Career Consulting

5 ways you should never work from home

One of the perks of being in management consulting is the flexibility that you have when you’re not on site with the client a.k.a. Fridays.

The typical consulting model is what they call a “3-4-5” model where you spend 3 nights away, 4 days on site, and the 5th day of each work week at home or the office. This is great for me to be able to pick up my kids on Friday, which I wouldn’t be able to do working an industry job. Friday is also the day when most consultants take care of other errands such as doctor appointments, which is tough to do when you’re on the road.

The problem is that many consultants take advantage of working from home and ruin it for everyone else.

Here’s a five ways you shouldn’t work from home to avoid being the person that ruins this perk for your team.

Sending From Your iPhone

Nothing says screwing around on billable time like a day full of messages signed “sent from my iPhone.” The occasional time sensitive response from the phone is fine but over using this technology can give the impression that you didn’t put any thought into the message you were sending because you were busy doing something other than work, despite the fact that Friday is still a work day.

Offline on Office Communicator (or whatever Instant Messaging service your team uses)

If everyone knows you’re always online when you’re working onsite and for some you reason you’re mysteriously unavailable every Friday, this isn’t a good look. Similarly, if you consistently sign on late when you’re not on site, your credibility with other suffers. You give the impression that you’re unreliable and people will treat you accordingly.

Taking Conference Calls Away From your Computer

How much value can you possibly add to a meeting to review a document when the only thing you have on you is your bathing suit and your smartphone. People that do this make themselves look foolish. It doesn’t take long for it to catch up with you either when your boss is looking for the changes you were supposed to be making and you’ve missed more than a few because you were focused more on getting your tan right than you were on capturing the notes from your conversation.

Going Radio Silent

When people don’t hear from you when you’re working remotely, the unfortunate truth is that you’re guilty until proven innocent. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been sitting in front of your computer the whole day. You’re only as good as the output you produce. As such, you need to continue providing the same frequency of updates as you normally would in the office to your client and your manager. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean expectations for your work product have changed.

Failing to Communicate

Sometimes things come up while you’re at home that your require your attention. These things may vary from something as serious as taking your child to the ER to the less serious but equally time-consuming appointment with your cable provider. Either way if you’re going to be missing action for a while, let someone know and, if possible, get someone to field questions in your absence…not so different than when you’re out of the office on vacation.

Working from is a privilege not a right, so be sure not to give your boss a reason to cut back on all of that flexibility that you’ve been enjoying so much. If you have other ways people you’ve seen people lose their work from home privileges, share them in the comments.