Archives for Working At Home

Staying Healthy-Smart In An At Home Working Environment

shsifeREMEMBER THAT COMMERCIAL WITH THE TELE-worker shuffling around in her pajamas and bunny slippers?” asks Lee Smith, a public-relations account executive who works from Portland, Ore., for a firm based in Chicago. “Well, contrary to popular belief, I don’t sit around like that.”

Like most work-at-home employees, Smith struggles against the perception that she has–in the words of a coworker–“a cake position.” When she first began teleworking four years ago after being in-house for six, many of her fellow workers assumed she was slacking off. “One guy said, `Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we all had the luxury of working at home?’ His words echoed the thoughts of several others outside of my department,” Smith says.

To combat resentment and misconceptions, Smith overdelivered. She worked marathon hours and delivered seven-page status reports. She responded to e-mails within 10 minutes, sent unnecessary e-mails to everybody, …

Avoid Health Emergencies Today, Before They Arrive

Annemarie Marek needed health insurance. But the cost of coverage was enough to make her sick.

aheAs a nonsmoker in good health–and with no history of claims–Marek pays about $230 per month for medical coverage, on top of an annual $2,500 deductible. The package includes a 5 percent discount on prescriptions, but Marek has seen the deductible cost jump 20 percent annually since she first purchased the plan in 1992. Although her Dallas-based marketing communications firm, Marek & Co., foots the cost of her health coverage, Marek quips, “Remember, I’m a sole proprietor.”

So costly is health insurance for independent professionals and home-based business owners, like Marek, that many have opted to go without coverage. According to the healthcare website, approximately 56 percent of its 600,000 members are uninsured. And 11 percent work from home, notes the website’s national director of health care, …

When Settling Isn’t Bad…

tewrdJUDGING BY THE NUMBER OF TELEwork-related disputes making their way into the legal system, even companies with large-scale, successful work-at-home programs aren’t immune to serious problems.

Classic “he said/she said” exchanges are typically at the root of such full-blown legal conflicts between workers and managers; these usually result from improperly trained managers and poor communication on both sides.

What can you do to avoid trouble before it starts? If your company is new to telework arrangements, develop a specific legal telework policy you can turn to if things get out of hand. And if you’ve already drafted a legal policy, be sure to review it periodically and make tweaks and updates based on feedback from employees and your human resources and legal departments.

Take the case of former Aetna Life & Casualty employee Virginia Daley, who sued the company claiming she was fired because she …

Keep Yourself Protected When Telecommuting

kypwtYOU’VE SAT AT THE SAME DESK FOR five years. You’ve worked at the same PC day in and day out for the last three. Even the filing cabinet and phone are familiar fixtures in your home office. The trouble is, they’re not yours–the company paid for them when you started teleworking.

“When I left my last job, I was very concerned about making sure I wasn’t blamed for not bringing everything back,” says Salt Lake City-based consultant Amy Neuberger. “I made a detailed list with the secretary and had her mark off everything that I returned. I didn’t want there to be any misunderstanding. I even returned leftover paper clips!”

While few companies insist on getting back unused boxes of staples, desks and computers are another matter. And considering the sizable investment that such equipment represents, you’d expect employers to carefully manage their telework inventory. …