Working from home

You may feel the time has arrived to return to work but your children are not yet of school age or your circumstances are such that you want or need to work from home. You will need to weigh up the pros and cons and most importantly work out how you will manage this when being at home with your children is already a job in itself. Here are few helpful tips on what you need to consider:

When will you find the time?

If you are going to be working from home with young children around you will need to anticipate this less than conventional working environment, i.e. Lots of noise, distractions and their need to be supervised. If you want your children and your house to remain in tact, your focus will be divided between them and your work. You need to work out how best to manage this.

Additionally when working from home you still have all your usual duties, which you normally perform when at home, so in effect you have two jobs now! You could reduce some of this by hiring someone to clean and do the ironing but you will need to weigh up the costs against the benefits of you working from home.

What about the kids?

A good strategy for older children is to give the children a timer and explain that they have 30mins playtime (where they busy themselves) and then 10 minutes of your time where you interact with them directly and give them your full focus. This way they get your full attention every 30minutes and they learn to know (due to the timer) when this will be so they avoid nagging you for your attention. You could start with very short sessions of work and then build them up to longer ones as the children adjust to this new routine.

It depends on the age of your children as to what is appropriate. Take advice from a childcare professional for other strategies to help make working from home smoother for the whole family. But remember that your children remain your priority and need supervision at all times.

What about your partner and YOU?

You may decide due to these difficulties that it is better to work after the children go to bed. This will raise other concerns though such as the effect this may have on your relationship with your partner and other domestic duties you normally save for the evening. Not to mention finding YOU time to relax and unwind. You may need to ask your partner to contribute more to household duties or you may be lucky enough that they do so already!

School holiday and sickness provision

If the children are at school, you may need to arrange your work around the school run but then have to rethink and plan for school holidays when the children are home.

You also need to consider what you will do if you are unwell, what provision does your employer make to cover you or what provision can you make? You may want to take out some form of sickness insurance to cover periods of poor health that an employer/client may not.

Do you have the equipment?

If you are going to be working from home, you will need the space and the equipment to do so. This may include desk, phone, PC, fax, printer, room for files etc.

What records should I keep?

Keep records of your hours and rate of pay and any expenses you incur and find out from the government department that deals with home workers what records you need to keep and how you inform them of your earnings etc.

Once you are prepared for working from home, what kind of work can you do?

There are lots of options now for mums who want to work from home, here are a few ideas for you to consider:


There are a number of businesses recruiting mums to join them as a franchisee or licence holder. These include Tumbletots, Musical Minis or other franchise groups that provide classes for young children.

Home Sales

There are a number of companies that recruit mums to deliver catalogues and products and then collect payments etc. Companies such as Avon, Virgin Vie, various companies selling household wares etc. Often this does not include cold calling but is as simple as just placing the catalogue through the letterbox and collecting it with the order on a specified day etc.

Run your own business

If you have a special skill or interest you could run a group from home or in a local school, library etc. A dance class or some creative art class. You may be able to make a product yourself to sell at craft fairs or online. You could also set up your own cleaning and ironing business. Perhaps face painting or being a child party entertainer is for you? You can advertise your service on mum?s sites and by word of mouth at local church groups etc.

Whatever you decide, working from home can be very rewarding but make sure you don't over load yourself with work!