What's new is the at-home setting and the increasing importance of the Internet. A lot of Roitz's workday is spent online, where he's in charge of the company's telework Web site. At one time, Roitz was remotely supervising a dozen people in different parts of the country: "I currently supervise one employee in a virtual office; my boss is in a virtual office; and my vice-president is virtual most of the time, too," he notes. "What makes it possible is that we're all wired." He has three office phone lines - one voice, one data, and one that serves as fax plus voice backup - and he estimates that he sends about 75 e-mails a day, plus phone calls, conference calls, and occasional instant messaging.

Roitz usually works from seven in the morning until four in the afternoon. His wife works at home occasionally, too, and he notes that one of the great pluses of the telecommuting life is that time normally wasted on freeways and subways can be spent on family life. But "I'm not Mister Mom, and working at home is no substitute for day care," Roitz adds. "I draw firm boundaries between work and personal. I don't answer the home phone while I'm at work, although I do answer the door, because it's normally FedEx. I optimize my time at work. The kids are at school, and it's totally silent and conducive to thought. I think people are looking for serenity in the storm - today's business offices are chaotic and noisy." Still, it's sometimes hard to shut the office door at the end of the day, Roitz finds. "One of the things about working at home is that it's easy to check that Monday morning e-mail on a Sunday night."

SUSANNE KIRK:
The Knowledge Worker

Susanne Kirk knew she had a home/work bleed-over problem the day she fran-tically searched high and low for the manuscript of the upcoming mystery novel Don't Cry for Me, Hot Pastrami by Sharon Kahn. It seems that her cat Callie likes pastrami, too - and had turned the nicely padded Airborne Express envelope that the manuscript had arrived in into a comfy kitty bed.