Everywhere you look, people are working from home. Home-based offices are the solution to the down-sized, the entrepreneurial and those seeking balance. With luck and time, a lot of those one-person businesses will be successful, creating the need for the at-home worker to hire other workers ' to work at the boss's house.
It's an arrangement that works best if the at-home office has loads of space. Annette Taddeo told me about the wing of her suburban Miami house that is currently the headquarters of LanguageSpeak, the company she founded nine years ago. Her employees have had to adjust to the sounds of the gardener once a week, and to working with her two Yorkshire terriers underfoot. But being able to site by the pool at lunch seems to make up for any other inconviniences, though none of the employees have yet gone for a swim.
Taddeo says it would be 'just fine' if her staff swam, but the staff sees things through a different lens. 'Having your boss see you in a bathing suit,' says Maria Granadillo, a project manager at LanguageSpeak, 'is not OK'.
Such adherence to unseen boundaries becomes more pronounced in smaller at-home work spaces. For Kathy Braddock and Paul F. Purcell, the unwritten rules are not about the pool, but about the bed. Two years ago they founded braddock+purcell, a real estate consulting firm in New York, and decided to create a workspace in Purcell's one-bedroom apartment.Braddock has had to become accustomed to working in the bedroom of her fastidious business partner.
Braddock says she is nervous in Purcell's kitchen. 'If I were home in my own kitchen I might scramble some eggs,' she says, 'but at his house I'm too afraid to burn the pot.'
Then there is the bed. 'When I spoke to Purcell he told me how comfortable the entire staff was just lying across the bed.' Braddock, however, says she would never, ever, lie down on it.