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Are you looking for homeworking jobs? Well, you’re not alone. Homeworking consistently rates high on the type of flexible working mums are looking for in workingmums.co.uk’s annual surveys.
In our most recent survey offering regular homeworking rated second on what would make women consider a job family friendly, after offering flexible hours for full-time jobs.
But, even now, despite moves towards greater flexibility and constant lobbying by groups such as workingmums.co.uk, there are still few fully homeworking roles advertised and some that are may not be of the best quality and may even be a scam.
So how do you spot the good ones? There are no cast iron guarantees, but the following tips will help you avoid the more obvious hazards.
Don’t take anything as read. Google the company, check for comments from people who have worked there and ask around your friends to see if they have heard of the organisation or know someone who has. You could also Google the company’s name and the word scam and see if anything comes up. If something does, do not necessarily assume that that is correct too. Make sure your checks are thorough.
Question any claims which sound too good to be true, such as promises of overnight wealth.
Put any concerns you may have come up with to the employer. You could ask to speak to someone in the company who is doing the homeworking job you are applying for so you can talk through what it involves. If there is no contact phone number for the employer this should ring alarm bells.
Search for homeworking jobs on legitimate jobs sites, but do you own research on jobs advertised there as well. It’s best to search on the kind of job you want to do rather than just on homeworking as scammers tend to use more general search terms.
Read the smallprint, particularly about pay. Ask detailed questions about how pay is worked out and for a breakdown of how much work is needed to secure how much pay.
Distinguish between homeworking jobs and self-employment opportunities. The latter may ask you to pay upfront for a starter kit or for training. Ensure if you are asked for any money upfront that you know exactly what it is for and ensure you get something for your money if you are asked to pay upfront.
In self-employed jobs where you may be asked to pay upfront for a starter kit or stock, check out if the organisation has been vetted by a relevant regulatory body, such as the British Franchise Association and complies with UK law on registration fees.
Part of the problem with fully homeworking jobs is that demand far outstrips supply. You may need to broaden your search and consider jobs which offer a degree of homeworking, for instance, two days a week or so while the rest of the week is office based or you may need to negotiate full homeworking during the recruitment process. That will again involve you researching the company well and checking its flexible working policies and also any case studies on the careers page show that it is truly a flexible company and not just paying lip service to the issue.
Also, before you start the search interrogate yourself honestly about why you want to work from home and whether it will be the answer to what you are seeking. Homeworking is not for everyone and some find it hard to motivate themselves when there are no colleagues to bounce ideas off. A compromise of half homeworking half working in an office/on site may work better, giving you the flexibility you need.
workingmums.co.uk’s annual survey shows that, while many choose homeworking due to wanting a better work life balance and to cut the wasted hours of the commute, a third of working mums who work from home find it harder to switch off from work than they would if they worked outside the home setting and 25% think that they end up working more than they would if they were in a setting outside of home. Moreover, 21% of homeworkers feel left out of office decisions.
There may be other compromise solutions such as work hubs or co-working spaces which reduce your commute, but mean you have the company of others and have a door to close on work at the end of the day.