My cold has only gotten worse, but since I've been out for two weeks I really can't afford to miss a day of work. So, I asked my boss if I could work from home today. He gave me the OK, so here I am on my lunch break in my pajamas on my couch, but I get the feeling that people assume "working from home" means slacking off and not actually doing work. In reality, both times I've asked to work from home, it's been because I was extremely backlogged on the kind of work that's really hard to get done in an office setting, such as reading stacks of development and market reviews, or hand-proofing a manuscript. Neither of these activities requires me (or anyone else) to be physically located in an office. In fact, being in an office makes it a lot harder to devote the kind of concentration these tasks require for a long period of time; sitting in a thin-walled cubicle in a high-traffic part of the office with constant interruption by co-workers makes it hard to pay attention to anything longer than an email. Here at home, it's quiet (comparably), and I can read through a stack of reviews in a couple of hours. I can also listen to music as I work without having to worry about annoying the person on the other side of the cube, or having to wear headphones all day. Although I'm not important enough for a company laptop, I can check my email from my home computer, and work on creating or editing documents (which I send a lot of time doing in the office).
I have my annual evaluation coming up, and I'd like to ask my boss for permission to have the option of working from home once a month so that I can stay on top of this kind of work. I'm not sure how to broach the subject, though; I don't want him to think I'm try to get a free day off every month.
I'm kind of surprised my company doesn't already offer some kind of alternative work week, like a 4-day work week, or giving employees the option to work from home one day per week. I think it would save a lot of money and raise morale, which has been pretty low lately.