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Kelly Ostler-Coyle blogs on the benefits (and challenges) of working from home...

As part of work from home week, DG Briefing and Engagement Manager Kelly Ostler-Coyle blogs on how working from home helps her to balance her demanding career with her equally full-on home life… 

It’s mid-afternoon and I’m sat at my desk with the sun streaming in through my patio doors, I can see red kites flying over my garden, my cat is curled up on the chair next to me fast asleep and I have a large mug of freshly ground coffee.  Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? The time I work from home is my most peaceful and productive – I look forward to it.

I’ve been a homeworker for five years now, since I returned to work after having my first son. Originally it allowed me to balance my new role as a working parent, meaning that for at least some of the week I didn’t have to commute three hours a day, getting home once my son had gone to bed. But now it’s more than that, it’s helped me to give more to both work and my family.

On a Thursday I work half a day from home. It’s the one day I feel like I really do have it all. I wake up with my children climbing into my bed for cuddles and then we all have a rather lively breakfast together. At 8.30am I walk my eldest son to the village school, my first opportunity of the week touch base with what’s been going on. I then take my younger son somewhere to spend time with him, usually to our local farm where we feed the animals and run around the fields. At 11am I drop him off at our childminder come home and turn on my computer. I’ll eat a sandwich while going through my emails.

I tend to save the work I want to put some thinking time to for a Thursday. I then spend the next 3-4 hours working in total peace. At 3.15pm I pick both sons up and usually at least one other child who is coming home for a playdate, and my peace is turned into happy chaos. If anything still needs finishing then I simply do it once the boys are in bed. The days I work in the City are also great, I want to be there. It’s my time to connect with my colleagues and build relationships, but mornings and evenings at home are frantic hub-bub of activity.

I’m lucky I can do my job easily from home, thanks to our remote access and Skype for Business I could be just in another room. Just don’t ask me to video call as I’m usually dressed in casual clothes. 

My biggest worry was that if you’re not seen at the office daily then you’ll be forgotten and your career would stall. But nothing could be further from the truth. I have had the same opportunities for progression and development as anyone else, it’s not about where you work - it’s about how you work.

Working from home is not for everyone; you need to be a self-motivator and enjoy your own company, however, for me I feel more productive and happier. The biggest downside is the temptation of my biscuit tin…

Last updated 16/01/2018