Hi there. It’s Friday afternoon and I thought I would offer a few suggestions to those of you who have told your bosses that you are “working from home” today:
1. DO NOT leave your cell phone back in the living room when you step out to the diner for a couple of hours.
2. DO take your BlackBerry and cell phone when you go to the bathroom.
3. DO schedule a few short conference calls with anybody who works for you, since they are probably at the office cursing your name. This will show them you are fully engaged in the business of the day, which, of course, you are!
4. DO NOT start a complex e-mail chain with your boss too early in the day, since they often result in incoming telephone action that will raise the question of where you actually are in the physical (i.e. non-virtual) sense. NOTE: Even if you have received permission to “work from home” don’t remind your boss that you have done so. Reminding him or her of your status may impair your ability to do so again next week.
5. DO NOT start drinking any earlier than usual. Not even beer.
6. DO send out that lengthy e-mail with several Excel attachments that people have been waiting for since last Tuesday. This will serve two purposes: 1) demonstrate that you are active and on the field, in spite of all appearances; 2) stop anybody from replying to you on any issue while they chew over a spreadsheet they have no desire to deal with on a Friday during July or August.
7. DO NOT leave your Elvis Costello album playing in the background while you talk with colleagues, even if they are junior to you. Word will get around.
8. DO NOT answer the phone during your nap. Allow the ring to wake you. Splash some cold water on your face. Then return the call and apologize for having been “caught up” in something else while it was ringing. You may not fool anybody but it will be worth the attempt.
9. DO attempt to call your boss at 6 p.m., when you know he has gone for the day. You will appear on his call sheet first thing Monday morning as any industrious corporate citizen should.
10. DO NOT conduct any sort of business in your underwear. People will know. I don’t know how, but they will.