What's your problem?

I'm renovating my house. It's a major job, and I can't help making and receiving phone calls from builders, electricians, plumbers, decorators and so on while I'm at work. I'm keeping these sessions to a minimum, but my boss has put her foot down and forbidden calls except at lunchtime.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

 It's proving unworkable - the builders and other workmen need to call when things come up, and sometimes I need to call them at random times. How can I talk my boss round without causing bad feeling?

A I'm not as immediately sympathetic as you may have hoped. I imagine you work in open-plan space - so it won't be the fact of making and taking calls that's driven your boss to give you this ultimatum; it's the distraction you're causing to others around you. Being forced to overhear other people's private telephone conversations is a real test of tolerance - and most of us fail it. Think trains.

So in the unlikely circumstances of you not having a mobile phone, get one right away. Instruct your army of confused artisans to use only your mobile number and to leave voicemail messages when you don't answer. Come lunchtime, call them all back. For real emergencies, take your mobile to the loo.

Jeremy Bullmore has been creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London and a non-executive director of both the Guardian Media Group and WPP.

Address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@mtmagazine.co.uk. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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