Working from home as a mum or dad comes with it’s challenges but also rewards. Juggling the responsibilities of caring for your little one(s) with the demands of an employer can, for many, be physically, emotionally and financially draining.
Finding the right home working opportunity that fits in with your day-to-day routine can be the perfect stepping stone for getting back to full-time employment or exploring other career paths. At Bristol Mum we have created this short guide for mums and dads within the Bristol area, who are considering working from home and want to know their options.
What options for working from home are there?
1. Full time / Part-time employed work
The great thing about deciding to work from home is the flexibility it gives you. Whether you want to work full-time or part-time, there is almost certain to be a role out there for you that will help you build skills while earning an income too. Websites such as Working Mums have a range of opportunities available that are specifically tailored towards working from home, and you’ll also find plenty of advice here too.
On Bristol Mum there is also a Jobs Page which lists job vacancies in and near Bristol – please check it out!
The main benefit of freelancing is that it allows you to work the hours you want, giving you complete control. If you had a career before becoming a mum, then freelancing is a great way for you to utilise your skills and work from the comfort of your own home – on your own terms!
You can either offer your services to businesses for one off projects, or you can work on a retainer contract where you provide support for a certain number of hours a week or month – great if you want to work around your childcare commitments. To find out more information about freelancing, visit Startups.
Huckleberry Partners also currently have a range of freelancing opportunities for parents in Bristol.
3. Start a business
If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, but have never had the time or opportunity to put your idea and plans into action, then starting one alongside your day-to-day commitments at home could be ideal.
Not only will it give you the chance to test the water and decide whether the idea will be successful or not before pursuing it further, but you can also have a completely flexible approach to your working hours – a key benefit of being your own boss!
Alternatively, you may be interested in taking on a franchise opportunity. Whichever option works best for you, there are local groups that can provide support, such as Freelance Mum.
4. Self development / learning
Have you always wanted to learn a new skill or build on your knowledge of a certain topic that interests you? If so, it could be the perfect time to study a course from home if you’re looking to keep busy when your children are in bed.
Whether you want to learn a new hobby like floristry, which could potentially lead to a future business opportunity or new career, or build on your existing skills and knowledge, there’s bound to be a course out there for you. Visit City of Bristol College and Bristol Folk House for inspiration.
If you are looking to stay active and add to your CV, but without the financial reward, you could consider volunteering.
Whether this is by helping other mums with childcare or with local charities or establishments who may need skills just like yours, there are lots of local websites that can help you find volunteering opportunities near you . Check out Gumtree and Voscur as starting points.
Can I have an income without affecting maternity pay?
This is a common question that is asked by mums who are looking to add to their income during their maternity leave.
If you are employed, receiving Standard Maternity Pay (SMP) from your original employer and then start a part-time job during this period for a new employer, you will lose your remaining entitlement.
If you do want to start new employment during your maternity leave, it may be best to wait until the end of your paid period.
If you are still employed, it’s also a good idea to check with your employer that a second job won’t affect your contract of employment, and perhaps see whether submitting a flexible working request to reduce your hours when you do return to work is possible.
It’s always best to seek advice about your own circumstances before deciding if working during your maternity leave is right for you. For more information, call the Working Families Helpline on 0300 012 0312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there any other risks?
The web is full of scams that offer instant work from home in return for “a small fee” – look at any job board and it probably won’t take you long to spot one.
The key thing is to make sure you do your research about any employer and opportunity, and keep in mind that if it looks too good to be true then it probably is! For more information about working from home scams, visit Fraud.org
Working from home sounds great! How do I get started?
If working from home sounds like the best option for you, here are some tips to help get the ball rolling:
1. Speak to your partner, family and friends – let them know your plans and discuss your ideas with them. If things get too much and you find it hard to look after your child and do the work you need to do at the same time, then you will need the support of your loved ones to give you a helping hand.
2. Create a workspace – you will probably need a desk or table to work from, and you’ll need to find somewhere where you can focus without distractions such as daytime TV!
3. Be disciplined – it may be tempting to roll out of bed and start working while you’re still wearing pyjamas, but if you make time to get dressed, you will be focused and raring to go when you start your working day.
Are you a Bristol mum or dad who works from home? We’d love to hear about your experiences!
Written by Colin Harrison, Media Street