Return to Work - Working from home 1-2 days a week?(42 Posts)
I'm returning to work in June, my LO will be 4 months old.
I have to return to work full time this early because we can't afford me reducing my hours. I want to ask to work from home 1 or 2 days a week in order to reduce our childcare costs (we don't have any family around, so for us the only option would be full-time childcare).
Has anybody done this and has it worked for you?
I read some companies will only accept homeworking if childcare has been arranged, but what is the point then?
Glad you've resolved it. I have to agree with all those who have said that of course you can't give your employers a full day's work and look after a baby - pretty unbelievable that anyone who actually has a baby could suggest this at all.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I spoke to my boss this week, and luckily they are very flexible and supportive. I will work an hour extra 4 days a week, and 1 day a week I can do the remaining 3.5 hours from home: 1 hour early in the morning, and then 2.5hrs after 5pm as that suits the business (I work mainly with the US, west coast, so the time difference works in my favour). I told them the reason I wanted to be at home one day was to save a bit on childcare, and they are fine with that.
Obviously this is the scenario for when both OH and myself are working FT; while he isn't working he will be a SAHD.
Mandy21 - thanks for the advice. Yes, I noticed nurseries have a preferential weekly rate but when doing our calculations, it was still worth it having 4 days rather than 5. But I'll double-check.
Starfish - I am in London too, in Chiswick. Yes, I'm going to check childminders as well, although I find it a bit overwhelming as there are lots in the Council directory and I'm not sure how to "chose" one. But that's another story..
OP Its a difficult situation but its manically hard and whilst you have a content, sleepy 2-3 month old now, in the nicest possible way you have no idea what's coming with a crawling baby or a toddler. You'll be amazed at how quickly they can up the stairs, pull something over, eat the spider thats crossing the carpet.... you really can't be taking your eyeys off them for a second. Thats the voice of experience . I've also (in later years) been at home with a poorly toddler, still taken that really important call from a client only to hear (and the client to hear too ) shouts to come and wipe a bottom! I think it just ends up undermining your professional credibility and your self esteem really.
Have a look at nursery costs for 4 days as opposed to 5 - you don't generally save that much by going to 4 days (I mean you might pay 4 x daily rate for 4 days, but you get a preferential weekly rate if you do all 5). I think using your DH and then compressed hours is an option, but just check the finances carefully.
We paid £55 a day for a fabulous childminder/mini nursery in south London so you should be able to do it for around that. £80 is steep and approaching nanny rates.
Don't forget that the cost, while significant, for childcare is a temporary thing. It gets much cheaper when you get the 15 hour funding come through and then they start school etc... I know it seems like a massive outlay now and it is, but if you can find a way to make it work in the short term, in the long term it will get more manageable financially and you'll have kept your career going. If you get it right now, your employer might be more willing to explore flexible options with you in the future when you have term times to deal with, e.g. 5 days a week termtime, 3 days compressed during holidays.. just something to think about.
It's never simple but you'll figure it out.
Have you looked at the cost of a childminder? It should be less than £80 a day, even in London where I know childcare is more expensive.
Thanks for all your feedback.
I'm going to suggest compressed times- working 8am to 6.30pm 4 days and then have one day at home not working, but i will reassure work that i'll still be available on Blackberry for any emergencies on the day I'm not in the office- im happy with that. This would save us 1 day nursery a week when my OH goes to work full time.
I have no family around (they're all abroad) and OH's family isn't in London so yeah...tricky. But well, we'll find a solution.
OP, three words: don't do it!
I worked from home one day a week, with a similar-aged baby to yours, for similar reasons to yours. It was absolutely hideous.
Some of the downsides have been covered here, but here are others:
1. You'll feel like a crap mum: for having work on your mind and trying to get work done when your baby/toddler wants or needs your attention. Closing the door on my sobbing child and running downstairs to take an important call from a client without background baby noise has not been a highlight of my mothering career, put it that way.
2. You'll feel like a crap employee: for looking after your child during hours when you could be working.
3. Resentment from other members of the team - even when it isn't justified. I would get up at 5 to work until the baby awoke, work through naps and work after the baby's bedtime. So one way or another, I put in my hours. But that didn't stop other team members being resentful and making comments about how I "wasn't really working".
In conclusion: it's tiring, stressful, depressing and you'll get a lot of crap for it. Avoid if poss.
Your employer is paying you to work, not to look after your child. It's not fair on your colleagues if you are expecting them to pick up the slack while you 'work at home'. I had a colleague who claimed to work at home while looking after her baby. When her manager asked to account for her time on those days she claimed she'd spent the entire day clearing out her deleted items. She was asked to leave shortly afterwards.
My gosh... I do have to say - reading this and listening to my MIL, I have to say my mother got off lightly with me and my brother. We managed to occupy ourselves with stuff pretty early on, and hardly needed attention.
Is there really no family around or are they just too far (and you could move)?
When I first went back to work DH was on gardening leave, he looked after the baby for a month, then when he got a job we arranged a nursery place, which we could afford because of the extra salary. Sadly childcare will take a big chunk out of your family income, whether that be due to a reduced salary or nursery or childminder. Local surestart centres usually have a list of childminders and they do work out cheaper than nursery places. Childcare vouchers are offered by lots of companies, you buy the vouchers out of your pre-tax salary and use them for childcare, so you gain the 20% you would have paid in tax on that income. Also make sure that you are getting your entitlement to Child Tax Credits.
If I was in your situation I would have my DH as my childcare plan and then plan childcare around both your jobs when he is back in work, I wouldn't try to fund lots of childcare on one salary - maybe a day a week so he can focus on job search if you can afford it.
I work from home, the advantage is that I can put my ds in a local playgroup rather than nursery - he does 9-12 one day and 9-3 another and I do a days work between those days. That only works because he is 2 though, when he was younger I worked 3 days a week and had him in nursery.
In fairness the OP is not intentionally trying to rip off her company. This is her PFB and the baby is 2-3 months old. She has no actual frame of reference to know what trying to work with a baby and/or small child to look after is actually like. And I suspect has never really considered the details involved in her colleagues' arrangements that allow them to work from home part time.
I do think a mother's help (to use the outdated term) is a good idea as it's relatively low cost childcare because one or both parents are also on site and available to lend a hand/make a decision. However, as the DH is the one currently out of work I do think he should be considering his best options to support the OP in her return to f-t work.
Sorry, but you are trying to 'rip your company off'. If you are being paid to work for them, you cannot be childminding at the same time. Whether you see it that way or not at the moment, with a 4 month old, you will hopefully get it once the baby becomes mobile.
I have worked for several flexible family friendly companies, and they have ALL insisted on you having adequate childcare arrangements if you want to home work. They have accepted occasional emergency situations with sick kids being at home but the norm is that someone else is looking after the child/ren.
I would be very surprised if that wasn't laid out in the contractual arrangement.
Switching to evening work so your DP can look after the child sounds like a plan.
Or, if you can't afford full time childcare, you could go part time.
IME it just doesn't work. I tried working from home (self employed at that time) with a very young baby and it was hideous.
I could either ignore my work or ignore my child. I couldn't do either role properly. Hugely stressful and a complete disaster for me.
'I read some companies will only accept homeworking if childcare has been arranged, but what is the point then?'
Because they are paying you to work, not look after your child.
Your DH is not working just now. So why can't he be a SAHP and then you don't have childcare issues at all?
[...] "People like you do genuine work at home workers no favours at all"... Okay... . A bit annoyed by this sort of comment as I'm not trying to rip my employer off, or be a lazy cow the day I work from home if I'm allowed to. I genuinely work hard too. I'm only trying to find a solution to my situation. I also know that baby will grow and will require more attention/time, so in the future I will need a different plan.
Every employer/circumstance is different. I'm lucky I work for a flexible company, and I will get to an arrangement - whether it's a day from home or switching some of my working hours to the evenings, or whatever...
I just wanted to hear other people's opinions on this - which I have! So thank you all.
ROFL. Once your child is crawling there is no way you can work from home without childcare - they need constant attention from crawling through the toddler years except when they are asleep (and my DS is NOT a sleeper).
Do you have space for an au pair? They could look after your DC for the 2 days of working from home. Alternatively, could you work from home on a Saturday while your DH looks after the baby that day? My DH and I do this; I work Tuesday to Saturday and he works Monday to Friday to cover the day DS is not at nursery. But we have particularly flexible jobs.
I work partially from home. Whereas I possibly, possibly could manage it on a very p/t basis during slow periods with a 4 month old on my arm, there is no way I could give both my work and child sufficient attention from crawling onwards. Honestly, you need real childcare.
What everyone else said. There is no way you can devote as much time and energy to your job while looking after a baby as you did when in the office 100% focused on the job only.
The "point" of home working for most parents is reducing commute/being able to do school run, that type of thing.
Attempting to do a full time job while looking after a baby is no good for you, no good for your employer and no good for your baby either.
Looking after a child is a full time job ask any nanny childminder or sahm.
Why do you think people employ them if its possible to do both?
people like you do genuine work at home workers no favours at all.
You can't work at home and look after a baby.
I am a student. During the day (when I would have been expected to be interacting with collegues/clients when I worked) I get maybe 90 minutes of work done, maximum. All in the midafternoon. I then get more done after DS is in bed, until I'm too exhausted to continue.
DH did work as you propose, but only because we had a complete childcare emergency and his work agreed he could work take 1 day off and work 1 from home and juggle a full day's worth of work across them. But he went to them with the attitude that this wasn't how we planned things and could they please help us out for a month. It was exhausting and stressful, we hardly spoke because we were always looking after DS or both working.
Anyway, you will need your DH to earn more than the childcare+commuting costs on every day he plans to be out of the house. Planning to work and care for a baby is infeasible, especially once they start moving.
Also do't forget about workplace childcare voucher schemes. This may ease the cost issue.
I work from home without childcare - difference is mine are at school and in the holidays are old enough to entertain / feed / toilet themselves (9 and 14).
How can you do an audio conference with a baby screaming in the background? Would you be happy to leave the baby to wait for their feed / in a poo filled nappy etc? What about when they get older and will not just lie there, but want to be up and exploring?
Mine are old enough to know to be quiet if I am on the phone and don't interrupt me unless it is urgent, a baby / toddler cannot and will not do that. I really think you will find it hard to justify working from home without childcare.
Whattrillz and tribpot said. You are doing no favours to those of us who genuinely work ftom home. You cannot claim to be working while supervising a baby, crawler, toddler.....
Your DH can do it short term, but what you suggest is not a long term option. If you tried to use that set up, your flexible working request will get laughed at by HR and validly so. You would be providing them with a genuine business reason for why you are not a candidate for home working.
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