working at home.  My number of Facebook friends has doubled.  This includes Maya the young Filipino stripper who is trying to raise enough money to come to America to marry a wealthy businessman.  And Maya thinks I’m cute!  Hooyah!

Sometimes it is difficult to simulate a normal office environment.  For example, it is difficult to have “casual” Fridays when you are working in “sweats” all week.   I solved that problem by instituting “Pant-less Fridays”.  This was going swimmingly until the female UPS driver showed up one Friday with a delivery.  Now it could have been worse, not all of my neighbors heard the scream and nobody called the police.  Let’s just say I was happier to see her package than she was to see mine.
She was very happy - Before she opened the door!

And then on another Friday I was “FaceTiming” with our administrative assistant (who is based in Kentucky) when I had to stand up to reach some files.  You know I really have a problem with Apple calling something “FaceTime” when in reality people can see more than just your face.  I mean, who knew? That is just plain wrong.  I am just glad sexual harassment laws do not extend across state lines.

So I replaced “Pant-less Fridays” with “Underwear Optional Fridays”, which allows me to go commando in my command center.  Before you get too grossed out, I have yet to “exercise my option”.  But it’s nice to have the choice.

Next Time: Part 2 – My new assistant needs some business training 

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