Work • Life • Recreation • Relaxation

Tue 24 Apr 2018

Introduction is the website for people who either work at home, or work from home.

If you are looking for help doing your school homework, then try the BBC Bitesize site.

After a year's break, the site is reinventing itself, and planning to offer:

  • Useful articles
  • Jobs
  • Book and website reviews
  • A forum
  • Case studies

It will take time to develop the site, so please bare with us.

Homeworking Jobs

Jobs from Indeed

Press coverage

  • 8 Aug 1999 BBC Breakfast TV
  • 8 Nov 1999 The Scotsman
  • 14 Feb 2000 The Times
  • 7 Mar 2000 Palm Beach Post
  • 9 Sep 2003 Guardian
  • 10 Apr 2004 Telegraph
  • 16 Nov 2006 Independent
  • 9 Feb 2011 Guardian

Also: Sky Digital Money

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Tina is in her late 30's; is married and has two boys (4 and 7) and two cats. She runs Colinade Associates Ltd.

Case Study written in 1999

Q. What do you do?
A. I do two complimentary jobs. Primarily, I write software but I am also a Technical Author specialising in software documentation.
The software I write is mostly real time, in C or C++, I have loads of experience in the Telecommunications industry. Recently, I have been doing a bit of database work customising the basic PC Office package for small start up businesses. I have written handbooks and user guides for such diverse systems as Transatlantic Telecommunications software (8-10cm thick tomes), a Quality Control System for the Paper Industry and a 'How to get the [program] running on your PC' guide which included how to switch on the PC !!!
Q. Where do you work at home?
A. I have a small area 5 foot square in our smallest bedroom/junk room. Its warm but very cramped. Its my dream to earn enough to buy a house with enough rooms for me to have a room to myself and the boys not to have to share.
Q. Do you manage to keep your work and home life separate?
A. This is the hard bit - the job I do involves concentration and few interruptions. I can only work when the boys are at school or in bed. As they get older I think they will be able to cope with me disappearing to work in the office a little more.
I also have problems with getting the family to answer the telephone in a professional way - my husband is okay but the boys still run to answer it and often an agent or client gets the rapid fire "Hello who is it?" the answer to which is usually ignored. Then they shout into the phone "MUM, IT's FOR YOU, I DONT KNOW WHO IT IS" after which any pretence of a professional image has gone.
Q. What is the best thing about working from home?
A. I have control over how and when I work. The only proviso being that it must all get done and be seen to have been done. I have found that a certain amount of mistrust evident in some of the organisations that I have worked for.
Its also really lovely to be able to literally nip out to the school to see an assembly or play without losing a whole morning or afternoons' work. When I am proof reading a document that I have spent ages writing I love to play music really loud. I haven't found an office yet that I could do that in, except my own. Luckily my next-door neighbour is deaf.
Q. What are the negative points about working at home?
A. Getting forgotten and missed off work/social events. My partner assuming that I haven't had a busy/stressful day because I have been at home....
Q. What was the deciding factor to help you to decide to work from home?
A. I worked on a job in Cambridge (45 mins drive from home) for a year and a half. It was enough to convince me that I couldn't cope with a full time job and children. In fact since I have been at home more and available to do the usual mum'sy things, friends home after school, swimming lessons, etc., the boys have seemed to be much happier and better behaved too.
Q. How do you cope with the isolation of working at home?
A. There are bad days in every job. This job is possibly the hardest in that you can't simply have a good moan at the coffee area/kitchen. I have people who I can Email and 'chat' to. Also I may, depending upon the job I am working on, call up the office for a social call. This does mean that you can be stopping someone else working and has to be done carefully. If I'm desperate I can pop round to my neighbours or even my in-laws for a bit of human contact. In reality though, that sort of day is very rare.
The other way of coping is to have a good social life. I swim once a week with a girl friend, we host a board games evening once a week and I am Captain of a badminton team playing about once a fortnight. I also manage to go circuit training once a week. We are also family members of the CTC (Cyclists Touring Club) and regularly go out on rides with them, riding two tandems so that the boys can join in safely.
Q. Does your homeworking pay the bills?
A. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. Currently its not covering them Arrgh! but I am lucky in having a husband with a regular income which means most of them get paid I just have to hide my credit card.
Q. How did you manage financially when you first started working at home?
A. Well. I was temporarily at home while my son was still breast-feeding and was in a permanent job. I was then made redundant along with every one else in the group. I fell on my feet in many ways having only a few weeks out of work once I started looking for home based work. I am currently in my longest quiet spell, and spending my reserves at an alarming rate.
Q. How do you manage your time?
A. I think time management has always been one of my best skills. Since the children have been around it has improved, juggling the needs on my time amongst all those that require it is a fun challenge.
Once I have dropped the children off at school, walking through the front door is just like getting into the traditional office. I say hello to the cat who is waiting for me and I make a coffee. Then we both go upstairs to the office. She usually takes up residence on my lap. I am then in 'work' mode until I have to leave to collect the children from either school or a friends house. I often take my lunch in the office and work straight through, a six hour stretch. Once I leave work the office door is closed and the room is ignored. I have been known to occasionally work in the evening - but I try hard to avoid it. Even after all of these years I still find that the hardest part of my day is making the transition from working back to 'Mum'. This was easier, surprisingly, when I was working in Cambridge as I had a long time to unwind in the car before I got home. These days I have a three minute walk, which is not really long enough.
Q. How do you cope with distractions at home?
A. My friends don't ring me during 'working hours' if they do they get a very terse conversation.
The place is quieter than an office and to a certain extent I like that. I dont get distracted by such things as house work - I detest it. Though I make one exception - while I am waiting for my kettle to boil for my cup of tea I will feed the washing machine. Its a job that needs doing very often with four of us in the house and doesn't take time from work.
Q. What advice would you suggest to someone considering working from home?
  • Give it a try but be prepared to accept it, if it doesn't work for you.
  • Join the TCA - to get their useful advice and contacts.
  • It's a lifestyle thing, don't expect to make loads of money, that way when you do its a bonus.
  • Don't under sell yourself.