Best of both worlds: my experience of working from home

Today is the 10th National Work from Home Day. Kay Atwal, a media officer, journalist and mother of two writes about her experience working from home as a journalist.

The figures say it all: more than four million people across the country now regularly work from home and another 1.8 million would like the same opportunity.

To those who want to join them, I say make sure you are prepared for what it entails. Heaps of  organisation and discipline are an absolute must, as well as the determination to make it work from both you and your employer.

In terms of practicalities, you also need a dedicated working area and an understanding by your family and friends that between your hours of work you must be left alone to get on with it.

Having worked as a journalist while raising two children my Editor was more than happy to let me work from home when my second was born so I know from first-hand experience what a blessing (and sometimes what a curse it can be).

It certainly saved me two hours of daily commuting and it meant I could start work at 8am, send some emails and make phone calls, do the school run, and still be at my desk well before nine am. 

Making cups of tea was a breeze as half the time I was cradling a phone, lunch was a quick sarnie and there were no distractions from colleagues and no meetings eating into my working day. There was plenty of was peace of mind, allowing me to concentrate on work without worrying over school runs, safe in the knowledge that my editor trusted me to get on with the job.

In fact, he often praised my heightened productivity and focus thanks to my strict adherence to office hours although I did find myself finishing off the odd story at 10pm or even later.

Trust is a big issue for many organisations that have been wedded to the idea that work is something that you have to do at an office. The increasing use of smart phones, broadband and laptops means people have an increasing amount of freedom to work remotely and flexibly. As always, though, it is the human element that appears to be the stumbling block.

To the managers who have their doubts, I would say you have nothing to lose. It is also worth remembering that you can always do a bit of both – towards the end I did three days from the office and two days from home, getting the best of both worlds.