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I work from home and I find the advantages to working from home outweigh the advantages of working for someone else by far, however it is down to each individual and their lifestyle. I am a mum and carer and so working from home allows me to be flexible, set my own hours and earn my own money whilst doing what a normal housewife and mother needs to do.
The main advantages of working from home are -
- flexibility of time, you can work in and around your childs school hours.
- Doing something you love and making a hobby into a business
- Setting your own wages and lining your pockets rather than someone elses
- Listening only to yourself and not a boss above you ordering you
To work from home you need to be structured, you need to set time frames and not just work as and when you wish to as this in turn is nearly always a failure. Set aside a working space, preferably an office or studio dependant on what work you are doing and make sure this is the work space and hence you can leave it at the end of the day and switch off, sometimes it is very hard to leave your work behind when you are constantly within it at home.
You can set up your own business but remember there will always be a delay in gaining income from this and to make a profit is usually around 2 years but well worth it, you can buy a franchise which again has delayed profits but well worth it or work for a company from home either being an independant agent or distributor. This is a good idea for many as it means they dont have to start from scratch but can work for companies such as avon, ann summers, neales yard or utility warehouse but again it is still your own business so you need to work hard at it. I have found this to be very slow making profit margins and alot of work.
Overall do something you love and enjoy an if you can make a business out of a hobby or interest then you are half way there to enjoying your work and life balance and earning a substancial amount from it.
The main downfall I find with working from home is maintaining a strict work pattern which is very easy to fall out of and also to arrange your own tax payments and national insurance. This is the one bind yearly of my life and I loathe it! Keep track of everything, in a book and strictly write it all out each month otherwise it leads to great difficulties when it comes to the day of tax returns!
Register your business with the HMRC within three months of starting it.
Google and research everything regarding home working and how you can make extra money from home as well as starting your own business.
Why did I look for a work from home job?
I had to leave my previous job due to me been pregnant with my twins, I am not the sort of person who likes to be out of work. Since I left school I have always been in work. But when my twins came along life did get pretty busy. But I did miss the money I used to get from working.
So I decided to try and get a job somewhere, although I was not sure what I could do with 2 young children in tow. Then I found the perfect job where I could work from home on a permanent basis. This would be ideal as I could work round the children and work hours that suited me.
The job did sound too good to be true and for some reason my now ex-husband thought it was some sort of scam, I did not think so and thought I might as well apply for nothing. If I am honest I did not expect to get the job as I had no previous experience. But I would never know if I did not at least try.
After a few months though it did seem like just a pipe dream, as I heard nothing back from the company. However 6 months later I got a phone call requesting me to log in for a trial, which yes I jumped at, I was getting bored now as the kids were getting older and was too busy playing to help keep me occupied too. So I went for the hours trial, and it was nerve racking knowing that you had someone watching you although it was over a computer it is still nerve racking.
After my hours trial I was told there an then that I had the job and was given my start date. Having waited 6 months I was elated to be finally back in work, but as you can imagine, 6 months is a long time to wait so they do get lots of applicants, so it can be pretty hard to get into.
How long have I worked from home
I have now worked for the company for 4 and a half years, so the 6 month wait was well worth it.
What do I do
I am what they call a CM which stands for chat moderator. I basically contact the CM who is already in the room I am due to go in, this is to make sure there has been no problems in the room with any players, or any technical problems.
I then log into the chat room, and take the other CM off. Then basically for the duration of my shift I talk to players in the room, and in some rooms play chat games with them. This seems to keep the players happy as they get free money should they win a chat game.
We have to make sure that all players stick to the chat guidelines and remain polite to other people in the room playing. And yes we do get a few problem players now and again. Should this happen we then have a tool which is used to remove a player from chat so that they can no longer talk in the chat room.
Each of our chat rooms are moderated with a CM and we try our best to make each players visit as nice and fun as possible. We have quite a few regulars who will just come in for a chat and to see how everyone is.
That's basically all there is to it, sounds really simple yes, but it can get pretty stressful, especially if you are in a really busy room, where chat is really fast and you get loads of different players asking you questions, it can sometimes be hard to keep up with. But it is fun I prefer to be busy and that's what our job is about, been able to chat, answer questions and help in whatever way we can.
Communicating with colleagues
To communicate with other CM's we use the basic function of MSN, we can get all the information we need through there that we need to be able to do our job properly. Probably the only downside is you don't get to meet your colleagues in person. Although I have met quite a few when we have all met up and gone for a works night out.
What I like about working from home
* No travel expenses.
* Can pick hours to suit.
* Still get to spend time with your family.
* No childcare costs.
* Can watch TV while you work.
* Food and drink when ever you want.
* Only on for hours worked instead of also traveling time.
What I don't like about working from home
* No outside contact with people.
* Can get a bit boring at times.
* Don't get to meet your colleagues.
* Use more gas and electric.
Meeting my colleagues
I have met some of my colleagues twice now, which granted is not much to say how long I have worked there, but you have to remember we do have people who work all over the place, we even have a few from Spain America, Australia ect. But they also come from all over this country too, so it is harder to arrange a good night out, and a city has to be picked too. So far I have been to London for the weekend, for a Christmas party, and also to Blackpool for my bosses hen night.
Both times were great to finally meet some of the people I worked with but is very costly too. So in hindsight when you do work in a normal job you have to go out for, these nights out are take for granted and will happen more frequently, so I suppose this can be another downside too.
Tax rebate for working from home
I have recently found out that if you have no choice about working from home, then you get a tax rebate of £3 a week, which granted is not a lot but every little helps. This is amended in your tax code. Although the tax office do not tell you about the rebate you can get. I have done my job for so long and did not even know, so I am now in the process of claiming the back pay, which I can claim for the full amount of time that I have been working from home.
They pay this to you to help towards house hold bills, and once mine have gone through I am sure I will appreciate the £3 a week off my tax each week. It does not sound a lot but over the full year it does work out at £156 a year so it is well worth claiming, although it is a hassle to get the claim sorted as I had to send forms off then they wanted my contract too. But after that you don't have to claim again.
Would I change my job
Now that would depend if I was offered one that paid loads of money loll. Our wages are not great but above minimum wage, although we are not allowed to discuss what we get. At the moment though I am happy in my job, and don't think I will be changing it any time in the near future.
What rules we have to abide by in the chat room
* We all have CM names and are not allowed to disclose our real name.
* Not allowed to give out too much personal information about ourselves.
* Must make sure we are polite at all times.
* Know the rules of the site, any promotions and anything players may need to know.
My overall opinion
I love the job I do, lets face it after over 4 years of been there it must be good loll. It can be a lonely job without having colleagues there to talk to, but typing can be just as good as talking. I always have the warmth of my own home, can adjust my heating when I get too cold or too warm.
I am not my own boss by any means, and yes I could lose my job at anytime, if I did not do it right, but I don't have someone looking over my shoulder and breathing down my neck all the time, they can watch you in the chat room, and pull up chat logs to ensure you are doing a good job, but you are not aware of any of this, so you don't feel like you are getting pressured.
It took me 6 months to get into this job, but it was worth the long wait, and they do get applicants all the time, several a day, so there will always be a waiting list. But I would recommend working from home to anyone. Like any job it does have its disadvantages, but the advantages more than outweigh them.