Workplace blogs

Home Office Lingo

Looking for a HOBO?

One of the necessities of mastering a new profession is learning the inside lingo. Using these newfound terms in your business conversations lets the rest of the world know thatdog-and-books-33514622

A): they are a little (or a lot) different from you

B): you really do know what you are talking about.

So in my ongoing effort to be helpful, I’ve compiled a list of some of the terms that any new home based business person needs to master if they are truly going to be “in the know”.

Dress Down Day – any day falling between Monday and the following Saturday (unless you plan on seeing any actual clients).

Fridge magnet – something the fridge will become to you more and more as the day progresses.

Hard drive – either a computer term or something you no longer have to worry about each morning in the winter.

Home Business Development Fund – your personal bank account and any proceeds from your most recent trip to the bottle depot.

HBO – Home Business Organization OR a minor television distraction during the day

HOBO – Home Office Business Opportunity, as in “Hey Frank, I’ve got a terrific HOBO you should look into.”

Home Office Commute – the travel required to get from your bedroom to the office downstairs.

– short for “home office envy”, something those regular 9-5, commuting, office-drones you used to work with suffer from.

HOE-mail – e-mail sent to your home office.

Home Office Rage – a recent entry into our lexicon, referring to what happens when you discover your child’s pet gerbil has chewed through your new computer’s wires.

Informatics Department/Technical Support Staff – your teenager (see also Slave Labor).

Mobile Home Office (MHO) – this refers to those home based business folks that don’t really have the room for an actual office and must therefore move their work around the home from the kitchen, to the dining room, to the laundry room, then eventually to the garage, in a continual effort to find some work space devoid of other people. (Alternatively, this refers to people actually starting a business out of their mobile home).

Overtime – no such term exists in the home office dictionary (see also vacation pay, sick leave) Regular Business Hours – for the home office worker this generally refers to any time between 4:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. the following morning. Often misused with clients in the following context: “Why don’t you give me a shout during regular business hours?”

Satellite Office
– the neighborhood coffee shop.

Slave Labor – something your teenager will repeatedly accuse you of using (see Informatics Department, Support Staff).

Support Staff
– when you hear this term from fellow home office colleagues, they are of course referring to their spouse, children, the family dog and in some instances, in-laws that have overstayed their welcome.

Telephone-Echo – a phenomenon unique to the home-base worker, occurring when someone calls you on your cordless phone while in the washroom and the caller wonders why there is such an echo on the line.

Virtual Office
– similar to the mobile home office, though even less well defined and limited to wherever you can find the space to put your lap top computer down.

Water Cooler Withdrawal
– a common affliction affecting new home office workers, symptoms include frequent trips to the fridge and numerous phone calls to Bob in accounting from your old job to talk about sports, television, or the latest Dilbert Cartoon.

Windows 2000 – the number of times you’ll longingly gaze out of your windows on a day when the weather is nice.

I hope this helps (I like being helpful). If you have any suggestions for terms I’ve overlooked please e-mail me at Now I must be off, someone just came into my HMO with a HOBO I just can’t resist.

Copyright Michael Kerr. Michael Kerr is a Hall of Fame international business speaker, very funny motivational speaker, trainer, and author of six books, including Inspiring Workplaces and The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank.



Copyright © 2018, Michael Kerr. All rights reserved.
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