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, …