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Home Work

Dear Dave
Our bookkeeper lives about an hour’s driving time from the office. She has asked us to let her take work home and work from her house two days each week. One reads about people doing this all the time, but we just cannot make ourselves comfortable with the whole idea and have been putting off a decision. Are we too behind-the-times?

Dear KJ
My primary concern would be exactly what kind of work is being proposed to be done from home? I would not like to see client files or confidential personnel records leave the office under any circumstances. Without taking this type of material out of the office, would there still be enough work for the bookkeeper to do from home?

What disruptions to others might be caused by this person not being present in the office? If a client or staff member needs information or support, will someone else be available to provide it to them in a timely fashion in the bookkeeper’s absence, or will their work suffer as a result of the accommodation?

What kind of a precedent would I be setting for others in the office to request the same consideration? The bulk of work performed in an engineering office is collaborative in nature. Not everyone could productively work away from the office. Even if the bookkeeper’s job is uniquely positioned to work from home, will I be fomenting ill will by allowing “special treatment”?

Finally, and this is most important, if you cannot work out conditions and controls which allow you to become 100% comfortable with the arrangement, don’t do it.

Wahby and Associates