I WORK from home. Please respect me.

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Work from Home

The past couple of weeks have been a nightmare for me on the work front. I’ve been faced with constant interruptions, endless personal phone calls (that were mostly for my son) and lack of time due to unexpected requests. If I were in an office, none of these incidences would be acceptable, nor would they happen as frequently. But I don’t work in a traditional setting. I work from home. And right now I’m asking for a little respect.

Let me repeat I WORK from home. The emphasis is on WORK. I’m not home to play or stop every five minutes to be a personal secretary to 13-year-olds. I’m there to get “stuff” done, much in the same way that you are at your place of employment – wherever that might be. I can’t leave to go strawberry picking in the middle of the day or just randomly catch a movie whenever I please. Chances are I have three or four conference calls lined up and a Google Hangout or two. Not to mention the other WORK I am expected to do – that I want to do, but I keep getting unnecessarily interrupted. So I’m asking for some respect.

I want you to view me in the same light as you view the CEO who sits in the corner office. Or the hardworking store clerk who so diligently packs your groceries. You wouldn’t think of calling them 30 times in one morning or randomly stopping by in the middle of their work day to “catch up”. They wouldn’t be able to up and leave, let alone respond. And you can’t expect me to either. I WORK from home.

Here are some ground rules that I would like for you to take into consideration. I’m calling them the “Work-from-Home Etiquette Guidelines for Outsiders”.

  1. Reserve making personal phone calls to after business hours – which are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. If you must call someone who works from home during business hours, keep it brief and to the point. 
  2. If your kid has a friend whose parent works from home, make sure they are not being a nuisance. They should not be allowed to call the phone of the work from home employee or visit during the work day (unless agreed upon in advance).
  3. Don’t assume the work-from-home employee can take off whenever they feel like it. The companies they work for often have systems in place to ensure their availability. Most individuals who work from home appreciate the opportunity to do so and would never violate guidelines regardless.
  4. Don’t show up unexpectedly and continue to knock at the door or ring the doorbell endlessly. This is rude, and could very well disrupt an important business call or video chat.
  5. If you live with someone who works from home, respect their right to work. Allow them space and time to conduct business. Limit interruptions and distractions and keep noise to a minimum.
  6. Take the individual who works from home seriously. It’s a real job, with real pay and real consequences.

Some points to ponder:

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