WORKING from home is a godsend for all sorts of people.
Slobs, misanthropes, the terminally unpunctual. Those with poor social skills, unconventional or unhygienic lifestyles, or anti-social compulsions.
If you work from home you’ll know what I’m taking about. We wander around in our pyjamas in the middle of the day, covered in cat hair, mumbling to ourselves, absentmindedly making another cup of tea and wondering why it’s taking so long to get anything done.
It’s the ideal work set up. No conversations about last night’s Coronation Street, no best-in-show fashion contests, no inanities around the water cooler, and best of all, no boss. None of that tedious pretending to be busy when inside your head you are floating in another dimension far, far away. Working from home, you can stare out the window for as long as you like without anyone nudging you in the ribs. There is no boss but you.
Solidarity then to our colleagues at Yahoo! whose evil queen Marissa Mayer has ruined their day by insisting that from now on everyone turns up in the office. This is so workers can have brilliant ideas together in the corridor or the lift or the staff canteen. Such demands for presenteeism are seen as regressive in the digital age — especially for those for whom the daily commute involves reaching for the laptop while still lying in bed.
Because yes, office workers, we home workers do actually work from bed sometimes. Clearly, it’s not a desire for increased productivity which has spurred Mayer’s backwards culture-shift, but sheer bloody minded jealousy. She simply cannot bear the idea of all those people working in their pyjamas.
Should her come-to-work decree be repealed anytime soon, here are some simple tips for Yahoo! workers — and workers everywhere — to successfully do it from home without arousing the crazed resentment of office-bound colleagues, or the suspicion of your boss that you are actually not working at all, while maintaining the illusion of professionalism to everyone who cannot see you.
Your working day should in no way interfere with your actual life — here’s how:
* Avoid Skype: That way your boss and co-workers will not get to see the food stains on yesterday’s t-shirt, the untouched stubble (and that’s just the ladies), or the fact that you’re bleaching your roots and upper lip as you work. They won’t see the biohazard that is your desk, or — if you have alcoholic tendencies — the open bottle of wine next to a clock that reads 10am. If you are forced to Skype at any point, hide the wine and stay seated, so that nobody will see your knobbly pyjama bottoms and holey socks. Try not to slur your words.
* Avoid children: Take-your-kid-to-work day has got to be the stupidest skiving ploy ever — combining kids and the office is a double negative, where you can’t even sneak off to the loo for a quick snooze because they are trailing after you wanting to play with the coffee machine. This does not mean you should encourage your kids to be around when working from home. You don’t want a toddler banging on your work room door screaming that they need a poo as you are interviewing Madonna’s gay brother in New York. This is stressful. Make them disappear during office hours, or you won’t get any proper skiving done at all. Men know all about this. They have been doing it for centuries.
* Avoid taking calls unless you are sitting quietly at home so that all your boss will hear is silence and the sound of your clacking keyboard. Don’t answer if you are having lunch with friends in a noisy boozer, or out lingerie shopping in a shop with a tannoy system. Equally, don’t answer the phone when you have the stereo up full blast or are out jogging. Duh.
* Avoid avoiding: Make your presence felt. Send the office constant emails, updating your every move, even as you are lying on the sofa watching Girls, or still in bed with that book you can’t put down. Maintain the illusion of industriousness via constant contact. Just not via Skype or phone.
* Avoid networking with other colleagues working from home. The whole point of working from home is that you get to avoid other people entirely.
* Avoid Twitter / Facebook during working hours. If you are tweeting about Jeremy Kyle — and he trends most afternoons, so somebody must be — or you’re updating your status every half hour from ‘asleep’ to ‘procrastinating’ to ‘asleep again’, you’ll be rumbled. Your boss is on Twitter too.
* Avoid explaining anything ever. Why should you? You are at home, working hard in between sleeping, making money for the company in return for your monthly pittance. You get the job done — in your own time.
* Avoid working for Yahoo.
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