Work from home ground rules

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Crashnburn, Dec 10, 2021.

  1. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    For those of you who work from home, and have others in your home, do you have ground rules? If so, what are they. My mother-in-law thinks she can ask me to solve the smallest of problems when I'm working, and sometimes that breaks my concentration. I'm just about to the point to tell her that unless it's an emergency, if my door is closed, don't interrupt me. Is that reasonable?
     
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  2. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    For marital harmony's sake, I would advise against tht.

    I ended up going back to the office to work because it was quieter... for a while. Otherwise I would strongly advise "man cave" or buy a used RV or trailer and work from that. Or better yet, work from your hangar or FBO. I went so far as to buy one of those desks (flimsy) that attaches to the headrest in a car, so i could work from my SUV.

    And even then, that doesn't stop my mom from calling on the cell phone in the middle of the day or (usually) during important meetings (she has an uncanny knack for that.)

    So... hangar/man cave, in your vehicle or RV, or just tolerate it IMO. :p

    IMG_6237.jpeg
     
  3. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    I'm a bit baffled. If a family member has a medical emergency, and needs assistance, I have and will attend to them, put work on hold, and come back to work after the situation has been resolved. Otherwise, if I'm working, why would anyone presume that they can interrupt that? Male or female, that's a lack of civility that needs to be addressed and corrected at the time of occurrence. If you have young kids, and I work with people that do, you probably have to setup a separate area for either them or you, but teenagers and adults just need to learn a bit of etiquette. Otherwise you might as well be living at a bus station. Just my 2 cents.
     
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  4. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    If your mother in law lives with you that is your first problem.
     
  5. Salty

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    I built an office in my detached hangar because when I worked from home in the house I found two problems 1) home disrupted work and 2) work disrupted home. My hangar is 10 feet away from my house so I’m just as close, but it’s a mental separation that makes a difference. It takes more discipline, but with training you can turn a home office into the same thing. “When you are in your office it’s like you are not at home”. It is not unreasonable to ask to not be disturbed when “at work”.
     
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  6. Hang 4

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    When I had young kids, I had a system when working from home. When I was not to be disturbed, I would wear a hat. The kids knew that unless they were badly bleeding or on fire, to leave me alone. I never wore a hat inside the house, so it was a noticeable difference.
     
  7. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And if the OP lives with his MIL, then that is a whole nuther problem.
    Which ever way the arrangement goes, that piece of information is important towards coming up with a solution.
     
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  8. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    rules are made to be broken....o_O
     
  9. Rushie

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    You’re going to have to tell her that. The problem is, you’ve already set precedent and been allowing it to happen. Has she been interrupting even if the door is closed? Or is that a proposed solution?

    The relationship between son in law and mother in law is one of inherent respect (or should be!) so it’s understandable you find it hard to tell her she’s been doing something all wrong. To change her habit, tell her work has ramped up the pressure and you will need to focus intently, and will need to be left alone if the door is shut. In fact, announce it to the whole family rather than singling her out. Frame it so that there’s been a change at work rather than letting her know she has been a bother all this time. It’s a forgivable white lie.

    As a mother in law myself I can tell you we hate to think we are a burden. At the same time, as older women, we look to the younger male head of the family for help. Reasonable limits can be put on that and you can try to draw the boundary in a way that spares her feelings. But the priority has to be on your ability to function as breadwinner. (Or one of them; odds are you earn more.)

    Make a do not disturb sign and put it on the door when it’s shut, as a reminder of the new policy due to your “increased work pressure”. After a couple weeks the “temporary” increase in work pressure should become a new routine, she’ll get the message.
     
  10. manac

    manac Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You shouldn’t have to make that rule.
    My family honors a closed door to my office, even if it’s open they’ll be quiet to see if I’m in a meeting.
    Working at home for the last 21 months. Actually worked from home 2 days a week before the pandemic.
     
  11. scarcherpilot

    scarcherpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lock the door with Headphones on?
     
  12. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I find everyone leaves me alone if I work in my underwear…..o_O

    goin on two years… haven’t lost a customer yet.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2021
  13. GaryM

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    A solution that works even better in the office!
     
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  14. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You wear underwear?
     
  15. Kenny Phillips

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    That's more than reasonable. I've largely worked from home for thirty years. My GF is a psychologist, and I don't go near her door when I'm working. She asks politely if I have time before interrupting me. Civility rules. Except for one of our cats.
     
  16. Let'sgoflying!

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    Wait. Is there a sizable inheritance involved?
     
  17. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    Wow - an intelligent, well thought out, considerate, non-confrontational, mic drop response, that makes total sense.

    You should be banned from POA with that kind of attitude....%^)
     
  18. Rushie

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    Haha! Indeed.

    Comes from experience. OP doesn’t say how old his MIL is or if there is any dementia involved. If so a reminder sign is a must, and their sense of etiquette can be impaired. They simply might not remember that you told them you have a deadline you’re working on or that they already bothered you three times this morning. And their “small” problems can be huge in their mind.

    If someone has never worked a job on a computer, they don’t understand that your brain is engaged in complex thought even if you don’t look like you’re doing a thing. Maybe you’re not even typing on the keyboard but moving a mouse imperceptibly. That’s my job, it looks like I’m sitting there passively doing nothing. One finger is on the mouse scroll wheel moving slightly but my eyes are scanning thousands of lines of data looking for patterns and my mind is accessing memorized documents and my brain is putting it all together to find the discrepancies I’m searching for. But to an observer, I might just as well be watching TV. Doesn’t look like it would be a problem to ask me a simple question, “What do you want me to defrost for supper?” But the effect on me is like a train coming to a screeching halt with all the cars falling off the rails in a disorganized tumble.
     
  19. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    that's totally reasonable and the rule we have at home.. if something is "important" we'll text each other. If I'm super in the zone my phone is upside down on DND (as is hers, well, it's silent). As a point of principle it's generally rude, working or not, to enter a room with a closer door without having a good reason to knock. I thought that was a fairly universal "leave me alone" sign
     
  20. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    EXACTLY!
     
  21. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    There is no real ground rules in a WFH environment other than those you establish and honor in your environment. Don’t expect any co-habitants to be able to read your mind and don’t take it out on them if you haven’t set and enforced those rules.
     
  22. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    I work from home, part time, and this is spot on.
     
  23. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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  24. Larry in TN

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    Give the family a way to indicate that they want or need to talk to you. That way you can fit it into your workflow without being interrupted.

    Knowing that they sent up the 'bat signal', and that you'll contact them as soon as you can, might give them the patience to not interrupt you.
     
  25. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My wife texts me just like she would if I was at work.
     
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  26. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    MIL lives with us. On my WFH days, she is very respectful of my space. Wife and kids will just swing by the office and say 'hi', but all of them know that I am focused on work until 5:30 or 6.
    My work is easy to measure quantitatively. On my WFH days I am about 30% more productive because it turns out, my family is more respectful of my time than my staff ;-)
     
  27. sarangan

    sarangan Pattern Altitude

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    IMHO, working from home is a bad idea in the long term. You sound like a responsible person because you are recognizing family interruptions to your work. But I've had employees who disappeared for extended periods while working from home. Even if they claim they were working, no one knows what they were really doing. Except in cases where the individuals trust each other (such as business partners), the lack of visibility and oversight creates an environment that can lead to problems.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2021
  28. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’ve been wfh exclusively for the last 4 years. The closest office to me is about 500 miles away. Before Covid I travelled to one of the offices 3 or four times a year and otherwise managed myself. This works great for people that do indeed manage themselves. Not so good for people that need guidance and nudging. It’s hard to mentor and train people remotely. It’s hard to form team bonds remotely. I’m lucky enough to be a senior individual contributor that, while (somewhat ironically) my job is almost exclusively communicating with others, I’m not really a member of a team. It’s an awesome position to be in, but everybody in the company can’t do that, teams are needed to accomplish most business functions, and a bunch of people that never see each other in person will never work together as well as those that spend significant time together.
     
  29. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    :yeahthat:


    Exactly!

    Also, over the years I’ve found that most of the technical problems I worked were solved by three or four of us scribbling on a white board and arguing, or making sketches on a napkin at lunch. That sort of spontaneous, informal brainstorming just doesn’t happen with telecons and zoom meetings.

    WFH is a useful and helpful option, but it often sucks as a full-time permanent arrangement.
     
  30. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A lot of things were done at the water cooler and coffee pot….not no more.
     
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  31. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A lot of time was wasted there as well. There's good and bad.
     
  32. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup…and now no time is wasted. Lol :D
     
  33. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Line Up and Wait

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    Just hired an new employee, he just couldn’t take working from home any more. :)
     
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  34. idahoflier

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    The wife and I have both been working from home for 21 months now with the kid remoting into school for about 15 months (she's back in school now). We each have our own location and our only unspoken rule is if my wife or I have a meeting the door closes, otherwise the door is open. It has worked great! At this point I intend to never work in "the office" again...
     
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  35. Charlie Golf

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    And don't forget...

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  36. jordane93

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    When I was living with my friends, 1 guy was working from home. He’s a graphic designer and he pretty much worked on his own time so it was pretty relaxed. He’d have a few zoom meetings throughout the day but most of the time he’d have his mic muted so we were free to kind of do whatever. However, we obviously didn’t purposely try to be loud of annoying. Overall, there wasn’t a big change. I’d sometimes hang out in the living with him and just talk or watch tv while he was getting his work in.
     
  37. weilke

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    Depends on the job. If your job involves creativity and problem solving, losing direct personal interaction can be a downside. If you are a lawyer who does nothing but reviewing and processing grants and contracts for compliance, you can do 100% of your work from home at the same ior higher productivity than in the office.
     
  38. Half Fast

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    Probably true.

    I know in engineering we bounce ideas off one another, interact, and collaborate in ways that just don’t happen remotely.
     
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  39. Kenny Phillips

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    Unless they are extreme introverts, as are most of my people.
     
  40. Salty

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    Setting up a bunch of extreme introverts to work remotely is a guarantee they will not communicate.