Silicon Valley Voice

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WORK DAZE: Not Working From Home

Do you hate leaving home every morning to go to work?

Do you wish there was a way to avoid going to work, other than doing so little of it that you are eventually fired?

Luckily for you, there is a solution.

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Instead of you traveling to your work, have your work travel to you.

According to a recent article in forbes.com, “7 Things To Know If You Want To Work from Home,” a 2016 Gallop poll showed 43 percent of Americans working from home. It’s only gone up from there.

According to author Wendy Helfenbaum, presumably writing from her home office, “although a few major firms lately have put the kibosh on working from home (IBM and Best Buy, for example) they’re fighting the trend.”

If your passion for wearing the bright yellow shirt of a Best Buy security officer is so intense, you might as well stop reading now. You could work as a security officer at home, but who would you have to arrest, except you, your goldfish and your parrot? (Never did trust that parrot)

Before you start looking for an at-home gig, be sure that the position for which you are applying is suitable. For example, the job of manicurist is probably not one you can do from your home, unless your customers have very long arms.

“Make sure it it’s legal” is tip No.1. We’re not talking about jobs that should be illegal in any setting, like human resources director. Your dream gig may run afoul of “zoning restrictions imposed by your city or your homeowners association.”

This is a reasonable concern. Consider Victor Frankenstein, an entrepreneurial health care provider who ran a concierge medical practice out of his house. When local peasants started lining up at the front door, carrying torches, the neighbors got miffed.

The solution is to set your office hours as 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. The sight of you doing business in your jam-jams should discourage even the nosiest neighbor.

“You’ll need the proper insurance” is tip No. 2. A business owner’s policy (“BOP” to its friends,) will cover the drunken slips and falls of your clients, just as your home owner’s insurance covers the drunken slips and falls of your friends. You may need a specialized policy if you have a large inventory. For example, storing radioactive waste in your basement — a typical job requirement for stay-at-home nuclear engineers — could result in significant claims if, as they say at MIT, it all goes boom.

Tip No. 3 points out that “a well-equipped, well-designed home office is a must.” According to Helene Liatsos, founder of Home Office Management Experts, “not everybody has the luxury of a separate home office, where you can close the door, but you can define your space with a filing cabinet, plants or a screen.”

I recommend plants. The Nepenthes Rajah of Borneo works extremely well as a screen. It’s a meat-eating slipper plant big enough to devour a rat. Which should pretty much cover your entire client list.

Tip No. 4 states, “You may be taxed differently than before.” And it could be more favorable! Go ahead and deduct a percentage of your expenses if your home is used for business. That would be about 95 percent of your mortgage, your cable bill and your grocery expenses, since you are always thinking about business when you cook, or sleep or watch “Power Rangers: Turbo.” (Is Tyzonn totally like your company’s director of IT or what?)

“It’s tough balancing work and family under the same roof” is tip No. 5. True that! Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. The family moves out.

“You’ll probably need to master some technology that will be new to you” is tip No. 6. There’s this useful new device called the “home phone.” It is connected to the wall, if you can believe that, and is an excellent tool for keeping in touch with the poor saps who are still working in the office. Call frequently to tell them you’re in your hot tub, waiting for the start of an important meeting. They’re sure to be happy for you.

“Distractions will be everywhere” is tip No. 7. That’s why it’s recommended that you say “It’s time to work” before you start and it’s “Time to go home” when you’re ready to stop. Seems silly, since you are already home, but it could help you focus.

A better idea is to say “time to go home” before you begin.

Hey, you never did any work when you were in the office. Why start now?

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com.

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