By August 15, 2013 Read More →

Is there enough support for home workers?

Discussing support for home workers on BBC Radio

Support for home workers - couple on setteeYesterday I spoke to Ben McGrail on his early evening show for BBC Radio Somerset. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that Somerset has a higher than average number of people working from home – in some places 15% compared to the national average of 8%.

We talked about the reasons people might start working from home, whether it’s due to the lack of any other option in a rural area where there aren’t many jobs. During our conversation Ben asked me a question I couldn’t answer. He wanted to know if home workers feel they are getting enough support. I had to admit it’s not a subject that’s ever come up on the blog or on social media.

My immediate reply was that the majority of my readers are self-employed people who by the very nature of what they do have a strong independent streak and just get on with things.

I remember being very impressed by a young mother I interviewed when I was researching my book. Her husband had a demanding full-time job and was out all day. She had a ten year old son and a baby, and I asked how she managed to fit in her work as a book-keeper during school holidays, bearing in mind her children’s very different needs.

‘Well, you just get on with it, don’t you?’, she replied, and that pretty much sums up the attitude you need if you’re going to make a success of working from home, and I’m sure the attitude of many of my readers.

I told Ben I would ask for your opinions about support for home workers. Do you feel you should be getting more help, and if so, what form of help would you like?

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4 Comments on "Is there enough support for home workers?"

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  1. Sharon says:

    I think we help each other so much that often we don’t see the actual lack of ‘official’ support.

  2. That’s a very good point, Sharon, thanks.

  3. I think there is a big difference to self employed people who work from those and employed people (I’m putting directors of their own limited company in the self-employed category).

    Unless you’re an employee of a company where some people work from home, or most do, and some just don’t, without it being ‘a thing’, there are issues. I think there is a lack of understanding and support. Most people probably aren’t suited to working from home full time, however that is very different from not doing it at all, or having the option when life intervenes (sick child anyone).

    The employees who have the self discipline to work from home, whether all their hours or some of them, are not sofa surfers and shouldn’t be treated as such. Dare I say they probably get a lot more done not being in the office.

    • I think the difference underlying the employee/self-employed divide is motivation. If you’re self-employed, you stand or fall by your own efforts. As an employee it’s not quite as crucial and your fortunes are inevitably bound up with those of your colleagues and employer.