Sometimes you just can’t imagine getting up for work: the commute, the office, the gossip, the phones, the politics, that creep down the hall. It’s just makes you want to pull the covers back over your head and dive back into dreamland.
But what can you do?
You need the money. And god knows you need your vacation time for that weekend trip to Tanwater. And who wants to waste perfectly good sick leave on being sick??
But don’t despair. Just pick up the phone and join the growing number of workers who work from home!
Working from home is not only fun, it’s a great way to get paid for doing absolutely nothing! But there’s a science to working from home. There’s nothing worse than returning to the jeers of coworkers who question the validity of your absence. And we all know they think you’re screwing off when you work from home. Of course they do. It’s what they do!
But if you follow these simple guidelines you’ll not only get those paid days off, you’ll never face those snickers again. So here goes:
1) Plan ahead. The week before you plan to work from home be sure to arrive late and leave early at least twice. Blame your tardiness on a nagging domestic matter (that’s getting worse): an ailing pet, a spouse with congestive heart failure, erosion. Anything you want as long as its recurring and needs your personal attention. Never use the old hackneyed excuse you’re “waiting for the cable guy.” That one gets played a thousand times in offices across the world, and it’ll get you popped in a heartbeat.
2) On the eve of the “Big Day”, announce that you’re “thinking of working from home” the next day in an effort to solve the problem “once and for all.” Use an exasperated tone and always throw in that “once-and-for-all.” Most supervisors are happy to sacrifice a day’s productivity, if only to stop your whining. But never say it will “solve” your problem. It’s only an “effort” (the first of many!) and you “hope” it will solve the problem. But there’s certainly no guarantee. That opens the door for more work-from-home days!
3) On the Big Day, inundate the office with gratuitous phone calls. By 9am you should have made at least (3) calls to confirm details on meetings and projects you already know the answers to. “The Hendersons are coming on the 18th, right?” “We’re still on for lunch this Thursday, right?” “Do we have an ETA on Phase II?” This shows you’re fully engaged and alert at the start of the workday.
Now you can go back to sleep.
4) Send (3) strategic emails before noon. You can write them days beforehand, but make sure you send them before noon. Send one to your boss, asking for advice on a particular project you have no intention of completing, and the other two to strategic peers. The subject is immaterial. Just make sure you c.c. everyone you can think of so they have an email with your name and your work-from-home date in their inbox.
Not hard, eh?
5) If you’re out and about (which you’ll probably be by 1pm), drop in on a client for five short minutes. I know it sounds crazy. But this will build credibility like you won’t believe. Not only will you never be questioned about working from home again.. your boss might even suggest you work from home in the future (imagine the late-night adventures that would invite!) When you get back to work, nonchalantly drop the fact that you met with a client during your work-at-home day and watch the eyebrows raise. “Met with Mandy yesterday to see how things are going on the Dooley project.” “Stopped in to see how Jackson’s getting along with our new recommendations.” Remember: treat it like it’s no big deal. This is the stuff work-at-home gurus are made of! Never mind that you saw Mandy at the Take It and Git II convenience store while buying Nyquil and beer. You just became a celebrity at work by taking a day off! Enjoy it.
6) Don’t let background sounds screw up your scheme. We all know you’re not doing squat. But if you answer the phone and a commercial interrupts the call, you’ll never work from home again. So relax. Make some Ramen and catch up on those on-demand shows you’ve been missing. But if the phone rings, turn everything off. Answer professionally. Excuse yourself for “a moment” (to show how busy you are), and hope like hell Mandy didn’t call to say she saw you at the Take It ‘N’ Git!
7) Don’t watch daytime TV. This is the biggest mistake of work-at-home amateurs, and rookies fall into this trap all the time. If you’re really working from home, how did you know what the guests were wearing on The View? It won’t come up in conversation? Guess again. If you watch something on daytime TV, it’ll damn well come up in conversation when you return to work. It’s like the Murphy’s Law of working-from-home. It’s also a trap your boss may set. So stick to Netflix or on-demand movies. And nix The View.
8) Finally.. the wrap-up! The key to a successful “work from home” ploy is your use of the critical late afternoon window. The 4:00 to 4:30 time slot should always be used for annoying calls to the office: “What did I miss?” “Is it my turn to bring donuts tomorrow?” And the old standby: “See you early in the morning!” Eager follow-ups reinforce the image that you’re a “team player.” You’re eager to get back to work! But make sure you haven’t had too much to drink. Nothing can sink a work-at-home ship faster than slurring your words on a mid-afternoon phone-in. It might even land you in treatment!
So, trust us. If you follow these simple guidelines you’ll probably find yourself working at home more often. And if you’re like most Flubuggers (those few who still have a job), that means more late night adventures at The Ditch.
See you in line at the Take It ‘N’ Git!