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Do you work from home? Never done it before, should I try?

(21 Posts)
oysterpots Mon 13-Jul-09 11:33:07

I work 3 days a week in a fairly lively organisation, and DH often comments on how much I get out of this interaction.

Have seen a job I'm quite interested in applying for, but it's for a virtual organisation of 7 people, all of whom are home-based.

So my question to you home-workers is should I go for it? What do I need to consider? Do you get lonely? How do you discipline yourself?

babyOcho Mon 13-Jul-09 11:41:55

I work 3 days - 2 in the office and 1 at home. When DP goes away on business I work from home 3 days.

I like working at home as I get a lot of work done, as well as being able to do washing/wait in for deliveries and that kind of stuff.

I don't really miss the interaction, as when I worked full time with 4 days in the office I didnt tend to interact with others.

I have IM to my colleagues and I listen to the radio and dont particularly feel loney - but I was never into the interaction.

It is hard to discipline, esp when you know you have a big bag of Frazzles in the kitchen! I find that having a set routine works - we get up, get DD ready, have a shower, take her to daycare, come home make a cup of tea and toast, upstairs and start working. When the 10.30am news in on the radio I can go and make another cuppa...

How important to you is the interaction part?

I know that DP finds the distractions far too much for him and cannot work from home. And he loves the interaction.


thirtysomething Mon 13-Jul-09 11:42:42

I would think very carefully - depends on what kind of a person you are and how much social contact you'd have outside work?

Pros: great flexibility, can put washing on/make phone calls etc all as part of your working day; easier when DC off school ill/INSET days etc (though depends how well you can work with them in the house....); dentist/doctor appts easier etc; cheaper for clothes/starbucks/lunch budget; greener as no transportation/commuting cost etc

Cons: isolating if it's a no-meetings no phone calls type of job; you have to be very disciplined not to get distracted by house stuff; house inevitably a bit messier; can't ever get away from work as temptation to work evenings etc greater; need active social life to overcome isolation etc. oh and parents/friends who work out of the home will constantly fail to appreciate you are doing PROPER paid work and will think you can receive visitors/look after other kids at the drop of a hat.......

kapusta Mon 13-Jul-09 11:47:25

I would echo what thirtysomething said. Lots of pros but lots of cons too, particularly if you are someone who gets a lot out of work-based interaction.

I have worked at home for 8 years now and although I love what I do, I do often feel lonely and would love to see other people on a more regular basis. I also miss being able to say "Something really funny happened at work today" to DH over dinner. Nothing very funny ever happens when it's just you and your PC!

oysterpots Mon 13-Jul-09 12:02:24

Thanks for your replies, I had thought as much. I'm not sure whether I would be suited, but maybe it's worth thinking a bit more seriously about.

I never used to be the sort of person who liked being on their own, but since having DS I crave my own company!

lucykate Mon 13-Jul-09 12:06:03

i work from home, think the two most crucial areas to balance are the isolation, and discipline, it is so easy to get distracted at home, even when the house is empty, and before you know it, a whole morning has gone.

LaineyW Wed 15-Jul-09 14:23:39

I work from home and absolutely love it...

BUT, I have always been happy in my own company. Don't get me wrong, if I do happen to be in an office environment I'm very much a team player and love the banter (and occasional flirting!) but I like nothing better than to get DH and DDs off to work and school, sort the kitchen then head off upstairs into my own little domain. It helps enormously to have a separate room for your office too, I worked for years in my bedroom and that seemed to be harder somehow, probably the piles of ironing and unmade beds were putting me off!

Other pros: you're always in to take deliveries of parcels, you're always in if one of your children is ill at school and needs collecting, you're always in when they come home from school, you can fit in doctor and dentist appointments with ease and you can (if you're lucky) choose the time you do your work.

Other cons, even though you may be like me and enjoy your own company, it might not actually be good for you and you may turn into a hermit. Like me!

Good luck with your decision, it's not for everyone.

potplant Wed 15-Jul-09 14:37:15

My tip would be to treat it like going to a proper job right from the start and then you wont get distracted ie get dressed for work, start same time everyday, take lunch at same time and never put the TV on during the day.

cat64 Wed 15-Jul-09 14:59:51

Message withdrawn

flowerybeanbag Wed 15-Jul-09 15:07:34

I love it, but thinking about it a lot of the advantages for me aren't just about working from home, they are also about being my own boss, which it doesn't sound as though you would be.

Good things

Not having to take time off to deal with meter readers/plumbers/[insert other household problem of your choice]
Not having to traipse to the post office on Saturday mornings and queue to pick up parcels
Not having to commute (BIG plus imo)
Being able to multitask with housework, having a load of washing on while you work

For me as I have a nanny for DS, me being at home most of the time means I still see him, he pops in to tell me what he's been doing at playgroup or on his way to nappy changes, and I come down to get lunch and have a chat with him then. I obviously wouldn't get that if I worked in an office somewhere.

For me as I am my own boss, it means as long as I get the work done in time, I can decide to go to Sainsburys during the working day, take the dog out, or various other activities, and then work in the evening if I want to. Of course you may not have that flexibility.

Negatives are about interaction, but tbh I don't really find it bothers me. I talk to DS and his nanny everyday anyway, and DH on the phone even if I don't speak to clients. I also come on MN of course so get the mundane chatter about news items and sleb twaddle from here.

MissisBoot Wed 15-Jul-09 15:15:38

I work from home but am out in the field most days at meetings etc so really am only in my home office for a few hours a day - I'm also part of a team of 5 other people who are also home-based - we meet twice a month for face to face meetings and this really stops us from feeling isolated and reinforces the overall team and organisational team feeling.

I also make sure I speak to my colleagues a few times a week rather than emailing as its easy to go for a few weeks without speaking to some of them!

I love working from home - you do have to be strict with yourself, but once you get into a pattern its fine - I've also allocated my hours over each day and work a shorter day one day a week which means that I don't lose any annual leave if I book that day off.

Perhaps you could give them a call and ask how much face to face contact they have.

Re: costs - I get an allowance added to my pay to cover heating/electricity etc. They also provide all my equipment as well as a second phone line.

CMOTdibbler Wed 15-Jul-09 15:32:36

I'm a homebased worker (as is DH, for totally different companies). What makes it work for me is that I am not at home all the time - I travel quite a bit out to customer sites so get real interaction.

I am fortunate in that I work in an international team, so it suits them for me to do some late night work after DS is in bed, so I have a bit more time in the daytime should I want to do things.

Like Flowery, I treat MN as my coffee machine chit chat I would have in the office

HMRC have a home working allowance amount you can claim for heating etc. Work paid for my desk, filing cabinet etc when I transferred to home based, and pay for my phone and internet directly.

potplant Wed 15-Jul-09 15:40:31

Some other cons:

- Don't underestimate the importance of the social interaction of an office. Not just the day to day stuff but things like nights out. I had one Christmas do last year whereas DH had about 5, lads night out, team night out, section night out etc etc. I do feel a bit resentful sometimes. I make a big effort to up my social life to compensate.

- No long lunches mooching in the shops/pub & no after work drinks on a Friday

- I have no idea what is high street fashion

- Wearing jeans every day soon gets old

- People don't think you have a proper job

A big pro - as well as the ones mentioned I would also add zero office politics. I can't believe I ever signed up to a tea rota!!

It's not for everyone but the pros massively outweight the cons. Being able to take my DCs to school everyday makes it worth it.

flowerybeanbag Wed 15-Jul-09 19:35:05

You also need to be able to shut yourself away in a dedicated office or workspace as well I think, so that you can treat it more like a workplace that happens to be really handy rather than working at home iyswim?

I have an office I shut myself away in, there is no tv or anything similar in it, only work stuff. I don't answer the home phone while I am there either, only the work one.

I think I'd probably be hopeless if I had to perch on the dining room table or anything, although I know some people do.

cat64 Wed 15-Jul-09 20:00:28

Message withdrawn

Toots Fri 17-Jul-09 20:28:54

I love it. It suits me. I get lots of interaction by being friendly to people in shops and at school/childminders. Then come home and work. Wonder whether I find it easier because my work as a scriptwriter means I'm making imaginary people interact all the time. Although probably any work that's absorbing would have the same effect.

I think if you aren't excited and absorbed by the work you're doing, then the interaction requirement is probably higher.

slowreadingprogress Fri 17-Jul-09 20:38:54

what sort of work do you all do????

seems to be alot of homeworking going on...I'd love to!

Doodle2u Fri 17-Jul-09 20:41:20

Interesting - we're just advertising for a new member of staff and we're a virtual organisation of 7 people! shock

If you're aplying to us (think financial software), FGS mention Mumsnet and the job's yours! grin

Webme1 Wed 19-Aug-09 17:53:52

Working from home is not for everyone. If you are a social animal, unless your work from home job involves people coming to you or a lot of telephone contact, then it will probably be rather depressing and isolating.

Personally, I love it. I can start as early or as late as I want and finish as early or late as I want, taking breaks as I need, not when someone else tells me to. On days when I am raring to go and ideas are firing through my head I can be at my desk at 6 am. Other days I can start at 9 am. If I am 'on a roll' I do not need to stop just because someone says its clocking off time. If I need to go somewhere (dentist for example) I can schedule my workload accordingly.

No travel time, no interruptions, no office politics, no endless conversations about what people are having for tea (even if it does sound rather nice) or hearing about what happened on TV last night.

You have to be disciplined. You have to accept that work comes first. Harder still, you have to convince your friends and family that working from home does not mean available all day.

There is a danger when working from home that you can be tied to it (seemingly 24/7) so it is important to schedule other interests into your week. This keeps you fresh and motivated.

Working from home is wonderful if your work is your passion. However, with possibly no sick pay, no holiday pay, no true time off (when not at my desk, my mind is on things relating to work) it is a lifestyle choice not just a job.

If you are working for a firm, it is likely that you will have some interaction with them. Depending on their level of technology this can even mean video calls. However, it not be enough to sustain you. They may also dictate your hours and being virtual may not follow the standard 9 - 5 routine. I suggest you find out a bit more about their working practices. If they are worth working for, they should be open and able to give you enough information for you to be able to make an informed decision.

You will know when you are in the right job, because when you wake up in the morning you are looking forward to the work and be planning your day before you are even out of bed.

Good luck.

MrAnchovy Wed 19-Aug-09 20:20:08

??? is this resurrect dead thread week hmm

NetworkGuy Fri 21-Aug-09 10:33:06

LOL - maybe some people are working so hard at home they don't always look around the different sections, and only visit the Freelance bit once a fortnight/month!

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