Homeworking in a Corporate Setting

Mark Morrell has been working from home for BT for the past 12 years so who better to give his opinion about the pros, and cons, of working from home.

“BT’s first home worker started in 1986 and there are now around 15,000 home workers. Full-time home workers save BT around £6,000 a year each, which makes significant savings even for a company our size.”

“I had been working from home for parts of most weeks for the previous 6 years and I jumped at the chance to work from home on a full-time basis. Using the money I saved by not having to buy an expensive season ticket to travel in and out of London each day I was able to buy a larger house – one with an extra bedroom that I was able to set up as an office.”

“In my view it is really important to create a work space. It may not be a dedicated room, as it wont be required as an office 24/7, and with mobile technology laptops, as opposed to fixed PC’s, can move with you, but I do think that it is important to have a place that you recognise as the place you go to work. It could be the corner of a lounge or dining room but it helps with focus and organisation to know that it is your work space.”

“Being organised is another important aspect of working from home. It is great to have the flexibility to work hours to suit workload and family but it is important to try to keep work-life and family life seperate. Sometimes diaries do clash, when I find that I have agreed to take my wife somewhere at the same time as I have scheduled an important phone call but largely it has been easy to keep a clear distinction. Maybe it has been easier for me as I started out as a tax inspector for the inland revenue. Clearly a lot of my work was confidential and I very quickly became used to not being able to discuss my work at home. This discipline has probably helped me to keep my work life and home life seperate while working from home.”

“My own work is project related. I have a manager, who also works from home, and three other home workers in my team. We have the same level of support as anyone else who works for BT. Where they may get support by chatting to someone in a nearby office we homeworkers communicate by email, phone and messaging etc. to make sure that we have all of the help we need to do our jobs well. Some people, for example if they work from home as part of a call centre team, do have to log in at the start of the day and log off at the end of the day. I am contracted to BT to work an agreed number of hours but when I choose to work those hours is up to me. Of course, this is always subject to the needs of the business.”

“I wouldn’t want to go back to the daily commute to London. I couldn’t imagine how much I would need to be paid to get me back into an office in London. I don’t feel isolated working from home as I am part of a team and in fact me and my team try get together at least once a quarter. ”

“At BT we have nearly 65,000 employees with the means to work flexibly, the change in the company has been significant and working from home is now a common feature.”

“BT is a flexible organisation anyway, which I think helps. Even in the office there are hot desks rather than conventional offices and the flexibility contributes to the fact that 97% of women returning to work after childbirth as BT offers lots of different patterns, including working from home.”

“It is really important to me, and my family, that I get to manage my own work-life balance. Being in control means that I am a lot more relaxed and a lot less tired and stressed, particularly at weekends, compared to my old commuting days. This is a huge bonus in my family – you can ask my wife!”

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