April 4, 2013
How to work at home and still keep your job
Here in the digital age, we thought that working from home -- a beloved practice of introverts, parents with small children and the disabled -- was a secure "right."
But if Yahoo's recent move to ban working from home is any indication, we thought wrong. "Face time" may indeed be on its way back.
Truth be told, working from home always had its perils. Employers are only human. Humans tend to take the easy way out. And it's easier to lay off someone you see only rarely than someone you see every single day. It's an annoying but true cliche: out of sight, out of mind.
Even if losing your job isn't the issue, you may still be feeling the need to think twice before announcing, "I'll be working from home tomorrow."
To that end, here are some ideas for maintaining that all-important high profile while having your working-from-home cake, too:
Volunteer for difficult assignments. What better way to prove you're indispensable?
Send your boss regular updates of your activities. Not lengthy updates, just frequent ones, jam-packed with content.
Never miss on-site meetings. Always arrive looking spiffy and professional.
Include yourself in all staff "team-building" activities -- office parties, department lunches, company softball games, etc.
Be an energetic, audible presence during conference calls. Speak up often, with a smile in your voice. Identify yourself by name so you will be associated with all the good ideas you're contributing.
You already regularly check in with your boss via email, voicemail and text, right? Consider adding video calls to the mix.
Finally, and most important, never give the impression that your life is easier or more fun when you telecommute. Even if it is.
You may have fought to earn the privilege to work from home. You may even know in your very soul that when you telecommute you are a more productive and valuable employee. Just don't let it damage your career.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at email@example.com.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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