Saturday, 14 July 2012

Boris Does It Again

As Boris Johnson once again puts his foot in it by claiming people who work from home are skivers, I'd like to add my tuppence worth about home business.

If you've read any of my previous blogs you will know I am an advocate of home business.  I've been self-employed for 23 years during which time I have created 15 businesses all started and run from home.  I'm not unique in this, just look at how many successful entrepreneurs started their business from home. Here are three that easily come to mind: Simon Dolan worth around £74 million started his accounting business from home.  Andrew Reynolds worth around £30 million started his niche marketing business from home.  Kevin Green who I guestimate is worth in excess of £20 million runs his business from home.

Running a business from home offers low start up costs, flexible working hours and in my opinion a much greater opportunity for success.  My working day starts when I wake up.  This morning it was 4:00am, by 9:00am (when the family start stirring) I will have managed 5 hours solid work with no interruptions. The rest of my day is then free to spend with my family, afterall, it is a Sunday and it is school holidays.

On a normal work day ( when my daughter is in school day) I start around 4:00am, wake the family up at 7:00am. Once breakfast is out of the way and daughter safely in school I'll be back at work by 9:00am work through to 3:30pm (I don't eat lunch) when I collect my daughter from school. When we get home I'll do some more work while she does her homework and I'll finish around 6:00pm.  Total hours worked on average 11 per day. When I was an employee a typical day for me was get to work for 8:30am, morning tea around 10:30, lunch at 1:00pm, afternoon tea at 3:15pm and finish work at 5:00pm. The total number of hours worked around 7 per day. 

Working from home has increased the number of hours available to work as I am not stuck in traffic jams at the start or end of the day. My commute to work is out of bed, down the stairs and into the office. Working from home does require discipline.  For me, I'm a naturally early riser around 4:00am each morning but I wonder how many people would enjoy staying in bed for a couple of extra hours sleep. I rarely eat lunch but for many working from home it is the chance for extended lunch breaks. These become some of the perks of working from home as well as some of the downsides to productivity. 

Creating a balance between work and family time can be difficult.  Jobs that take 5 minutes can lead to spending and hour or so doing additional things while I'm on the computer but the flexibility of working hours that suit me is really important.  When my daughter is on school holidays so am I.  I might start work at 4:00am but when she gets up around 10:00am work stops and I am free to spend the rest of the day with her.  A few months ago my daughter commented on how lucky she was to have parents who worked from home as a lot of her classmates spend their holidays with grandparents or at school clubs while their parents worked.

So, I say to Boris Johnson, think again before you criticise people who work from home.  Many of us create the businesses that are so important to this economy and are the taxpayers who keep you in a job.