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Poll: When working at home, how do you handle your non-work-related calls?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:00
SITE STAFF
Aug 6, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When working at home, how do you handle your non-work-related calls?".

This poll was originally submitted by Elena Carbonell

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:00
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Other Aug 6, 2007

If I'm really busy or just don't feel like talking to anyone, I screen my calls.

Sometimes I just pick up the phone when I'm busy, but if it's a gabby friend I talk for a bit and then tell them (nicely) that I'm on deadline.

I can't talk on the phone and work at the same time, although maybe there are some fortunate individuals who can!

Amy


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Luciana E. Lovatto  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:00
English to Spanish
I always answer my phone call, but if I am short of time... Aug 6, 2007

If it is a friend who calls I say: “Sorry, can I call you back later?” Otherwise if it is someone I don’t know, I try to have a short conversation in a friendly manner.

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Fernando D. Walker  Identity Verified

Local time: 04:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Friendly talk... Aug 6, 2007

If I am really busy, I answer my phone calls but I make it quick and I explain to the person I am talking to that I can not talk for so long because I have to finish working. Otherwise, I talk a bit longer and in a relaxing way.
Have a nice day!
Fernando


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Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:00
English to Spanish
I actually envy people who have multitasking skills ! Aug 6, 2007

I´ve never been able to concentrate on what I´m doing if the phone rings. I am pretty jealous of a friend who can type away on the computer, cook, see to her baby and get dressed while her head and her right shoulder support the phone in between them and her brain efficiently instructs the body to do everything right.

I discovered that I am a one-thing-at-a-time person when I was learning to play the piano and found out that even my piano teacher could not speak to me while I was playing without distracting me.

Congratulations to all multitasking people of the world!, Well done!


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Mee Sook Kendall  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:00
Member (2006)
English to Korean
+ ...
Another Other Aug 6, 2007

I've had a second phone line installed so I don't miss business or personal calls. If a call comes in on the business line while I'm using the home line, I take it right away but my friends understand.

COMMUNICATION is what the translation business is all about so I try to make it as easy as possible for people to communicate with me.


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Anne Goff  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:00
French to English
+ ...
It depends... Aug 6, 2007

If I'm very busy I screen my calls, but usually I'll answer and talk for a little while (after all that's one of the joys of freelance, isn't it?).

I can't talk while I'm translating, but if I'm researching terms or playing with formatting then I will definitely multitask.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 04:00
English to Spanish
... Aug 6, 2007

If it is a salesperson, I usualy reply "I'm sorry, but the mrs. isn't home" and that's it.

If it's my parents and I have time, I try to make small talk but keep it short and usually call them back in the evening, even if I'm not pressed by a deadline.

If it's a friend, I try to be friendly and say "call me later", even if I'm not pressed by a deadline.

Why?

[begin rant mode]

Because it absolutely infuriates me that people (be it friends or family) think that because I work from home and am my own boss, I can just take off and stop everything I am doing in order to talk about X's latest boyfriend or the huge sale of YYY superstore whenever I want to. Or worse: whenever THEY want me to.

I find it utterly disrespectful and belittling that they think that what I do is not important enough and make claims such as "but you work at home so every day is like a holiday to you". If I had a boss breathing down my neck and worked in an office they wouldn't dream of calling me to tell me that X put on more weight or that Y is getting divorced. Why should it be any different now that I work from home?? Do I have tiny elves at my beck and call to keep on translating while I turn the tv on to see [insert politician's name] latest blunder just because they urge me to?? NO!!!!

Therefore, I do NOT take leisure phone calls during my self-appointed working hours (all of my friends and relatives know what my working hours are), no matter what.

[end rant mode]

Sorry, you touched a VERY sensitive spot.

Greetings



[Edited at 2007-08-06 17:51]


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:00
French to English
+ ...
Yes, but even worse... Aug 6, 2007

[quote]Andrea Riffo wrote:


Because it absolutely infuriates me that people (be it friends or family) think that because I work from home and am my own boss, I can just take off and stop everything I am doing in order to talk about X's latest boyfriend or the huge sale of YYY superstore whenever I want to. Or worse: whenever THEY want me to.

[End quote]

What's worse is when friends call in during working hours, even though they know that you're bound to be busy. I've just had to harden my heart and say "I'm really sorry, but I'm up to my eyes....", but I felt so guilty the first few times I did. The joys of living in a small village, I suppose...

I suppose it's exactly the same as when the school/PTA committee assume you'll be available to bake cakes/sell tickets/decorate halls because you "only" work from home.

Grrr!

[Edited at 2007-08-06 18:14]


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Stephanie Ingunza
Local time: 02:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Friendly but short talking!!! Aug 6, 2007

It depends, if I´m very busy and the deadline is a few hour or minutes away, I simply do not answer the telephone, but if I have more time to talk on the phone, first of all I see who´s calling and answer the telephone in front of my screen. I barely talk and I try to be friendly, but sometimes they realize I´m doing another thing and they ask: What are you doing???? I answer that I´m very busy translating and that it´s time to hang up, I`ll call back later. And that´s it!!! You have to be very polite to avoid hurting the feeling of the others!!!

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:00
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The ONLY advantage of my present home is ... Aug 6, 2007

I can't receive phone calls when I'm logged onto the internet !

Mind you, the disadvantage is:- no business calls in or out either !

Add to that a snail-speed 56k modem connection with no possibility of broadband in the near future; an amazing 25 euros per 100 hours (my son in a nearby city gets ultra-fast broadband with free phone for about 15 euros); no reception for mobile phones; no radio/TV reception apart from by satellite, and you'll understand the "For Sale" sign outside my house.

Any buyers out there?


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:00
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I don't answer because.... Aug 6, 2007

.....70% of the time it is a salesperson. I ask them if they would like to place an order for a translation and, if not, why on earth they phoned me.

.....10% of the time it is a local person, asking, for example, if I translate Spanish into Chinese, and expressing astonishment when I say that I exclusively translate German into English. I think I am going to have to request to be taken out of the yellow pages.

.....15% of the time it is a translation agency wanting a rush job that, if I accept, I should start working on right away. However, it never happens that I am not already working on a translation that I cannot at that moment stop working on, so those calls are also futile.

......5% - all other cases.

Result: unless I have a quiet or even normal day (both pretty rare these days), I do not answer the phone.

Astrid


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Elena Carbonell  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:00
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's also my soft spot!! Aug 6, 2007

Andrea said it in a nutshell. That's exactly the disadvantage if you work from home, you are available to all your friends either for a talk or a visit. Or at least that's what they think.
It's really hard to make them understand that you cannot go out for lunch WHILE you are working because you are...well, WORKING. The same goes with telephone calls. I am friendly but I always end up saying: "I am sorry but I really have to go on with my WORK."
Anyway... I am glad I am not the only one who gets upset about this.
If there is something in this profession that I find difficult to deal with is the misconceptions about working at home.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 04:00
English to Spanish
Oh, yes Aug 6, 2007

Elena Carbonell wrote:

That's exactly the disadvantage if you work from home, you are available to all your friends either for a talk or a visit. Or at least that's what they think.



I forgot unannounced visits


see me jumping with joy.


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mariana24  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 04:00
Spanish
+ ...
To Elena and Andrea Aug 7, 2007

I can absolutely identify with what you say and strongly believe it is subject for a whole different poll/forum topic.

It is unbelievable to see how even the closest people find it so hard to understand that because you are in front of a computer you are not chatting your life away or playing some game or just wasting time. It has taken me quite a while to "educate" my people at home about my working in the house. I don't think we can expect too much from people who phone. I will definitely start screening calls.

Also, I would like to share experiences on how freelancers working at home discipline themselves, manage their time, etc. Someone said that people expect one to be able to do anything at any time because we "only work from home" (suggesting we have no time frames at all). I am convinced that managing oneself is far more difficult than being managed by someone else. The whole load of the word "responsibility" falls on this way of working. Also very difficult for others to understand...

Cheers,

Mariana


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