Working from home is in many ways the ideal for working parents. You might not want to do it for the whole week, but being able to cut down on the lost hours spent commuting and having the flexibility to be around in case a crisis happens is invaluable. However, it is not for everyone.
Work from Home: How to Make Money Working at Home – and Get the Most Out of Life, a new book by Judy Heminsley, is a step-by-step guide to working from home, but it begins by asking some very basic questions about whether or not homeworking is right for you. It talks through the type of personalities that are best suited to life out of the office, including whether you are a people person [in which case it may not be right for you], what motivates you, your attitude to time and schedules and it includes a questionnaire so you can assess yourself. Of course, not all jobs can be done from home, but the book says that in many cases it may be possible “to reorganise your working day in order to spend some time at home and the rest at the office or out with clients”.
Heminsley is well qualified to talk about all aspects of homeworking. She has worked from home for nearly 20 years as an employee, advising small businesses, and as an entrepreneur running a successful cleaning business. She has seen both the pitfalls and the advantages, but believes the latter far outweigh the former.
She says: “I cannot imagine ever wanting to work any other way. I can organise my day as it suits me. If I have a deadline, I can set my alarm early and start work in minutes. Of I can do the laundry or last night’s washing-up before switching on my computer. If my energy or enthusiasm dip during the day, I go for a walk, have a nap or head out to do some errands. Sometimes I just don’t get into the swing of things until the evening, and then I can work on until I’m ready to fall into bed.”
The first half of the book deals with whether you can or want to work from home, the downsides, such as isolation, and how to make money from home, including how to approach homeworking ‘opportunities’ with caution, how to negotiate working from home with your boss and how to manage your finances if you are self employed.
The second half is all about how to make the most of homeworking. This includes tips on how to organise meetings outside the home, how to be professional and how to be productive at home. Some people, says Heminsley, like to dress in a suit, walk round the block and then “arrive” at work. They want to create a sense of going to work. She adds that, although you could just work in your pyjamas, it is better not to as clothes have a profound effect on your attitude to work.
She goes through the whole working day and how you psych yourself up for it – deal with the difficult stuff first and then the more enjoyable things. She even touches on the problem of being too near the fridge, under a chapter on how do you separate work and home life. She counsels that you need to make time for exercise. Much of the advice on eating is common sense, but she covers most areas, including networking and how to work from home with teenagers – having boundaries on noise levels for music, phone use and making the most of the fact they love to sleep in are some key tips.
Already an estimated three million people in the UK work from home. With more and more of us working from home at least part of the week due to technological advances, this book helps give the kind of practical advice to cover every step of the way. You can dip into any section and most have a list of resources and case studies to help you along the way.
Heminsley is a firm but clear-eyed advocate of working from home. She says: “Working from home offers control and flexibility, saves time and fuel, and allows more time with friends and family. In other words, you have a far better quality of life when all your activities are centred around one location rather than two, or even more.”
Work from Home: How to Make Money Working at Home – and Get the Most Out of Life, by Judy Heminsley is published by howtobooks, price £12.99
This book was reviewed by Mandy Garner of