No, Janet Street Porter , working from home does not send you bonkers

I saw this in the Daily Mail today and couldn’t let it pass without comment.


Now let me get this out there, right from the beginning.  I am not denying that I am bonkers.  It is a word I use alot to describe myself.   But it is not as a result of working from home.  It is as a result of thinking that life is for living.

Anyway, I digress.

So Janet Street Porter thinks that working from home is all about babbling to the newsagent / playing games on the internet and going slightly mad.   She quotes the following:

A new study has found that working from home can be highly stressful as we try to juggle the demands of family and our jobs

I am sorry but as somebody who has worked from home for over six years it is not the working from home bit that makes it stressful.   It is working full stop.  Yes, my job has its stressful moments, but believe me, none of them are caused by the geography of my whereabouts.

I have three children in three different schools or colleges and there is no way that I could do 9 to 5 in an office.   The only way I can function as a mother is to have the flexibility that working from home gives me.

Before I left my last job that was office based (doing a job I loved but that was making me so stressed I became ill) I got 20 days holiday.  Generous you may say.   5 had to be used between Christmas and New Year.  Fair enough.   That left me with 15.

How many weeks holiday from school did my children have?   15.

I had 15 days.   They had 15 weeks.

How does that work as a working mum?    Something had to give.  I couldn’t afford thirteen weeks of child care for three children.  Plus I would never have seen the children.   They would never have had a holiday at home.   They would have been “shipped off to holiday camp” on a daily basis.   No lie in.  No whole day in pyjamas.

Who is getting stressed now?  Not just me, but the children as well.

I hate to say it Janet, but as you don’t have young children you cannot see the huge advantages of working from home.   Yes, I do sometimes work in the early evening, and I spent an hour working on Sunday afternoon, but what is the flip side of that?   Three hours watching netball or the school play.   I don’t have that flexibility if I work in an office.

My children know that I can be there for school events, to take them shopping after school, out for tea, to the cinema in the middle of the day in the school holidays, a friend can come over to play for the day.  They also know that if I do that, I disappear for an hour or two in the evening to catch up.  They understand that is how it works and have never had a problem with it because to them it is win / win.  I am around in the holidays but still earning money so we can do those things.

The joy of having a BlackBerry is that when waiting at school I can answer emails.  I can sneak off to the shops in the afternoon, I can meet a friend for lunch, and still be in touch with colleagues.

Granted, I don’t work from the shed, I have a fabulous room in the house that is converted to an office space we can all use.  Primarily it is mine but it is the site of the only desktop PC and the printer so the children do use it if they need to.  It is a comfortable space and somewhere I can focus and get on with what needs to be done.

No, working in an office for me would be a killer.   The stress that I would be under would cause me to have a nervous breakdown.   The constant feeling of guilt that I should be somewhere else would mean that I couldn’t focus on the task in hand.

People need to interact with each other, bounce ideas around and develop social skills. If we’re sent home, then our families will suffer and we’ll be lonely.

Why can we not interact from home?  I have just checked my call history on my phone today.   23 phone calls received or made.   That is on top of the client meeting on site this morning.   And does not include the 49 emails.   I have had plenty of interaction with the outside world.

And none of that includes the tweets I have sent from my personal account, or my work account.

To suggest that working from home has made you bonkers Janet says far more about you than the work, I am afraid.


My Day 15 post for #NaBloPoMo where I have committed to post every day in November.

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  • So well said.

    I, too, work from home. And every time I have to go a meeting at a client’s it reminds me *why* I work from home. It’s quiet. Or it’s noisy because I play music. I don’t have to over hear anyone else’s phone conversation. Or get pulled into the office politics.

    And I can be with my son when he’s ill. Pick a day when the two of us stay on the sofa all day (he’s not yet in school). Or happily ship him off to daycare and take a me day!

    I hope to never work in an office again.

  • Splendid post with someone telling it like it is which is always a good thing. I prefer working from home as it gives me time to focus without all that office babbling that goes on about nowt much in particular. Efficient and flexible if you ask me. Society does not enable women to work outside the home easily once they become mums and this is a travesty but don’t look like changing anytime soon.

  • What a great post – I would love to work for home for all the reasons you and other commenters have mentioned… have spent most of my maternity leave looking into how it would be feasible with no success… so will be going back to the office soon.