Plain and Simple

Jeff Zbar

I'm The SOHO Contrarian.

I'm a home officer who naps during the day. I mow the lawn, do the laundry, run errands, and see to the chores. I play with the kids, hit the beach or take an afternoon jog. I work in my shorts, t-shirt or underwear, and go unshaven for days on end.

Or I don't do any of these at all.

You see, home officers represent a mixed bag of work styles, rules and habits - most of which are governed by no set rules at all.

I recently flouted the "conventional wisdom" vis-?is established home office taboos in response to a writer's query on organizing the home office. He had been fed a litany of "rules" related to home officing. For example, he had been told that it's a "rule" to clear the desk at the end of every day. Hogwash. My desk is generally a Disaster Zone during the week. But I countered that it gets cleaned when big projects end or the weekend comes.

Others also told him a smart home officer doesn't do chores, naps, family tasks on business time. If you're a teleworker, maybe that's true (telework isn't a day care alternative). But as Home Officers, we're free to decide, amend or bend those mandates for ourselves.

I find myself becoming the home office contrarian - debunking all the traditional "rules" of home officing by splashing such thoughts with a healthy dose of cold reality. Truth be told, I don't just pooh-pooh these rules nonchalantly. I support my supposition by saying, essentially, "You're the entrepreneur. You know what your deadlines and client needs are." Working from home affords us certain liberties we can't get as a clock-puncher in the corporate tower. Like "punching in" at 4 a.m., or hitting the hay for a nap at 2 p.m. Many times, I've cranked out significant work before the sun has arisen, and been awakened by a client's mid-afternoon call. I've even been known to take the portable phone out to the hammock and take a siesta there.

I also carry my Blackberry on vacations, log on from a wifi-enabled hotel room while the family is hours from awakening, or make a biz call from a hockey rink. Work is a thing, not a place, and it goes on irrespective of location or rules. I've found my balance.

The reality is home officing is what we entrepreneurs and teleworkers make of it. The writer got a kick out of my take on things. But then I had to bid adieu, for it was time for my afternoon nap...

Jeff Zbar, The Chief Home Officer
Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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