if you have to do frequent face time with the home office - and most telecommuters say that's a good idea - try to live near an airport that has direct flights to the home office's airport.

have an office at home with a door you can shut at the end of the day. even if you have the house to yourself during busi- ness hours, you'll hate spending the evening within the same four walls you've been working in all day.

if your company doesn't pay for state-of-the-art equipment, be prepared to invest in your own if it makes you more connected. get broadband e-mail access, for instance, and a pager or cell phone. and make sure your office phone has a mute button, especially if you own a dog.

be aware that some of your colleagues are going to resent your freedom. don't brag about the parrots flying over your tropical beach house to someone stuck in a cubicle in manhattan.

- g.

tips for managers

there are plenty of reasons to let certain employees work at home, says consultant gil gordon. but the fact that "it's trendy and technologically possible are not reasons to rush in. it should be a business solution to a business problem." here are three good reasons to green-light ahead:

recruitment and retention of personnel
"it's a leg up in the labor market if a trusted employee wants to relocate because a spouse has been transferred, or if you're in chicago and the best candidate is in phoenix. in such cases, telecommuting isn't about being family-friendly; it's in the selfish
interests of management."

"you know how they say a hospital is a terrible place to get well? the distractions of an office can make it a terrible place to get work done. letting people work at home even a few days a week can boost performance."

customer service
"you can provide more con-sistent customer service, especially if you want to operate across multiple time zones, using home workers in jobs like taking reservations or orders."