Friday, April 11, 2008

Work-at-home tip, No. 2

maxwell smart on shoe phone
Never answer your home phone. Nothing good ever comes of it.

Most times, it is either telemarketers who don't abide by the national Do-Not-Call list, your college soliciting yet another donation or a robo-call asking you to vote for someone in the next election. These are not your businesses' stakeholders, as we used to say in the world of corporate communications.

You may have your answering machine screen calls or look at the Caller ID if you are curious, but resist picking up the phone in mid-message. Reeeeee-sist!

Exception to last rule: Always pick it up if it is your child's school calling you about bomb threats canceling all afterschool activities. Otherwise, they call whoever is next on the "emergency contact" pecking order, and you really don't want to freak out your Mom any more at this stage in her life.

Get a dedicated business line or, if you only telecommute on occasion, have your business calls routed to your cell phone. Just make sure you change your cell phone voice mail message to something that makes it sound like you are still in your office at work.

That means making sure the sound of the 5-CD/iPod/satellite radio music system, dog, newly installed water feature, and/or ice clincking in your glass can't be heard in the background. Those sounds would be honest, but not very professional. So I'm told.

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