Office policies for the home office

Most home offices are sadly lacking in office policies. This national travesty must end! Here’s how you can help, right now.

Every office needs office policies, if for no other reason to keep employees from scratching each others’ eyes out or “borrowing” company equipment.

The home office is no exception.

If you are wondering why somebody barricaded alone in his basement needs a policy to keep him from stealing his own office equipment, you have obviously never sat alone in your basement 23 hours a day, day after day, in front of a computer screen that freezes every now and then just out of sadistic spite.

NOTICE This article is republished “many years later” after being deleted from the archives on another website.

A fight breaks out in the home office

Home office policies for interpersonal relations

Policies designed to keep employees from scratching each others’ eyes out are even more important in the solitary confinement of a home office. In a corporate setting, spiteful employees go home at night and forget the objects of their loathing. But when one detests oneself, office politics often gets too personal to just forget. And that pest you scrapped with even follows you into the shower…when you take one, that is.

Here are a few guidelines you can use to formulate practical home office policies, just in case you get the hankering to live the glamorous life of the work-from-home hermit.

Every office has rules against sexual harassment. Due to legal requirements, you must adopt a zero tolerance policy for such insensitive advances.

If your partner complains about such a policy, seek legal advice. Divorce can be ugly.

Office romance is another story. Most companies permit office romances, as long as there is not an actual office involved (humans only, please). In the home office, romance is encouraged, mostly to avoid the legal repercussions mentioned above.

Generally, partners do not frown on home office affairs, either. In fact, they usually approve such morale-building activities…as long as this function is not outsourced.

Home office policies for work expectations

In major corporations, absenteeism is a serious problem. Most companies have policies against calling in sick every day. The reverse is true in home offices, where employee omnipresence has been proven to cause psychological trauma in overworked computer keyboards.

Most companies have policies on showing up late for work. Most work-from-home hermits do not know what this means. No policy required.

Many large employers encourage car pooling. Please resist the temptation to car pool to your home office. The SUV might have a great sound system, but it will make a mess on the living room carpet.

Pets are not permitted in most office settings. In your home office, roaming animals are an important customer service feature:

“Yes, I agree. Your report should claim that profits are swollen, not stolen. Must’ve been that darn cat frolicking on the keyboard again.”

Many companies expressly forbid employees from viewing objectionable content on the Internet. Seasoned work-from-home hermits know that ALL content on the Internet is objectionable, especially after 23 hours in front of the computer screen. View away!

Home office policies for office equipment

Confidentiality is sacred with large employers. Employees are forbidden from divulging information they see pass over their desks. In the home-office, policies are required to prevent hermits from divulging what they see when they pass out under the desk. Mostly dust bunnies.

My wife enforces this policy (I am not allowed to mention to you the dust bunnies under my desk. Shhhh.).

Inventory control in the home office is key. Large companies have policies like: “It is forbidden to remove paper fastening devices from company premises, except within envelopes being disseminated through official company channels.”

Home office inventory control should focus instead on “consumables”. Here is recommended wording for your policy:

“Stop hoarding the cupcakes. Leave them in the kitchen.”

Home office inventory policy cupcakes

I was asked recently by a survey company if my business is wheel-chair accessible. I responded:

“My business is a website. Why would you want to roll a wheelchair over my website?”

Maybe I need a policy on that.

A final word on office gossip. Don’t. If gossip in the home office gets out of control, whose feelings are going to get hurt? Right! And who else’s? Right again.

If self-inflicted humiliation is not for you, maybe you are more cut out for a job that involves policies against “removing paper fastening devices from the premises”.

Did you miss My career as a work-from-home hermit and The pajama office fashion primer?