Hello and welcome to BetterWorkingAtHome!
My name’s Jo and at the time of writing I’ve been working from home for about 20 years. Sometimes that was as a home based employee, sometimes as a self-employed sub-contractor or freelancer, and sometimes as co-owner of a ltd company. Sometimes I’ve been working with partners, sometimes managing employees who were also home based, and sometimes working more or less on my own. The work I’ve done from home has been a hotchpotch of HR and management consultancy, redundancy and career development counselling, training design, report and proposal writing and more recently website development. These days I’ve decided to focus on this site which I hope will let me bring together all those areas and share what I’ve learned whilst still – most importantly – allowing me to work from home.
Originally I became home based back in the early 1990s when the company I was working for as a normal, office based employee changed hands. The new management ‘restructured’ the company and my contract went from employee to home-based self-employed consultant. Frightening and insecure as it was at first, I soon realised it was an arrangement that suited me very well. I could live with the insecurity in return for the freedom and independence. And I could happily trade the business suits and office politics for the comfortable atmosphere of my home office – even if I no longer had paid holidays.
Since then the nature of the work I have carried out and the financial basis on which I earn my income has changed many times, in particular after my son was born and my partner Steve’s two children came to live with us full-time. Steve’s work is often overseas and sometimes means he’s away from home for several weeks at a time. It’s an awful lot easier to manage child care on your own if you work from home!
I include these personal ramblings only because I suspect that my experiences and feelings about it will be familiar to many people working at home. Often it starts by accident, or we’re pushed into it by the practicalities of family life. There are pros and cons of course, and I’ll be writing about those and helping prospective home workers decide if it’s really for them. But at the risk of sounding corny, if you can find a way to earn enough and organise your time so as to meet your personal requirements (whatever they may be), I think for an increasing number of people it actually is better working at home.