A few years back I hated my job. I hated having to go into work every day and sit behind a desk for the most part of my day. Eventually, I decided that the only option I had was to quit my job and figure out a way to do work that made me happy but allowed me to work from home. It was the best decision I could have ever made and I’ve never looked back.
Now, I work my own schedule at my own pace and I’m always able to put the needs of my family or son first. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself and if I need to, I can cut my week short and just go with the moment. I’ve absolutely no regrets. Jenny Holt shares her perspective on working from home.
By Jenny Holt
Can we bake our own cakes and eat them? Yes, we can!
Of course, I am not really talking about actual cakes. What I am talking about is the age old question of whether we can have it all. Can we have a great job which gives us plenty of time at home with our babies and children as they grow up? Can we find fulfilment in our work while also having plenty of free time to enjoy our lives before we’re too old? The answer to both questions is yes. Yes we can! But, of course there is always a but, it is going to take a lot of hard work and discipline.
Go freelance, work remote or become a mompreneur?
There are 3 main ways to work from home as a mom – or any worker from home for that matter, but let’s stick to moms for now. These are to work remotely, which means doing your normal office or company day job, but doing it from home. Working freelance by bidding for, applying for, and hustling for paying gigs you can do at home which could run from PA work to freelance writing such as yours truly. In fact, Theselfemployed.com listed 45 ideas (and probably missed a few out) ranging from artist and blogger to VAs and seamstress.
Finally, you can found your own business be it offering one of those services, making something (cakes spring to mind), or something else such as consulting relating to your career. You can find countless examples of mompreneurs and while the neologism might be new, the idea itself is not. A few examples of successful mompreneurs include Julie Aigner-Clark who founded The Baby Einstein Company, Sheila Lirio Marcelo of Care.com, and Nicole Gleeson of Little Mizz Kit.
Putting the hard graft in
When I meet people, be they mothers like myself, my peers, or other people from various walks of life they always look at me enviously when I tell them that I work from home. Most of them equate this to the cosy life, the easy life, the work when you feel like it life. Actually, a lot of them also think my husband is rich enough to support me and our daughters whether I work or not. However, while there are a huge number of positives (see below), it does not come easy – having your work from home cake and eating it requires a lot of discipline and hard work.
While any kind of work is liable to be full of distractions, most people realise it’s a work environment and have things to do. Not in the home. If your child is sick, chances are they will want your attention all the time. Friends and relatives will think working at home means “come and disturb me,” and then there’s the contents of the fridge. You can create checklists to keep you on track, prioritise work, mix in house work or workouts or relaxation time between jobs so you can work in focused bursts, and you can turn off the phone, refuse to answer the door, and make it plain that you really are working right now. As for the fridge, working from home makes snack temptation a lot worse and if you are not exercising enough, it can be detrimental to your overall health, so make sure you have a fitness plan for your own well being.
Enjoy the Benefits
All that being said, working from home is actually one of the best and most rewarding things you can do. And there are a lot of pros, far more pros than the few cons we mentioned above. For example, if you work freelance or run your own business, you can essentially set your own schedules, work as you want, when you want, where you want – be it at a desk or at your garden table with a glass of wine, or in bed on a cold morning, and you can wear what you want to work. Yes, I am in my PJs, it works for me, don’t judge.
However, even if you work remotely, you will probably get more work done than when you were in an office environment. There’s less chatting with colleagues, less other work distractions, fewer meetings to attend, and less fussy boss interventions in an attempt to pretend they know how to manage. In short, you will get more done, will feel more engaged, and you will find you enjoy the work a lot more. A survey of telemarketers found that those who worked from home were far more effective and productive than their in-office colleagues.
This freedom also lets you spend more time with your family; especially your children. As they grow up, you want to be there to see it, to experience it with them, and enjoy the precious time you have with them as children. As a mom, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of working from home; especially when you can decide to just take some time off to see them do something amazing in school or to take them to the park during the summer vacation period. It’s those moments most of all which make me glad I started working from home.
Jenny Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it all and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now that she’s left the corporate world behind.