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"Working from home"

(67 Posts)
TrillianAstra Fri 09-Sep-11 13:11:28

Inspired by this thread.

If someone is working from home (by which I mean that they generally work in an office and sometimes work from home, not that their entire job is at home), do you think it is possible for them to do so with children in the house?

Does it depend on the age of the child(ren)?

If you worked from home on Tuesdays, for example, would you get childcare, or try to work while looking after children?

If your colleague worked from home on Tuesdays would you expect them to do as much work as they would if they were in the office?

How would you feel if someone said they were "working from home" but you heard children in the background of a call, and they were extremely slow in responding to emails?

CMOTdibbler Fri 09-Sep-11 13:15:47

I work from home ft - I am expected to have childcare in place, and pretty much to be at my home desk just as I would an in office desk.

Maybe once ds is 8 or so and can be relied on to amuse himself, he could be in the house after school

I get v v annoyed when people think that working from home means skiving

newbroom Fri 09-Sep-11 13:17:53

If someone is working from home (by which I mean that they generally work in an office and sometimes work from home, not that their entire job is at home), do you think it is possible for them to do so with children in the house? No, unless the children are old enough to essentially look after themselves (secondary school age?)

Does it depend on the age of the child(ren)? as above

If you worked from home on Tuesdays, for example, would you get childcare, or try to work while looking after children? childcare definitely

If your colleague worked from home on Tuesdays would you expect them to do as much work as they would if they were in the office? yes

How would you feel if someone said they were "working from home" but you heard children in the background of a call, and they were extremely slow in responding to emails? angry and hmm

HTH grin

whatkatydidathome Fri 09-Sep-11 13:19:54

I work from home with children in the house - usually they are amusing themselves (6,9,11) but I'm there is there is a crisis.

I'm paid for what I do/produce/to do a job; not to work set hours so if I need to spend more time with the children during the day/early evening then I end up working all late evening and into the early hours after they have gone to bed.

flowery Fri 09-Sep-11 13:20:14

There are two types of working from home ime.

There's working from home, which cannot be done with children and should involve as much if not more work being done as is in the office, with childcare in place for children.

And there's 'working' from home, which involves doing nothing of the sort, looking after children/having a lie-in or getting your hair done if no children, answering the odd email.

Of course most people who work from home genuinely do so, but the second version also happens a lot, giving workers as opposed to 'workers' from home a bad name.

inmysparetime Fri 09-Sep-11 13:21:14

My DH works from home if only one of the DCs is home e.g. Inset days, but not both. My DCs are 9 and 7, and play outside with neighbours for most of the day, coming in for meals and drinks. DH says he gets a little less done, but mostly because it's harder focusing with home comforts around, and the little conversations in the office are harder to conduct via email and phone.

MrsWobble Fri 09-Sep-11 13:23:54

i won't approve flexible working requests to work from home unless childcare arrangements are in place to cover the entire working hours as i don't think it's realistic to expect to work at full capacity and look after children at the same time. having said that, when people need to work from home to cover eg nanny illness then it seems sensible to accommodate this and it's only usually a day or two and i've never had anyone misuse this flexibility.

TrillianAstra Fri 09-Sep-11 13:32:11

Good point about expectations of "work" katy (did you know those books are free on Kindle btw?), if what you do is easily measured and there is a very set expectation of output then you either get it done or you don't.

TrillianAstra Fri 09-Sep-11 13:34:05

So the law says that people with children are allowed to request flexible working arrangements, and your employers have to consider it, is that right?

Don't you think that everyone should be allowed to request it and have it considered?

BeattieBow Fri 09-Sep-11 13:43:32

I work from home and have childcare in place for my dcs. My ds is around some of the day (with an au pair) but I do find it difficult with him there. My ds will always feel the need to shout at me when my boss or another director phones me. (of course). I'm flexible though and go into work on my working from home days if I need to/have meetings etc. All in all, I'm more likely to do extra hours when I'm at home because I'm uninterrupted by meetings or by colleagues and feel the need to prove myself more.

I also "work from home" on days like when the school was closed for elections, when it was closed for snow, when a child is ill. I still have my au pair to help me out though and I only do this if the au pair can't do the whole day for me.

LiegeAndLief Fri 09-Sep-11 13:45:22

I have a 2yo at home full time and a 5yo at school. I work mainly from home and get paid by the hour, so I often check my e-mails/do short replies during the day, but there is no way I could work properly with the 2yo around. I do the bulk of my work in the evenings and just add on 15min or so to my timesheet for the e-mail checking earlier.

My manager is aware of this and is happy for me to work like this, but pretty much everyone else in my company is office based.

adamschic Fri 09-Sep-11 13:51:19

I have had jobs where I have worked from home from time to time when mine was little. It was actually working from home as I has to produce accounts and I found it really difficult with a little one so usually did the work when she was in bed, even worse.

The place that I work from now has a few people working from home but this just means checking emails and doing f all work imo. People seem to think that if you are available to look at work emails from home you are working hmm.

TrillianAstra Fri 09-Sep-11 13:59:40

I could be available to look at work emails in the pub - lots of pubs near me have wifi smile

Woodlands Fri 09-Sep-11 14:03:44

I mainly work from home but I have childcare in place for my 13-month-old. He is at nursery for some of the time and my mum looks after him one day a week (at my house). This can be tricky as he knows I'm there, but it's good because I don't mind him playing round my feet so long as I'm not in charge/don't have to chase after him when he wanders off. She takes him to a playgroup for some of the time, and he sleeps for some of the time, so it's not actually much of the time I'm working that he's around.

Woodlands Fri 09-Sep-11 14:05:52

I used to be an au pair for a family where the mother worked from home and didn't like to be disturbed while working, and that was really hard - every time the kids argued, or hurt themselves, they just wanted their mum and it was a real struggle to stop them going to her. I found it much easier when she was out.

cat64 Fri 09-Sep-11 14:15:43

Message withdrawn

Pancakeflipper Fri 09-Sep-11 14:22:57

My employer allows me to work from home for about 5 hrs a week. They do not expect my kids to be around whilst I am working. I am even allowed to do this in the evening. When the kids are in bed. But not when I am looking after the kids.

I have a toddler and I cannot work with him charging around in his lively manner. It wouldn't be fair on my child or my employer.

TeaMakesItBetter Fri 09-Sep-11 14:48:37

I just returned to work and WFH two days a week. I have FT childcare in place so the baby isn't with me whilst I'm working and do work harder at home than in the office because a) it's a privilidge I don't want to lose, b) there are far fewer distractions.

There's no one else to do my work so it would be really only to my own detriment if I didn't do the work and would be really obvious if I didn't do it as there's no one else to pick up the slack, WFH means I save 2.5 hours each day on commute, don't have to leave work early/start late to pick up/drop off the baby and can keep on top of things in house. Everyone wins.

It does work well for me as I'm the ultimate multitasker. Today, when I would otherwise have been on a train, I washed and sterilised bottles, bleached the sink, dusted downstairs, got myself and baby up, dressed and fed and logged on early to check emails and plan my working day. When I got back from dropping him off I whizzed round and changed his bed, made mine, chucked a load of washing in and made the bottles up. A friend visited me at 10 which I took as my lunch time. Right now I am on a conf call, typing this, eating cereal and I just got the washing out. I can guarantee half the people in my office right now are looking at You Tube.

TeaMakesItBetter Fri 09-Sep-11 14:54:04

Should also add, my employer was happy for me to WFH on the days my baby has so far been sick. I did actually get a good amount of work done and certainly was able to state that I had worked from home not "worked from home."

noviceoftheday Fri 09-Sep-11 15:06:18

I work from home twice a week and have my nanny there. I am pretty much locked in the office the whole day and spend most of it either reviewing work or on calls, The advantages are that I get to have both lunch and tea/supper with dd plus play with her for an hour in morning and in evening.

I am keen to promote working from home within my team as I think it makes it easier for women in particular to return to work and to remain ambitious rather than taking the slower career track. Having said that, 2 of the 4 flexi working requests I approved were from men. Like someone else said, I don't approve the requests without demonstrable reliable childcare provisions in place.

I didn't post on the other thread but was annoyed because presenteeism is so prevalent in the City and is one of the reasons why many women don't progress after they have children. Men usually are the ones who think if you're not there then you're not working and its important that women are supportive of each other to make the necessary breakthroughs.

Having said that, with the cost of rentals in the City and other places, I thinking working at home is going to be the way a lot of organisations go to cut costs and I am already seeing this happen. Maybe this might break the association that working at home equals doing nothing.

hairylights Fri 09-Sep-11 15:48:54

I have had this question in work this week. The answer is no, if you are caring for a child (of any age) you cannot also be working. It's called skiving or trying to get away with time off for dependents.

lateatwork Fri 09-Sep-11 17:23:13

My DD is nearly 3. There is no way that I could work and have her at home without childcare in place. Well... I could if I put on back to back dvds of Mr Tumble and Peppa Pig!! I expect to do as much WFH as I do when office based. The big plus for WFH is no commute. The big plus for office based is the colleague interaction face to face. So for me a balance is good. I have had no problems in the past allowing WFH for my team- male or female, with or without children...

AlwaysRocking Fri 09-Sep-11 17:35:45

My dd is only 4 mo and I am doing a mix of going into work while mum babysits and work from home. However the work I do from home is either when my mum is around to look after dd, during her longer naps or after she is down for the night, so I can concentrate. I imagine it would be more difficult with a toddler who was napping less, and i expect to have to use nursery at some point when things change.

AlwaysRocking Fri 09-Sep-11 17:37:31

Should add it also helps that I don't have fixed working hours, as long as the work gets done my boss doesn't mind when it was done.

turkeyboots Fri 09-Sep-11 17:56:35

My work won't allow wfh if you don't have childcare for under 16s. But dependant eldery people are ok, so most common home workers are those with granny at home.

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