Lorna Eells had been suffering from anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia which caused her episodes of great pain. She had worked in nursing for over 20 years and retired, disillusioned after she was moved from frontline nursing to doing paperwork in the office. She had then started working with elderly people doing maintenance checks when her husband got a job in Devon. She didn’t know what to do, but knew she wanted to work from home. She decided to set up her own limited company with Arise after seeing them advertise on www.workingmums.co.uk.
Arise started in the US and works by training would-be home-based workers in sales, customer services and technical support who work on the phone and via email. Once they have had the right training, including proficency tests, they are ready to work for a large variety of clients, including multinational corporations, provided by Arise. Arise workers are set up as business owners and have the right to choose who they work for and when and how often they work through flexible scheduling options which allow them to divide their time into chunks which can be as few as 30 minutes. Potential employees pay for their own training and equipment and are paid either per call, per minute or per hour rates. Sales staff also get sales-related incentives and bonuses.
“It was really simple to sign up,” says Lorna. She took a test with Arise to see if she had the skills they needed and was put on a training course for the company straight away.
She now works for Arise and sets her own hours. She says she can do a minimum of 15 hours a week, but can choose when she does these hours. “If I prefer to work evenings or mornings, it is up to me. I can choose as and when,” she says. There is a 48-hour lockdown period so you have to choose and stick to your hours for a week at least 48 hours before you start working. Lorna says she usually does around 15 hours a week and very rarely works at the weekends. One of the clients she works for through Arise is a mail order company. She takes orders and payments. “You can get asked about anything and everything,” she says.
She agrees that the job would not suit everyone and particularly not people who like working in close proximity to others and she admits she would sometimes like a chat and to have a team around her. “Nursing was all about team work,“ she says. But she says she gets a lot of support. She can type in a problem and get an answer almost immediately and once a fortnight her calls are listened into by a mentor figure. She says the questions she gets asked can be quite challenging and she sometimes gets back to back calls on a shift so she likes to stagger her hours to allow herself an hour’s break in between.
She gets paid £7.30 an hour. Pay is also rated on how long a call takes, with an average order call being three and a half minutes and an inquiry taking four and a half minutes. The longer a call takes the more your pay drops.
Lorna says: “It doesn’t get much better than this. I can stay in my dressing gown all day and still go to work.
Lorna has six daughters and the youngest has just left home, but was living with her when she started her training course in July. She says it was hard when she was bringing them up. She worked nights as a nurse and took them to school or playgroup during the day. Then her husband would come in and she would grab a couple of hours’ sleep. “When I look back now I don’t think I could do it again,” she says, but she adds that she doesn’t regret it. Her husband was very supportive.
For Lorna, the Arise set-up works perfectly. She can work around her illness and still bring in some income. She thinks people have still “not got their heads around home working” and can be dubious about whether home working companies are legitimate, but she believes this will change. She adds that Arise, for one, deliver on their promises.