Tea, Skiving and Pyjamas – Working from Home


October 11, 2012 by benmblackman

I am delighted to welcome my very first guest blogger to Red Trouser Days – none other than Katherine Connolly from the wonderful Keeping HR Simple. Over to her…

Working from home – it’s all about tea, skiving and pyjamas.

When I tell people I work from home I generally get one of two reactions. Some people tell me how lucky I am and others say that they could never do that. I must admit that it has its ups and downs and since I’m rather fond of lists, here are my ups and downs to working from home. In no particular order. The fact that the top three “ups” are about tea and biscuits is entirely coincidental. 

The Ups

1. Tea break can be any time I like.

2. Making tea means tea for two not twenty-two like it was when I worked in a big office.

3. Biscuits are in plentiful supply (usually).

4. I can work all day in pyjamas if I want to (I don’t but just knowing I could gives me some small amount of satisfaction).

5. I don’t have to queue for the loo. Major win.

6. I don’t have to share an office with people I don’t like. Just my husband. But I do like him so that’s alright.

7. The risk of getting the cold/flu/latest contagious disease going around the office is minimal.

8. An office affair is not wholly inappropriate but actually de rigueur (see point 5).

9. No one is ever going to nick my chair and change the height settings.

10. I don’t have to lock my computer when leaving my desk to stop colleagues sending “hilarious” emails from my email address.

The Downs

1. When I’m here on my own, it can be pretty lonely. Thankfully I discovered Twitter a few years ago and now there’s always someone to talk rubbish to. Yay! @HR_Katherine

2. It’s too easy to get distracted from work. It’s alright homing from work* (i.e. doing home-related things while at work) from time to time but there’s also a need to be disciplined about working in work time.

3. It’s too easy to start early, finish late and work at weekends (although I suppose that’s true of any business owner).

4. The cleaner doesn’t tidy my desk any more. Oh that’s right, that’s because we haven’t got a cleaner.

5. It’s no fun raiding the stationery cupboard shelf when you’ve actually bought and paid for all the items yourself.

6. Some people think that working from home isn’t real work. Let me just stop you there.  It certainly is and it’s just as challenging as working in other environments.

7. Friday pub lunches are no longer “the law”. Apparently.

8. No boss means significant amounts of self-discipline and being answerable to one’s self.  Not as easy as it sounds sometimes.

9. Secret Santa’s not exactly a big secret.

10. There’s no one to pass the buck to.

Oh look – exactly the same number of “ups” as “downs”. That must mean it’s alright on balance. Well, it is. More or less. Working from home has as many challenges as working in a busy office with lots of other people – it’s just a different environment that some people will love and some won’t. For me, it’s all about recognising my strengths (tea-making) and weaknesses (being disciplined) and working out how to get the best from working at home.

Now it’s definitely time for a cuppa.


Katherine Connolly is Managing Director of Keeping HR Simple, currently running the empire from home with her long-suffering husband Jason. Together they keep HR simple for small and medium organisations while drinking tea and eating far too many biscuits. To find out more about them, visit their website and watch their about us video – THE best ‘about us’ video you will ever see by the way! http://www.keepinghrsimple.co.uk/about-us


4 thoughts on “Tea, Skiving and Pyjamas – Working from Home

  1. Mo says:

    Bonnie, bonnie lassie and laddie! Wish I´d a wee business you could recruit people for. I´m sure you´re the absolute best in the field!

  2. Emily Benet says:

    I love working from home! I read an article by Isabel Allende who said she always gets dressed up to write, make up, jewelry an’ all – because its important to treat writing as a proper job! The downside is I suspect I take a whole day and evening to do what I would have done from 9-5 because of the potential to faff about online. Sometimes I need someone standing behind me on the computer!

    • benmblackman says:

      Somebody I know, puts on ironed shirt and suit every morning and walks round block 10 minutes for ‘commute’ to work (at home). Does it at 5pm too.
      Separate work from home n all that.

  3. I find the biggest challenge is my family, they do not recognise that the end of school time is not the end of work time!!!

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