So many questions on how to handle the commute! Since I chose to move to a different state, and my company chose to retain my services, my answers may differ from your reality. Bottom line for me: Be Fair in your requests. Telecommuting can benefit both the employee and the company, and works best when both of those are in balance. It costs the company to provide VPN servers, routers, have firewalls properly configured. It saves them money to free up desk space and reduce use of supplies. There has to be a break-even for them (my employer did the research and proved the cost savings, by the way).
How do you answer your phone? Hello, or the name of the company you work for? Do you have a separate phone line for your work? Who pays for the phone?
-- I pay for the phone, and can forward my work extension to any phone number I choose. Mostly I use the land line, but also use my cell phone. I answer it the same way I did in the office: "Hi, this is Steph". I can tell forwarded work calls, because my company's name shows on the caller id. Note: I answer personal calls with the same phrase...
You obviously need internet access to work from home. Who pays for that?
-- I do, since it benefits me, and I use it for non-work-related things (like personal email). I'd have it regardless of who I work for, so asking the company to pay for it would fall in the "not a reasonable request" category.
Do you create reports with proprietary information? How do you deliver that safely?
-- Not on the home computer (we have a policy on that, too). The whole point of the VPN is that I can log into my work computer; all deliverables like reports or proposals are stored on the internal company network.
If you need office supplies (i.e., paper, toner) can you expense that?
-- Again, falls in the "not a reasonable request" category. Besides, how often do I need to print something? I email documents or links to documents to my associates. I only print something if I feel a great need to pull out a red pen and do editing mark-ups, and that is very rare these days.
How do you use your interoffice mail system when working from home?
-- see comments about paper, above!:-P
Do you need to fax documents? Do you have a fax machine at home?
-- No fax. I have a printer/scanner for the few times I need to scan and email a signature. I did follow up by mailing the actual signature page of the document; cost me the price of a stamp; that's pocket change.
If you need a computer repair, will the tech visit your home?
-- the home computer is mine, so I take care of any repair issues. For the work computer in the office, yes a tech visits it if needed (veeeery rare that it needs anything)
How do you do mark-ups?
-- I use MS-Word. Take a screen shot, for instance, insert it into Word, and use the drawing tools. Alternatively, print a document / screen shot / whatever, mark it up (red pen! :w00t:), scan and email it. The office copiers are also scanners, so my co-workers can do the same thing. For meetings, there are any number of meeting softwares out there that have drawing tools; you can usually transfer control of the meeting to any attendee, and often can transfer control of keyboard and mouse (say, for remote XP coding exercises). My company has web conferencing as part of the VoIP telephone package.
Here there be dragons...,