Wed 2 Apr 2014
Phil is in his 30's and married with two children aged 3 & 6. He has been homeworking for 2 months and is not sure that he enjoys it.
Case Study written in 2000
- Q. Where do you work at home?
- A. Spare room.
- Q. Do you manage to keep your work and home life separate?
- A. My wife & I still use a child minder for the children when they are not at school/nursery. Luckily I am not so busy that I cannot do all my work whilst they are out of the house. Therefore I have plenty of time for them when they need it.
- Q. What is the best thing about working from home?
- A. Being able to take the kids to school and take odd hours out to do other things, like a bit of Christmas shopping, a bit of DIY etc.
- Q. What are the negative points about working at home?
- A. I miss interaction with other people, chats by the coffee machine, banter. I eat too much by snacking too often! I was very senior at my last office job, but feel less so now.
- Q. How do you cope with the isolation of working at home?
- A. I take no specific action. I still play football in the evenings once per week and we have an active social life, but I do miss the office situation and meeting with/chatting with other professionals.
- Q. Does your homeworking pay the bills?
- A. Yes.
- Q. How did you manage financially when you first started working at home?
- A. Luckily the contract I now have is quite lucrative. My wife works, but could not cover our living/mortgage costs on her own.
- Q. What sort of work did you do before you worked at home?
- A. Software Project Manager.
- Q. What was the deciding factor to help you to decide to work from home?
- A. Practicality. I live in Leeds and liaise with software companies in Halifax and Sheffield. The parent company who pay my wages are in Hemel Hempstead, so I stay at home and work through phone and e-mail.
- Q. How do you manage your time?
- A. I have a bit of a routine of: take the kids to school, tidy up a bit and then check emails. Much of my work arises from these.
- Q. How do you cope with distractions at home?
- A. Not as well as I'd like! I snack more, and listen to the radio as I make coffee. I also spend some time reading the paper. If I had a more intensive work programme, I would likely find it easier to deal with distractions. Time seems to fly when you're busy.
- Q. What advice would you suggest to someone considering working from home?
- A. I find I can't work and look after the children at the same time - it's not fair on them as they understandably are curious as to what I'm doing and want my attention. To do real work, they need to be at school, or the childminder, or with your partner etc. Have a cut-off time in the evening after which you don't do any more work - time for yourself and your partner. It's too easy to do little bits here and there at odd hours anytime. I try to get the bulk of my work out of the way in the mornings.
- Q. Does homeworking suit you?
- A. I don't think I'm a typical home worker! I think the ideal for me would be to work from home maybe one or two days per week, and still then have the office contact.