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Guiding the SOHO Practitioner in a Digital World

Top Reasons To Work At Home. Not.

Killer Slippers and How to Make Them
Image by poppalina via Flickr

Why do people keep blogging about the top reasons to work at home? Does anybody really need a list for that? I would think it would be pretty obvious by now, especially for the reasons that are usually listed. What we really need to see are the reasons you might need to consider that option a little more.

Reason #1. You can work in your pj’s and bunny slippers. Ok, this is obvious. But what isn’t obvious is this: you know that funny smell you notice after you finished checking your email, reading a few blogs, commenting on a few blogs, sending a few Twitters? It’s you. Take a shower. And throw out those slippers – there’s all kinds of crap on the bottom, and you’re tracking it all over the house.

Reason #2. You have less distractions. Ya think? Please. Do you KNOW how many of your neighbors own a dog that barks at the mailman? ALL. DAY. LONG.

Reason #3. You have more time with the family. If fact, not only with your own delightful crew, but your mother-in-law, your unemployed brother, your sister’s kids, chatty Aunt B and your Mom. Who just needs one little container of milk, from that store that’s so close to you it will only take a second. Because you work at home. You are always there and HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD.

Reason #4. Your time is flexible. So flexible, in fact, that you can no longer tell what time it is. As in how many hours has it been since you ate? What to know what it was? Shake out your keyboard. And go get milk for your mother. (See Reason #3)

Reason #5. You can create the perfect office. Or you could, if  the only space available wasn’t the dining table. Or the basement. You know, that dark, dank area with all those funny sounds? Or the corner of the bedroom – the room you can no longer seem to leave. Thank goodness a portable commode is JUST NOT AN OPTION.

Reason #6. You can work anywhere. Do you KNOW how noisy the local coffee shop can get? The same place you popped into the other day for a quick cup and it was virtually deserted? Wait til you show up with your laptop. And forget the library – the only person doing any shushing anymore is that old lady next to you who thinks you are clicking the keys too loud. Or maybe the local park is better? Have you seen your computer screen in the daylight. Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Reason #7.  You can get up and stretch whenever you need to. If you hadn’t lost all feeling in your legs hours ago because there was no one around to tell you to GET OFF TWITTER. NOW.

Reason #8. You can work fewer hours. See Reasons #1 thru #7. Now, HOW MUCH work did you ACTUALLY get done? I thought so.

It’s very easy to put together a list of great reasons to work at home. Who wouldn’t want the perfect workspace, during the best  hours, getting the right amount of incredible work done? But it’s still about the work – what you produce, the quality, the quantity. And the only way you can do that is if you are honest about your work ethic, your work style, your productivity. Where do you work best? When do you work best? What’s the best productive environment for you? Figure that out first, and don’t be seduced by the fantasy.

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Filed under: Office, Productivity,

140 Characters of Simple Value

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image by via CrunchBase“ONE hundred forty characters — the exact length of this sentence — is
turning out to be just right for business communications of all kinds.”

Think of how many times you just wanted to dash off a quick note to someone, without generating a time-consuming conversation about it. Just a bit of info shared, or something to think about that you can discuss further when you have more time. That’s the beauty of Twitter.

Now, Brevity Is the Soul of Office Interaction – NYTimes.com

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Filed under: Communication, Office, Productivity, Social Media, Tools, , , , , ,

Looks Good On Paper. But How Does It Actually Work?

Microsoft Office AccessImage via Wikipedia

Virtual Assistants often come up when talking about cutting the expenses of a small business or home office. I hear there are a lot of things that a VA can do.  I hear how great they are. What I don’t hear is what, exactly, does anyone have them do? What I don’t hear is any of the details.

  • What does your VA do for you?
  • How often do they work for you?
  • How long have they been working with you?
  • Do you have different VA’s for different projects?
  • How “virtual” are they – in other words, do they not work in your office, but do work close enough to occasionally meet in person?  Are they out-of-state? International?
  • Do you have a contract? If so, how detailed are the tasks/projects listed in it?

I think it’s a great idea. But Virtual Assistants have been in existence for quite some time, yet don’t seem to be catching on that quickly. Maybe there’s an issue of organization, productivity, or experience with technology.

What do you think?

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Computer Misuse and Ethical Sanctions

INTERNET LAW – Legal and Ethical Implications of Computer Misuse by Attorneys

A major culprit in the proliferation of computer-based crimes is the tendency by many individuals to allow easy access to their computer and e-mail passwords. In many cases, passwords are shared with a number of people or may be too obvious. In particular, firms should institute a policy against using easy-to-detect passwords such as last names, the firm’s name, or the individual’s birthday as a password.

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Scan, Don’t Copy!

A tall metal filing cabinet for work or home use.

Image via Wikipedia

Doug Cornelius wrote that he will be presenting on collaborative tools and knowledge management on October 1 in Boston as part of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education program, and his description of his program caught my eye:

Every time a document is printed or photocopied, potential efficiencies are lost and unnecessary costs may be incurred. Paper documents are not searchable or sortable. They can become easily disorganized. They require physical storage space in binders, boxes, and cabinets. They are expensive to ship and to archive. Every duplicate set costs as much to copy as the first set, and every time documents are disassembled for copying their condition is degraded.

When you put it that way, why aren’t more offices going paperless? Adding up these costs, you might be surprised how inexpensive a computer upgrade, a server, and a scanner will actually be.

I was leaving an office the other day and there was a little fire department activity in the lot behind it. My first thought – a spark to the roof, and all those documents… Sure, the alarm would go off, and the fire department was already there. But that would do nothing to save the documents in the cardboard storage boxes in the attic, or the non fire-retardant filing cabinets on the floor below, or the non-fire retardant filing cabinets in the main floor. I’ve seen an apartment complex fire, and it can destroy a lot, in seconds. There would be no way to save even a portion.

But a server with a removable drive? And if that drive was backed-up weekly and that backup kept off-site (which is a good idea no matter what your backup plan is.) The computers would be toast, but insured – and who doesn’t like nice new shiny office stuff?

Not to mention that I’d much rather sit in a desk chair doing other work while a computer searches for the archived file I need, than be sitting in a dusty old attic, sorting thru box, after box, after box…

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Filed under: Office, Organization, Tools, , , ,

After hours

BlackBerry user Dou...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeReader Poll: Should You Get Paid Overtime for Checking Work Email at Home?

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Online Documents: Are They Yours, Or Not?

Google Writer as part of the Image by alt text via FlickrWeb Worker Daily » Archive Who Owns Your Online Documents? «

With online office applications improving in quality all the time, they’re rapidly becoming the tool of choice for web workers. Between the ability to access your documents anywhere, the easy sharing, and the automatic backups, I know more and more people who are using these services. But in this rush to go online, we sometimes fail to understand exactly what we’re getting for free. Particularly as these services get used for more business purposes, it’s worth a look at their Terms of Service.

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