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Home alone

Home alone
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First Published: Tue, Nov 23 2010. 12 30 AM IST
Updated: Tue, Nov 23 2010. 09 15 PM IST
Some day, I will become senior enough to work when I want, where I want.” Or perhaps, “I will retire from the 10-8 routine and work flexible hours.” Telecommuting or working from home is every manager’s dream; achieving work-life balance the ultimate goal. In a survey (Flexible Work Models) conducted in October in Europe, the US, Asia and India by strategy consulting firm, Bain & Co., nearly 86% of next-generation employees said they expect flexibility from their employer. Changes in work practices and technology have made this a reality now. However, working from home is not as easy or attractive as it is made out to be. Through his week-long tweets, we take a peek into the life of a senior executive, who works from home and grapples with multiple “tiny issues”. From what to wear when working from home to can “balance” really be achieved, work-from-home raises several questions. Perhaps there are some lessons to be learnt.
Srinivasa Addepalli is senior vice-president, corporate strategy, Tata Communications. Addepalli can be found on Twitter @addepalli. Views expressed here are personal.
Monday
8.00 AM Wow, the apt complex gym has really changed a lot since I last visited it. via Twitter for BlackBerry
9.20 AM L’s gone to school and the missus to work. Aha, feels great when it takes you 10seconds to reach office. #FTW
10.00 AM Done with overnight email. Disconnecting myself for the next 2 hours. #tata
12.00 PM Finished the Board presentation draft! No tension for the rest of the day.
5.00 PM Gartner publishes latest APAC IT market forecasts; no surprises. http://bit.ly/Grtnr #yam #in
5.15 PM (Yammer) @marketingguru Do you really think so? Aren’t our latest numbers more or less in line with the Gartner sizing estimates? Anyone from Singapore have a point of view?
Lesson of the day
Plan your day’s schedule, just as you would if you were working from office. Take opportunities to shut yourself from the world for a thinking session or an urgent task.
Tuesday
4.22 PM #NoteToSelfWear a shirt even if it is very hot, particularly when you join a web-conference.
9.00 PM Rather embarrassing to be told by Sridhar that he could see me in my vest during Webex meeting. #fail
9.01 PM Don’t know how the webcam turned itself on!! Should stick a post-it on the cam when not in use.
Lesson of the day
Try to replicate elements of work environment; that includes dressing to work. You never know when you’ll need to jump on to a video chat.
Wednesday
9.30 AM At work! Busy day ahead.
1.00 PM Lunch time!! Nothing like ghar ka khana. But I miss the mango milk-shake in the canteen. Trade-offs.
1.45 PM Staying awake post-lunch is always a challenge. Particularly when your bed is a few feet away. Attention!
9.30 PM What a #uberfail evening. How to fire somebody for writing a poor report when ”Pappu Can’t Dance” is blaring in the other room?!
9.31 PM Can’t really blame L; I should have gone to the local office for the team review call. Or get my room sound-proofed.
9.35 PM (Yammer TeamGroup) Guys, sorry for the background sound during today’s meeting. Hope you could hear me clearly.
Lesson of the day
Create an office space for yourself that is audibly separated from your regular living area. If you cannot spare a room, consider going to the office or using a nearby business centre for important calls or meetings.
Look out for tips on how to set up your home office on Wednesday
Thursday
7.00 AM Day trip to Delhi. Waiting for the flight to take off. How I love these early morning flights /sarcasmvia Twitter for BlackBerry
9.20 AM Delhi is hot! Make that very hot. #YetIWearATievia Twitter for BlackBerry
5.00 PM Headed back to the airport. Delhi’s roads seem to be improving but the traffic’s still the same mess. via Twitter for BlackBerry
11.00 PM Just landed; flight late. 21-hour day for a 2 hour meeting — what a waste! I am done with traveling.via Twitter for BlackBerry
Lesson of the day
Videoconferencing and telepresence are now real substitutes to business travel. Consider creating home infrastructure to support video, or identify a shared facility that you can use.
Friday
11.30 AM Sporadic start today; some home repairs underway. Anyway, not much work this AM.
5.00 PM Headed to TP room for monthly leadership meeting. Looking fwd to meeting colleagues from all over the world. Virtually, of course.via Twitter for BlackBerry
9.30 PM Exhausted. TelePresence much more engaging than audio calls. TP at home would be great. Hmm..maybe not.via Twitter for BlackBerry
Lesson of the day
Working from home offers you the flexibility to take time off for any urgent chores, as long as you are disciplined enough to get your deliverables out on time.
Saturday
10.00 AM Saturday is just another day but with fewer e-mails.
1.00 PM STOP. WORKING. NOW.
10.00 PM Ok, so I sneaked in. But I do need to get the Key Imperatives sorted out; it was due on Friday.
Lesson of the day
A home office can easily become a 24X7 office and defeat its very purpose, if you are not consciously managing your time. A home office does not automatically mean more time with the family.
Sunday
11.00 AM Nothing much happening on e-mail, Yammer and Twitter. Is this a long weekend, guys? #yam
11.10 AM (Yammer) D marketingguru Aha! I knew you’d be around :-) Any update on that Gartner report analysis?
11.12 AM (Yammer) D marketingguruThat sounds plausible. Hey, got to go: some birthday party and I am getting those dirty stares! I’ll be in office next week – let’s catch up.
2.15 PM Seriously, where’s everybody this weekend? #yamvia Twitter for BlackBerry
Lesson of the day
It’s not wise to work from home 100% of the time; a 60-40 mix between remote and on-site is advisable. Use enterprise social media tools to stay in touch with what’s happening in the office even when you’re home.
Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com
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First Published: Tue, Nov 23 2010. 12 30 AM IST