Nicola Hogan used to work full time and commute. She now works from home and expects to earn more than when she was full time in the office.
Three years ago Nicola Hogan was working full time for an international radiation protection company in Oxford. However earlier this year she decided to take the plunge and become self-employed in order to have more time for her 13-year-old daughter and to work from home. She says her friends thought she was mad to leave her job in a recession, but she had done her homework and had built up her business gradually on the side of her other work.
She now does several different jobs, all from home. The main one is working for Arise, which works with big name partners to supply them with home-based workers in sales, customer services and technical support. Arise workers set themselves up as business owners and can choose their hours, within certain limits.
She found out about Arise on workingmums.co.uk, while she was searching for work from home, and now works as a quality assurance facilitator for them. She also works with Live Lettings and green marketing company Wikaniko. She spends around 35 hours a week on Arise, but often does a few more hours; she does up to 10 hours a week on Live Lettings which involves going out to look at properties. She says she has always worked up to 50 hours a week so she is used to long hours and needs little sleep so the work suits her perfectly.
She says: “I wish I had discovered this way of working years ago.”
She can now be at home for her daughter to help with homework and chat. Her husband also works from home. She used a childminder when her daughter was growing up and says that she had some “challenging” times when she had to take compassionate leave when her childminder or daughter were ill. “Now if that happened I would be able to be at home and work long hours into the night if necessary,” she says. “I got an email the other day at 12.55am. It is mostly women who are working these kind of hours to make everything work.”
For Live Lettings she went on a training course and learnt how to use the computer-based system. She can sit at home and do inventories and write reports, but also has to go to see properties and check tenants in which allows her to get out of the house.
For Arise, she has to listen in on call centre calls to check quality. She facilitates best practice and enhancement skills to enable others to fulfil their ambitions for their selves and their own businesses. She was lucky enough to be selected to be at the Arise client’s Awards Evening for her work in customer care, and although not a winner she was one of only three from Arise to be nominated – no mean feat when there is a large pool of very talented individuals.
She says Arise is very fast-moving and always changing. She got involved with Arise a year ago, working evenings and weekends, but only went full time in June. She is impressed by the company because, she says, it lives up to its promises. She does not feel isolated working from home and says there is a lot of interaction with her team, even if it is not face to face. On thing shedoes not miss is office politics. Moreover, the pay she is earning is already commensurate with what she was earning at her last full-time job. In fact in the past month, her pay has exceeded what she earnt on a monthly basis before.
Nicola works in an office in her garden. She says it feels like she is going to work when she shuts her house door and crosses the garden to her office in the mornings. She adds that in Chipping Norton where she lives there are not many options in terms of flexible work which uses her skills. “I think people are beginning to make a life choice,” she says. “This way of working is made for me and I can choose the path I want to follow.”