/ Home & Energy, Money

Does working from home work for you?

Picture of a woman working at home

No commuting to and from the office and creature comforts to hand – on the face of it there’s a lot to like about working from home. But which jobs allow such a lifestyle? What are the pros and cons to self-employment?

At Which?, we are fortunate enough to be able to work from home occasionally, but thousands of people, from a wide range of industries, do it every day.

From entrepreneurs to electricians, and freelancers to fundraisers – the opportunities for home working are endless. Computing and telecoms technology allows many people to work without the constraints of an office.

Being your own boss – a blessing or a curse?

It can be hard to be your own boss, because you have to motivate yourself every day.

Personally, I know I couldn’t do it.  I’d too easily get distracted and would end up doing some cleaning or DIY instead of my work. That said, I’m sure the prospect of not earning any money would soon put a stop to my procrastination.

However, there are other responsibilities to take into consideration when you’re self-employed. It’s up to you to manage debts, keep accurate records of income and expenditure and deal with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Knowing what taxes you have to pay and the expenses you can claim back are just two vital aspects anyone thinking about becoming self-employed will need to get to grips with quickly.

Working from home: how would you do it?

Obviously, any job you decide to do should be something you’re interested in and enjoy – even more so when you’re self-employed.

We asked our Which? Convo Twitter followers how they feel about working from home.

Tmckinnin would like to start his working day with a lie in:

‘I would work from home any day because it’s better you don’t have to wake up early and save money each year on commuting/travel costs.’

Rellix agrees with Tmckinnin, but worries about the lack of social interaction:

‘Extra time in bed! Saving travel expenses. Less washing to deal with too. Couldn’t do a full week at home, need social contact’

If you already work from home, what do you do? What has been the biggest challenge? What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about working from home?

Would you like to work from home?

Yes, I would like to work from home sometimes (47%, 63 Votes)

Yes, I would like to work from home all the time (22%, 30 Votes)

No, working from home would be too distracting (10%, 14 Votes)

No, working from would be too lonely (7%, 10 Votes)

I'm not sure (7%, 10 Votes)

No, it's not practical for me to work from home (5%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 135

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I would have loved to work from home, The office was frequently a barmy 27 degrees C. Which was fine for those wearing very little. But was way to warm for me to be productive.

I have been retired for over a year or so but unless I had a meeting or was lecturing, I used to go in late and come home late, which meant that I avoided busy roads. I could concentrate on difficult tasks without interruption – before going into work and after most others had gone home.

I would not have wanted to work at home all day, but the flexibility of working hours really suited me.

I worked at home for five months in my last job. It went well at first but I found my work day ‘slipped’ by a couple of hours – beginning later than normal (around ten or half past) but frequently working quite late into the night and during weekends. That was one of my main problems: once my home became my work place, it was difficult or impossible to get out of ‘work mode’ as there was always some little (or big) task I could have been doing.

Though I was working as a journalist and frequently speaking to people on the phone, I also found it was very lonely. After a while, the solitude I had first come to appreciate began to get on my nerves – working at home for any prolonged amount of time can definitely drive you a bit stir-crazy!

Christian Arms says:
18 February 2013

There are many ways to work from home – you could be a kettle, an oven or indeed, the top shelf of your freezer – hey, what did you think I was going to say? Seriously, though, I am joking, David makes a very good point – motivation is one thing but doing taxes is another one entirely. I can motivate myself to do a lot of work things – I am a home worker – so phoning clients, doing admin and selling my tradewares is easy but taxes, no way! That’s why I have an accountant. As they say, why have a hoover and lick your own floor!

I find it easy most of the time as the kind of freelance stuff I do is flexible (working at places/shoots in the evening for example), and the work I do I really care about and thus find it easily engaging.
I never watch tv even if I’m not working so I don’t have that distraction… though my biscuit consumption has increased by 82%.
Plus I can do work in my pants and/or dressing gown if I fancy (a fact that amuses me if I’m talking to a client – though difficult to get away with that with Skype calls though)