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Teleworking in the UK?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the meanwhile,-across-the-pond dept.

Technology 301

neiljt writes "As a UK-based IT worker living about a 90-minute journey from London, I am interested in the idea of working from home, or teleworking. In the UK, however, the take-up of this practice has been less than frantic. My own immediate plan is to find work at home here in the UK, however my ultimate aim would be to find employment, which gives me the freedom to live where I choose. What barriers exist to working in the UK for a non-UK (e.g. US) employer. What about a UK citizen living outside the UK working for a UK or US employer? (Feel free to substitute your country of residence)"

"The arguments will probably be familiar to most here, but I will state them anyway, just to be sure you know how I'm thinking.

Advantages for me:

  • Save journey time of 3 hours per day
  • Save travel expenses
  • Save travel frustration (delays, crowds, mobile phone idiocy, etc.)
  • Be fresh and alert when I start work
  • Feel better at the end of the working day
  • Be at work promptly each day
  • Work in a pleasant/relaxed environment
  • Ready access to my (large) technical library
Advantages for my employer:
  • Cost savings
  • Office space savings
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased motivation
Advantages for society:
  • Reduced traffic congestion
  • Reduction in total travel and therefore pollution
There are a number of disadvantages and factors to consider, though none should be insurmountable. A couple might be:
  • Employer needs to monitor quantity and quality of work performed
  • Internet connectivity (mine currently limited to 56Kb)
The above illustrates that some take-up of the teleworking approach would be in the everybody's interests, but I am frustrated at the lack of good quality resources I have been able to find on the subject. There seems to be plenty available explaining the concept, but very little in the way of actual assignments or contacts. Of course I may have been looking in the wrong places, so if you know better (and I hope you do), please share.

It would be interesting to hear both from employers who support (or would support) this model, and from employees who have successfully negotiated employment at home.

In general, have your experiences been positive? If you have had problems, how have they been resolved? And now that the technology has been available for at least 10 years, will teleworking ever take off in the UK?"

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My experience (5, Informative)

warmcat (3545) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075014)

I am also UK based and have worked from home like this.

A couple of years ago I worked for a fabless semiconductor company coming in to their offices (50 miles away) one day a week and working the rest of the time from home. I was already set up with a cablemodem and PCs, there was no problem doing the actual work and keeping in touch by telephone. So "the problems" have "been solved", in IT-type work.

All of your advantages seem realistic, a disadvantage you'll probably have to add is to have to carefully manage your motivation. I found that a phone call and a chat would cheer me up and get me going if the news was positive, more often in that company the news was negative or depressing and it requires some mindgames then to keep yourself pouring energy into the work and not slumping in the chair thinking "what's the use?". Being on the phone regularly and documenting where you are at in a place easily visible from the office (CVS, email project dumps, etc) can deal with the monitoring problems in a good way.

However, this company had the most amazing political situations going on. I found that by not physically being there all the time there it was easy to miss out on the latest twists and turns in the ongoing sagas, and that in such a hothouse political situation that can be a big drawback. I also found that there was a tendancy by others to regard myself as less committed, simply by lack of physical presence, even though in every other way it was clear I was playing more than a full role. So there are psychological issues in not being physically present when problems and bad or good news comes up, you are not seen to be proactive when someone else is always first on the scene to fight the fire, since the call is going to come to the office.

The advantages are clear, especially if you have children. But the disadvantages make themselves felt pretty clearly too, if you cherish hopes of getting a more managerial responsibility over time, you might find this system is not helping you towards that. In the end I quit after 14 months, when the political sagas reached a point where it was clear there was no growth path for myself (and in fact anyone else based in their UK office as far as I could see, three other people also left out of a total staff of 8 while I was there).

Re:My experience (4, Interesting)

krist0 (313699) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075038)

I am living in the netherlands atm and i agree with the above, especially on the part of how when you are not constantly in the office, it affects how you are seen in the organisation, out of sight, out of mind.

Its true that there are alot of positive and negative points about working from home, the most important thing i found for myself was making a area at home that is solely dedicated to work, because if you are sitting in front of the TV with a laptop on your lap, you aren't gonna be too focused on your work.

Mind you, its also a huge time saver as well, as 2 hours work at home (say if you are trying to document something large and complicated) is greater than a whole day at office (constant interuptions)

i think working from home should only be done when its appropriate, but shouldn't be a regular thing unless you are a outside contractor (paid on completion) or if you have small kids or something like that.

Re:My experience (4, Interesting)

hbackert (45117) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075053)

I was working for the IT department of an austrian company in Tokyo. The company grew and office space is expensive, especially if you need to move to another building. The simple fix was, to let some of the developers and translators, who were working already several years at the company, work from home. After all, those do not need physical appearance and they prefer (due to the nature of work) a quiet environment. Something which is difficult to get in a japanese company.

Worked out well, as it was easy to check they are working by checking the results. The employees (not all wanted to work from home) were generally happy, some office space was saved, travel money (paid usually by the company) was saved, in the end, everyone was happy.

I think the trick in this excercise was, so let experienced workers work from home. People who are known to be able to motivate themself. And as everyone could check the productivity, the usual problem of teleworking, not being able to tell if the employee watches TV or works 8 hours, did not apply here.

Re:My experience (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075057)

I you have provided some excellent evidence that work is a social interaction between people.

Oh Yeah, you get money in there too.

It doesn't need to be a social event. But many people in the world make it that way as evidenced by the ongoing political games and rumour-mongering that goes on regularly.

The other problem you have here in America is trust. No one trusts someone who works from home. The core of the Corporation naturally assumes that you are a slacker if you are not making appearances.

Re:My experience (4, Interesting)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075080)

I also found that there was a tendancy by others to regard myself as less committed, simply by lack of physical presence, even though in every other way it was clear I was playing more than a full role.

You'll probably never get over this though. If no one can see you at work, you're not working. You could be sleeping at your desk and your coworkers would have a higher view of you than a telecommuter. I don't know if it's jealously or just plain incomprehension of the fact that someone doesn't need to sit their butt at the office to do work for the company.

It's not like you're sitting there sorting and filing papers or working at a factory. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection and most of us could do 99% of our jobs in our pajamas from home. Of course, then you get the frightening prospect that your work could just as easily be farmed off to some low-payed worker in India. It's a double-edged sword.

Re:My experience (2, Funny)

krist0 (313699) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075118)

My theory about why it doesnt happen to much is the simple fact that most managers (not ALL) have no clue what their techies are doing, or what needs to be done.

I'm a network engineer, when things work, no one complains, if its broken, i get attention, but day to day, my boss has no idea what i do (come to think of it, neither do i....well, slashdot for one thing)

the simple fact is (to quote dilbert) your boss usually knows two things about you

When you arrive/leave.
What you look like.

Take those away, they have no idea how to judge you....

its not always the case (thank you allah, buddah elvis) but usually is.

Re:My experience (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075161)

Do you think we have time to read all that drivel? There are better things to do than sitting around bitching about how you have to go to work (how about DOING YOUR JOB).

Try going outside for example. Try going on a date... there is a first time for everything. Just dont take her home to your parents basement.

Re:My experience (3, Interesting)

Cally (10873) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075177)

My experience is that the political stuff varies from company to company. Current employer has an amazingly low level of background political radiation. We have several people who very rarely come in, including someone who works from the Czech republic... and anyway, most of us (geek types) do most of our in-office communication using mail/IRC/whatever anyway. What difference does it make whether someone's on the next floor or the next country, either way you won't see them very often. So long as they answer mail, it doesn't really matter.

Nigs Too Ugly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075244)

Niggers are ugly. Sure there are a few hotties, but most look like monkeys, it's so disgusting. No wonder everybody dislikes niggs.

Salary (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075022)

If you are willing to work for $8000/yr, I think you have an excellant chance. That seems to be the current rate for teleworking in the US now.

My take on it... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075024)

Our sister office is in London. Having worked with my UK based compatriots for a few years now, I can safely say that while they have no objections about working late hours THEY DON'T DO SHIT DURING THEIR ENTIRE WORK DAY.

No wonder your empire crumbled. "Bloody" lazy asshats.

Re:My take on it... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075047)


How does it feel to know that and at the same time being able to see that our economy is doing much better than yours?

You're just pissed because you worked 80 hour weeks for fuck all and got shafted at the last right-sizing. You useless fart knocker.

Re:My take on it... (4, Interesting)

1s44c (552956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075079)

Our sister office is in London. Having worked with my UK based compatriots for a few years now, I can safely say that while they have no objections about working late hours THEY DON'T DO S**T DURING THEIR ENTIRE WORK DAY.

I work in the UK.

I hate to say it, but you are right in a lot of cases.

I see a lot of people talk about football and do very little work all day. They then start working at 5 pm just so they can be seen to be working hard when the boss walks past later.

I don't do this, I work when I'm paid to work. But I see people getting pay raises for this.

Re:My take on it... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075088)

I don't do this, I work when I'm paid to work. But I see people getting pay raises for this.

This makes you a sucker. How does it feel, sucker?

Re:My take on it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075107)

This makes you a sucker. How does it feel, sucker?

No, I lose the pay raise, but I gain 3 hours a day.

I also get the same or more work done.

Re:My take on it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075179)

that's so funny, an american calling the british lazy.

Fact (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075025)

All Brits are Homosexuals.

loneliness (4, Interesting)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075026)

sounds silly, but it isn't. you're on your own for a lot of the time. you have to do things to keep yourself from going crazy. maybe i've been really lucky, but except for a few rotten apples i've always had great co-workers. and not being able to work with them kind of sucks actually.

Re:loneliness (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075043)

you have to do things to keep yourself from going crazy

Care to elaborate on the 'things' you have to do ? Do the voices in your head make you do them ?

Re:loneliness (2, Interesting)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075105)

go out for lunch with friends in your area from time to time. call coworkers/friends. if you can find a group of teleworkers in your area, get together.

Re:loneliness (2, Insightful)

the_bahua (411625) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075125)

I don't think it's important what the "things" are. He is just making a point that if you're all by yourself, working for a living, boredom and loneliness settle in more easily.

I personally don't think I could ever work consistently from home. I need human interaction. A more pressing concern, however, is that the boredom will drive you(or me, at least) to stop working more often than it would at work.

That's one nice thing about work. You are there with a purpose. Working from home, to me, would be like wandering around a mall, in my eighties.

Re:loneliness (4, Insightful)

tigersha (151319) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075128)

Ask any frustrated new mother who sits at home with baby. The situation is similar. Raising a baby is a lot of work (and you have to be on call all the time) but there is little social contact.

Work is for many people as much a social activity as it is a financial activity. Being with coworkers who are roughly doing the same as you and working for the same goals does make a difference and being alone will driveyou crazy.

Also, the whole "discussions at the watercooler" effect tends to go away if you are not there. Those discussion are sometimes very important.

it isn't that uncommon (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075028)

the entire programming dept. of the company I work for telework and have been for the last 3 years. We go into the office 1 day a week for production meetings, though often one or more of us is on a conference call for those too. So long as your type of work allows it. I highly recommend getting one or more broadband connections to your home (I have adsl and cable in case one dies), and using a conference call service (there are many at about 8p/minute if you google for them).

Re:it isn't that uncommon (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075059)

Well thats news to me. Obviously your case is more the exception than the rule. Few employers will tolerate employees off site for 4 days a week. I sometimes wrangle a day at home to get some peace and quiet but normally I gotta be there to keep the boss, customers, operations, and the dev team happy

Re:it isn't that uncommon (1)

aunitt (121462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075078)

I can personally vouch for some of these conference services. Shout99 has a good conference service [] plus lots of other information for freelancers. Or you could try Conference So Easy [] or Call Vox [] for similar packages.

I'm lucky in that I work only a few minutes from my office but it is still very useful to be able to work at home at times. Less distractions are a wonderful thing when you have some difficult code to think through and it makes it a lot easier to get into the zone.

Conference calls?? Why not VoIP? (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075160)

It amazes me that you first pay for adsl and cable, and then you spend extra money on a conference call. Why didn't you use VoIP?

If current trends continue... (-1, Troll)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075029)

I suggest you make India your home.

Re:If current trends continue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075115)

India is quite attractive. There are fewer americans :)

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075140)

For about 200 rupees a day, you should be able to answer phones for Hewlett Packard/Compaq!

Advantages. (3, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075032)

Yes there are advantages to teleworking.
Yes it would save company money.

It will never catch on though. Bosses like to have their staff lined up in little cubicles. They like to feel in control. In the minds of most bosses empire building, politics, and wanting to look like they are in charge is important. Company money isn't.

How many times has your company wasted money on stupidity because some overpaid fool thought it was a good idea??

My company does this often.

Re:Advantages. (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075235)

It will never catch on though. Bosses like to have their staff lined up in little cubicles. They like to feel in control. In the minds of most bosses empire building, politics, and wanting to look like they are in charge is important. Company money isn't.

I've always liked having my team in the office with me and it's nothing to do with cubicals or being in control.

With teleworkers you can't just turn around and ask them a question, meetings are more of a pain (no visual aspect, you can't use a flip-board or huddle around someones pc) and whilst they might be more productive at home, everyone else who relies on something from them finds their productivity goes down because they have to take extra steps to get hold of them.

I've never had a situation where working from home has been a perminant thing for some people and I'm sure that all the above could be solved if it was. But for ad-hoc days working from home, it's often more of a problem for the co-workers than anything else.

Re:Advantages. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075236)

Gee you work for EDS too?

Try the banks (4, Informative)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075033)

Well, I live in Marlow, which to reach the centre of London is about a 90 minute trip. I'm a contractor and have worked in a few City and Docklands-based banks. Most banks now allow VPNs from home. It's not the norm to work from home, but many are pretty flexible these days.

Of course, I'm a developer. Not sure what it's like for non-pure IT staff.


Re:Try the banks (3, Insightful)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075203)

I live in Amersham, and it takes me about an hour each way into London in my car each day (I work in Covent Garden). I don't really see any problems with this kind of commuting - I don't need to get up particularly early (I need to be in the office by 09:30, so I leave around 08:00) and I usually get home at around 19:15.

I've considered teleworking (possible for maybe 30% of my work), but I ENJOY London and all it's facilities, I don't want to be stuck in a small town (even a nice one like Amersham or Marlow) all of the time. You've got to ask yourself, what would you DO with that extra 2 or 3 hours? I'm pretty sure I'd just waste it myself.

In Layman's Terms... (4, Funny)

Ridge (37884) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075036)

Advantages for me:

Save journey time of 3 hours per day - (I can sleep in an extra 3 hours)
Save travel expenses - (Forget the car, I can use my Snoopy slippers)
Save travel frustration (delays, crowds, mobile phone idiocy, etc.) - (I only have to trip over my dog)
Be fresh and alert when I start work - (Morning crack and coffee)
Feel better at the end of the working day - (I'm drunk by 0930)
Be at work promptly each day - (Work starts when I wake up... bitch)
Work in a pleasant/relaxed environment - (Did I mention my crack and coffee?)
Ready access to my (large) technical library - (Google)

Advantages for my employer:
Cost savings - (I can browse for porn at home)
Office space savings - (No need for a cubicle, I don't have to leave bed)
Improved productivity - (crack!)
Increased motivation - (I can say 'fuck you' to my employer and not be heard)

Advantages for society:
Reduced traffic congestion - (I'm a maniac driver, if I don't have to leave home no one will die due to my poor driving skills)
Reduction in total travel and therefore pollution - (When I soil my britches no one will notice)

There are a number of disadvantages and factors to consider, though none should be insurmountable. A couple might be:

Employer needs to monitor quantity and quality of work performed - (That's what webcams are for, watch while I surf porn sites, smoke crack, drink my coffee, and soil myself)
Internet connectivity (mine currently limited to 56Kb) - (My employer should cough up some dough so I can get a broadband connection so I can be more productive in my porn browsing)

Re:In Layman's Terms... (2, Funny)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075090)

Only on /. could this be insightful.

Re:In Layman's Terms... (3, Funny)

caluml (551744) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075095)

Insightful? It's the crack references that got the mods going on that one...

But how can you annoy your co-workers?? (1, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075039)

We all know how fun work is.

Around lunch time when I leave the office I especially love to turn my speakers on full blast and execute a perl program that turns makes Mozilla go here [] 10 minutes after I leave.

I also make sure sure Xscreensaver is on with a password so my other coworkers can shut it off.

However I found my speakers in the parking lot with piss all over them after I did this. My boss permanently took awhile my priveldge to use speakers after that incident. :-(

Re:But how can you annoy your co-workers?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075104)

So, did you find out who pee'd on your speakers?

Re:But how can you annoy your co-workers?? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075169)

My boss. :-)

But which is better: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075040)

A) Teleworking in the UK


b) Sex with a mare?

If you really want to work at / very near home... (5, Insightful)

jlanng (130635) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075044)

.. and you want that to be somewhere nice... The best option is to start your own business.

Re:If you really want to work at / very near home. (1)

Benm78 (646948) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075093)


Working in your own business has many more advantages, but some disadvantages as well. You should consider trading security for freedom if you choose this option.

The good thing is, with borders becoming more open and broadband internet more common, it will probably get easier to do so. At least within the EU, which is more and more becoming one big country rather than a collection of small ones.

Although that development itself has a myraid of disadvantages, it could improve freedom of choice regarding residence and clientele.

Re:If you really want to work at / very near home. (4, Insightful)

inflex (123318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075127)

Starting your own business is great. . . but don't expect overnight success. I've been working for the last 3 years almost 'non-stop' apart from a change of country and wedding.

Really, it depends on your personality. Do you have sufficent self-motivation, can you whip your own butt into doing work when you'd really rather just laze in front of the TV.

It's a choice - do you want the comfort of a consistant (??) pay cheque but without the freedom of time-choice, or vice-versa.

I recently had the opportunity to telecommute if I was to become an employee of another company, doing almost the same thing I'm doing now - but, then it struck me - the most important thing to me is the ability to do as I please, I'm just exceedingly fortunate that I manage to still make enough sales.


I do this, but it takes time (4, Insightful)

moebius_4d (26199) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075045)

I work from home full-time, and make a good rate doing it. (Occasionally I have business travel, to client sites, say about 10 days/year.) I work for an software consultancy.

The way I got here was to work for this group full-time on-site on a number of different engagements over a few years. When the first opportunity to work at home came up, I took it. I provide my own hardware and net connectivity.

Since I have proven my ability to get results and to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer, I got this chance. Since I still make my dates and satisfy the customer, I am still afforded this opportunity.

It has its downsides, no doubt. My 2-year old daughter doesn't always understand when I can't interrupt myself and come do what she wants. But the time I've been able to spend with her has been priceless, from coming up to eat lunch with her, to dropping by the pool in the afternoon for a half-hour swim, it's been wonderful.

I consider myself lucky and work hard to keep this opportunity in my life.

Re:I do this, but it takes time (-1)

(TK)Dessimat0r (668222) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075062)

You peedophile, dropping into the pool with your 2 year old daughter. Do you then attempt to sexually rape her?

Your kind should be locked up behind bars.

Thinks about the problems as well (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075049)

As someone who works from home part of each week, there are a few disadvantages to consider.
  • a phone conference isn't anywhere near as effective as a face to face meeting when discussing ideas between more than 2 people
  • you have to have a sensible collaboration stratergy - on several occasions 2 people working on the same file have lost each others changes due to not knowing what each was working on
  • having someone to bounce ideas off sat "next to you" is often helpful

Working (from) abroad (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075051)

The best way is to set up your own company, being employed by a foreign company is a PITA, both for you as well as their HR department.

Re:Working (from) abroad (4, Informative)

vidarh (309115) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075194)

It can also be tax heaven. For people working in the UK and considering working for a foreign company, or for that matter even doing consultancy work in the UK, I would recommend looking into offshore Employee Benefit Trusts, and consultancies that can help you with them. There's at least one Isle of Man based one that can handle all of it for you for a small percentage of income (unfortunately can't remember the name).

Essentially the deal is that the UK tax system is heavily rigged towards rich people (aren't they all, but the UK more than most), but Employee Benefit Trusts can often be utilized by mere mortals too.

If you are employed by an offshore company, and that company pay you a salary, you still have to pay normal income tax. However, nothing forces the company to pay you everything as salary. Instead, they can pay you a "low" salary (low for the IT sector) of up to about £20k-£25k a year, which will be taxed at the lower tax bands, and pay an amount into an employee benefit trust every three months or so.

Technically the trustee is independently deciding what the money should go to - that is a requirement for trusts to be able to pay out to UK residents in a tax efficient manner. However the company will recommend that the money be paid to the employee (you) in a tax efficient manner. Since the trustee is legally bound to act in the beneficiarys best interest, it would be almost unprecented for the trustee not to do so.

The net result can be that with proper planning you end up paying 15-20% income tax at most, even with salaries 4-5 times the UK national average, or more.

It could in theory be used if you're working full time for a UK company too, but I doubt they would be ready to take the hassle, as you would need to be employed by some offshore shell company for it to work.

UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075052)

British employers are very sceptical over this, because they trust their employees least, second to USA.

i'm a web monkey, working from home in the UK (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075055)

as other posters have stated, its hard to keep the motivation up when you work at home. the company i work for also doesn't really have any offices so we don't do meetings etc - we just stay in touch by idling on irc all day :)

3 hours per day... Sitting in traffic... (4, Interesting)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075063)

5 days per working week is 15 hours per week.

Assume 25 days holiday per year which is 5 weeks, so 47 working weeks/year times 15 hours per week is 705 hours per year spent sitting in traffic...

Assuming 16 waking hours per day, you spend 44 days per year of your awake life just sitting in traffic. A month and a half? That's gotta be fun.

Assuming a working lifetime of say 40 years of the same, that'd be 1760 days, or nearly 5 years of your life you'd spend sitting in a cage, listening to Chris Tarrant on the radio.

Now, isn't that an interesting, exciting, useful, challenging and productive way to spend 5 years of your life?

Re:3 hours per day... Sitting in traffic... (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075131)

Assuming 16 waking hours per day, you spend 44 days per year of your awake life just sitting in traffic. A month and a half? That's gotta be fun.

It can be. Honestly.

How? Well, I work during the day. I have a 16-month old daughter to look after when I get home, and I often have paperwork too. The travel time can be quite relaxing in comparison - time to sit on your own for a bit, listen to some trouble. If you're capable of relaxing rather descending into road-rage, then it actually can be a good time. A break to get a moment's thinking time for yourself.


Re:3 hours per day... Sitting in traffic... (-1)

(TK)Dessimat0r (668222) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075154)

How do you look after her? Give her a nice bone up the arse? Touch her breasts?

You make me sick, wierdo.

Re:3 hours per day... Sitting in traffic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075176)

Your uncle is gay and your grandparents suck.

Old fashioned teleworking (2, Insightful)

Captain Pedantic (531610) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075064)

You could move to near where your place of work is. In doing so you would....

Save journey time of 3 hours per day

Save travel expenses

Save travel frustration (delays, crowds, mobile phone idiocy, etc.)

Be fresh and alert when you start work

Feel better at the end of the working day

Be at work promptly each day

You would also find that you will get better connectivity than 56kbit.

He can't afford the accomodation (4, Informative)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075087)

A tiny 2 bedroom flat in London city center can cost £200k-£500k GBP which would be $320k-$800k.

Re:He can't afford the accomodation (1, Funny)

stephenbooth (172227) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075217)

And he probably wouldn't save that much travelling time. At peak times pavements can get so jammed it often takes 30 minutes or more to walk a couple of hundred yards.


Nor can we (0, Redundant)

akadruid (606405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075254)

Whereas an identical flat within 1 1/2hrs commute costs £120-£350k.
UK average salary: £27,000
Minimum salary to buy the cheapest as a first time buyer: £35,000.

Is there any link between 9% voting turnout in 20-24 yr old bracket and UK government total ignorance of issues that affect this group? Hell yeah.

Another interesting fact: the group most likely to vote, 50-55 yr old bracket, own the high %age of property in the UK.

Current soaring UK house prices are not an accident - they are a deliberate government policy.

The ratio of house prices to salaries in the UK is now at it's highest since records began in 1900.

Re:He can't afford the accomodation (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075260)

I used to have a ONE bedroom flat in Great Titchfield St in Westminster - it took me about 15minutes to walk to work. That flat cost slightly less than my current 3 bedroom house in Amersham, though it does take me an extra 45mins to get to work...

still, they collect the rubbish 2 or 3 times a day in Westminster...

Re:He can't afford the accomodation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075268)

Total rubbish. I'm renting a slightly out of city center property (2 bedroom with garden) for £675UKP/month

2 bedroom flat around here is about £140,000 tops!

Re:Old fashioned teleworking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075092)

Thats fine if you can afford a £2M 1 bedroom broom cupboard in the centre of London... sadly, most developers cannot.

Re:Old fashioned teleworking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075106)

You're only stuck with 56kbps if you live in the middle of Nowhere, Devon. If he's 90 minutes outside of any city or town he very likely has access to ADSL and probably Cable too.

Let me guess, you live in Nowheere, Devon and you and a whole other two people have complained to BT becuase they won't enable your exchange?

Re:Old fashioned teleworking (3, Insightful)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075132)

Commuting is the most pathetic human activity.

It is akin to migratory animals who have no choice but to spend half their lives moving south, then the other moving north.

Moving house to be near work is nearly as bad as being a migrant beast. This is the 21stC ... why should we still live to work. Whatever happened to all of the "increased leisure time" that technology was supposed to bestow on us all??

Bah!! Work To Live - Not Live To Work!!


I work remotely sometimes (1)

danormsby (529805) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075067)

I work for a company that is based in San Diego but I'm based at a client in Stevenage, UK. I frequently take a day off from Stevenage and work at home over a VPN to the San Diego machines. I don't think I'd like to work from home full time, but it is great to have the option to do this.

Savings for the employer are that when there is a traffic jam or freak snow storm, the employee can continue to work from home.

I found it incredibly depressing (4, Interesting)

mark2003 (632879) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075071)

I have worked for several consultancies, including big 5, who all allowed home working, mainly due to the fact that they never had enough hot desks in the offices.

Whilst for some tasks it works really well, e.g. reading documentation, writing presentations etc., for most work I find that it inhibits communication between colleagues. Communication (or lack of) is one the biggest issues that companies face. Many companies spend a fortune implementing all kinds of systems and processes to improve communication, but often the most efficient and cheapest way is to have the entire project sitting at adjacent desks. People then just tend to chat about problems, solutions etc.

Personally though my biggest problem was sitting at home by myself for an entire day with no-one to talk to. I also found it much harder to motivate myself and would often just put things off while I watched day time TV. Maybe I'm just a lazy b*stard but I don't think I'm that unusual.

Re:I found it incredibly depressing (2, Interesting)

inflex (123318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075139)

I sympathise - I'm in the same situation. I've got $$$ waiting on some new [relatively simple] features to come out in my product, but even the promise of money just doesn't kick start my zest to code.

Instead, I sit here watching slashdot hoping that someone will post a recepie for a major fog-clearing, zest inducing power juice.

Excuse my while I now go get beaten up in Tekken III by my wife.

Re:I found it incredibly depressing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075150)

I presently work for a small company ~ 10 staff. Most of us work from home. After about 12 months out of an office environment, I was starting to get quite depressed.

Not having the other people around for the majority of your working day, can IMHO start to effect your health.I wouldn't recommend teleworking as a long term situation.

Further more, when the team has to be 'on project', it feels 10x more productive to have the team together in one space.

Just my throughts...
New Zealand residient, looking forward to working in the UK later this year.

Re:I found it incredibly depressing (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075231)

"Many companies spend a fortune implementing all kinds of systems and processes to improve communication, but often the most efficient and cheapest way is to have the entire project sitting at adjacent desks. "

M&M mars does this.

No cubicles! Just desks and rows of desks for groups of employee's who are on the same project. Some of the programmers even share one long foldout table so they can work together if the group is tiny enough.

Hell even the CEO does not have private office. They have standard desks just placed at the front of the big room so other executives can talk to them if they need to.

Its a great idea.

People worried about productivity? Well if you goof off everyone will see. Also communication like what you mentioned is always there. I would much rather have this then cubicles.

Cubicles are ugly and make me uncomfortable. They are almost slave like in a way. Its like a tiny personal prison.

Re:I found it incredibly depressing (1)

mark2003 (632879) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075247)

I've never had a cube or a office - it makes it really dificult to surf the internet rather than work :(...

You are very right about the communication though, we all sit here chatting about work over our monitors. Although having a CEO without an office is a bit dodgy - how do they have discussions about financials, redundancies and all those other things that need to done in private? At most companies anyone involved in finance or HR has to have privacy, the former so that general employees cannot be accused of insider trading, leak news to the press etc. and the latter so they can slag everyone off, plan how they will fire everyone and generally be really nasty without people knowing about it.

Re :Teleworking in the UK? (3, Interesting)

TallEmu (646970) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075072)

Disadvantages for you I can think of are timezones and exchange rates.

The A$ is currently worth not very much at all (too lazy to look it up) so working "over here" would not be possible - A$50 is a decent enough hourly rate in Sydney, which I think is about 16 pounds and around US$25. I doubt, therefore that someone in the US or UK would want to Telework to Aus. (but contact me with outsourcing opportunities *grin*).

Timezones. I used to have an office in Switzerland (I am based in Sydney) during the .com boom times. It was hell trying to co-ordinate properly. Language, culture, timezones and the asshole quotient (French people) made it difficult to work effectively - and we had an office!!

It is amazing that an 8 hour time difference and a lack of understanding on the other side made it difficult. I was regularly attending meetings at 2am and staying back until 7 or 8 on a daily basis. We couldn't change hour working hours much as we had Aussie customers to deal with.

Now I am working from home by necessity, and I must say I find it more effective, but this is a factor of who I work with rather than the location.

Motivation is key. Time management is a must. Install instant messaging client to reduce comms cost and provide a feeling of connectivity - you can page people to say hi, ask a question.

Working from home you can also get a sense of Isolation, of not being part of the "real world".

It was good recently that I had to go work in the city, put on a suit and get on the train. I enjoyed the variation, it got me out of the house - and also made me appreciate my lair more when I got back home!

Re:Re :Teleworking in the UK? (1)

TallEmu (646970) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075086)

Sorry, I forgot to add... I really really miss my whiteboard. Great to grab a few of the team and a whiteboard to collaborate.

Telephone doesn't cut it, regular meetings help, but I still miss my whiteboard. Even though the markers hardly ever worked.

Working at home.... (2, Informative)

cymantic (600615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075073)

Watch out - if you work from home the employer is responsible for making sure that the environment is suitable for working in. This might not mean a saving for the employer if they have to kit you out with chair/desk etc at home as well as at work (if you have to come in every now and then), they will at least have to send someone round to check out your _office_ space.

I'm currently managing to work from home ok, even though it's my three kids holiday.

Advantages for me are plenty (especially for avoiding pointless commuting), advantages for work..... well as a programmer I get disturbed less at home so can get more work done, it also means I'm available to do any work any hour of the day/night.

Broadband connection, VPN is essential though. I have done bits from home over 56kbps and it's not fast enough for real work, although using citrix might help you there.

To all employers (3, Informative)

caluml (551744) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075081)

I was just thinking about this today, coincidentally. I've noticed that I've taken less sick days since I started working for a very employee-friendly company that allows me to work from home if there is work that I can do at home.
I think it boils down to the fact that some days, when you wake up, you just don't feel like getting up. On those days, at a company that doesn't allow home working, you might be tempted to ring in, and call a sickie. But if you are allowed to work from home, you would probably roll back to sleep for a few minutes, and then get up, and do some work from home.

The company I work for also provides me with company paid ADSL which terminates in the lab I work for, thus meaning that I can simply plug in to the lab network at any time. This has a bonus for them, as quite often, at weekends, and evenings, if I think of something, rather than wait until the next working day, and/or maybe forgetting it by then anyway, I will log in, and do some work in my own time.

I really appreciate the way this company treats its employees, and I think the motto is: Trust your employees, don't treat them like slaves, and they will work happier, and be more productive. At least, that's how I'm finding it.
I know someone that worked through a whole weekend for free, moving servers from one part of the city to the other - from 9 am to 10pm on both days. They arrived at work on Monday about 5 minutes late, and the boss pulled them up about it. Forget thanking them for their hard work (for free!) over the weekend. They quit that job soon after, and got a job with a funky little tech company, and now work harder, as their work is appreciated.
Obviously, I understand that some kinds of work can't be done from home, but I think in the majority of case, where people write documents, support networks, answer phone calls, they should be trusted with the opportunity to work from home for say one day a week.

I digressed slightly towards the end there, didn't I? But I see working from home as an example of how a company treats its employees.

I've done this before (2, Interesting)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075082)

Basic Field support job... basicly a business where time tied to a desk was lost money.

Most of my best work was done from home. My computers were faster, my connection was faster, I had software the boss wouldn't buy, and saved a 4hour commuite from hell. It wasn't every day I was at home, but about 1/2 the work week was done from the home office, well till eventually I gave up on the whole going to the office.

The boss didn't really approve though... basicly under the old impression of, "if I can't see you working, you are not working", but at the very least had server logs, VPN access, database access to somewhat justify why I wasn't in the office. Simple answer, "I was working" It was honestly a case where it was pointless to hit traffic go to the office, just to check my e-mail to see what projects were schedualed for the day, then drive back home to complete them.

But eventually there was an argument over paying me for work done in my home office, basicly a documented claim in e-mail about how he doesn't pay for what I do on my own time, which was fine by me, so I just billed the clients directly rather then going through him, and made more money. He wasn't happy, but it was his choice.

But the point is that telecommuting can work, provided you don't have an employer who's a total bozo. In my case simple call forwarding to my mobile, or mobile to my land line, gave the illusion of a tradidational office setting. Phone the office, need to talk to the staff, the staff answers. (Little diffrence in America being the cell holder pays for the air time, never the caller, but the office switchboard should accomplish this illusion quite well). I know also that the network known now as t-mobile supported fax to mobile services, where the subscriber who recieved a fax on the mobile could route it to any number of their choosing, again making it easy for the staff not to be near the physical office fax.

I thought the term was telecommuting. (2, Informative)

k03 kalle (669378) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075083)

Isn't the proper term telecommuting? Has this changed while I was in Basic training? Or is this a UK type of thing...? ;) -kalle

Work barriers... (2, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075084)

"What barriers exist to working in the UK for a non-UK (e.g. US) employer.What barriers exist to working in the UK for a non-UK (e.g. US) employer."

1. Cricket: Learn the rules of this (supposedly) gentleman's game. And no, this is not baseball played with a smaller heavier ball. It isn't a chirping insect either.

2. Conversation: Folks in the UK are quick to note when you're being sarcastic. They're also a bit more relaxed, and can laugh at themselves. Not so high strung as the folks across the pond.

3. Beer: The local flavors are so different, and the temperature varies a lot.

4. Dating: More 'F' geeks around, more opinionated as well.

5. Football hooliganism: Forget NBA, this is the UK. Don't venture miles near a match, especially the big leaguers.

6. Getting online: is much more expensive, but lots better and smoother in the UK.

7. Driving, power voltage, frequency, etc..

A few more, but I'm in a rush.

Re:Work barriers... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075159)

8. Cars: Most American cars probably wouldn't fit on the roads. It would be a bit of a squeeze getting them into the country

9. Language: Let's put it this way - You do not want to venture out wearing pants a vest and suspenders in the UK.

10. Transport: Public transport (with the exception of night bus services) tends not to work. Don't attempt to take a trainunless you take at least 3 day's worth of rations.

11. ????

12. Profit.

You need a visa. (1, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075085)

You'll be dealing with the INS. As self-serving a bunch of human beings as you're likely to encounter. They make sure you wear brown lipstick because they have some things (a visa and the power to toss you onto the next plane to nowhere,) only one of which you want.

It doesn't get worse than that unless you're black, don't dress in visibly wealthy "old money" style and just went through a stop sign...

America is a great place as long as you have money... Its pretty damn dismal when you don't.

it's nice but hard to find (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075091)

I did that for a while and it's great (and I'd like to do it again) but it takes a place where you can work without other bits of life getting in the way. If you have kids, annoying roommates, annoying family, or whatever you may find it hard to concentrate. Also you don't get as much freedom as you might want because if you live out of state or out of the country it causes tax problems (and other kinds of redtape)for your employer (unless they are big enough to already have offices in that area).

I liked it rather well for system admin work but found that my day to day life was to distracting to stay in the zone for programming work. If you have a way to block those things out then you should be fine. On the other hand I found that I worked almost constantly because I enjoy my work and without having to drive to and fro and work precise hours I felt less of a sepperation between work and play.

As for advice of how to get such work.. good luck unless your current employer or someone you know is willing to hire you to telecommute. With the economy in general in a piss poor condition it's hard to be picky about what jobs you take. On the other hand that can be a good bargaining chip if you find a willing listener.. a lot of money can be saved by not needing to pay for extra office space and so on.

Broadband (3, Informative)

benjiboo (640195) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075099)

The biggest issue in the UK is the availability of broadband in rural areas. With a bit of luck, as more people want to take up teleworking, this might help smaller towns and villages reach the critical mass for telco installation of broadband to be cost effective....

Set up your own company (2, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075103)

It's really not difficult to set up your own company in the UK. Also, you don't have to live in the UK to be director of a company based in the UK.

Having your own company gives you much more flexibility than just working for a single employer. It also gives you more flexibility with regards to how you pay your taxes.

Where you live can be transparent to your clients - you can have a UK-based address with someone to answer and redirect your phone calls quite cheaply. Your clients don't necessarily need to know you're coding whilst sitting by the pool with a cool drink in the south of France or wherever. Go for it.

EU (2, Interesting)

Anime_Fan (636798) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075110)

What barriers exist to working in the UK for a non-UK (e.g. US) employer.

I don't know about being a US resident working in the US (it's outside the boundries of the European Community)...

For the EU, there would be no problem in attaining a permit to work (it is after all the EU)... The one thing I'm unsure of is taxes (here in Sweden, you pax taxes to the municipality you live in (as opposed to the one you work in)... The employer on the other hand pays taxes based on where you work.

I'm not really in to tax laws between countries and such... *Sigh*

Another my experience (5, Interesting)

swordfishBob (536640) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075112)

I'm in Australia, and I telework 4 days a week. Actually, I telework about 6 days a week and turn up in the office on the other day, but have very flexible hours. I've also done some technical writing for a usa company. (free plug: Situation: I got my setup as I have to provide after-hours remote support to our manufacturing sites during the production season (cotton harvest, March-July). Also, I do both development and network admin tasks, and cannot focus on the devt with all the interruptions in the office. Still being in place once a week does help the relations with other staff - even without realising it we tend to give people more credibility in person than remotely. "The office" is only half an hour away, but that's "the next town" - ie around here it's considered a hassle driving that long to get to work. otoh, half of "the office" (including my manager) is being relocated to another town 5 hours away. I got the option to choose, and chose to stay. Most didn't get an option, they were told. I started with a modem-router, then moved to ISDN, and now ADSL, which I've ramped up to the highest speed available here. (I do at times download huge fixpacks and tools under development subscriptsions with IBM and MS). Foreign Work I was approached via email to do some tech writing, by someone who observed my activity on a relevant newsgroup. I'm paid a flat rate per article of a certain size, in $US. (The jolly exchange rate movements have wiped 20% off my current invoice - dang!) This has worked fairly well, with an added bonus that I can write while my editor is asleep, giving next-day turnaround on minor edits. I have to declare the income as "other foreign income", ie it doesn't fit in any normal categories on the tax form. Actually the tax office wouldn't even know unless they audited my bank account records. Lifestyle Working from home with flexible hours has been great, as I have two young children. It meant I could be at home with #1 while my wife was in hospital with #2. It also means my wife can do part-time work. The lifestyle thing can go either way. There's the danger that you won't self motivate. There's also the risk that you end up spending every waking moment in front of the computer, working, feeling no other sense of identity. You can start in your pyjamas and forget to get dressed. (That's if it actually matters). It works for some. It doesn't work for others. Having a dedicated "work area" is essential, especially if anyone else lives in the house. It's then easy to define "I'm at work now" by which room you're in. Finding work It's just another arena for the same question - how do you find work at all? It can depend on contacts, on reputation, on spending time hunting or you might just fluke it like I did. It depends on managers' perceptions and requirements. Good Luck. I hope it works for you, but don't forget to go meet people sometimes :-)

Re:Another my experience (1)

swordfishBob (536640) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075120)

Humble apologies for forgetting the

's and hitting the wrong button.

out of London (3, Interesting)

Cally (10873) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075114)

I'm also in the UK, coincidentally about 90 mins from (central) London. Before I took this job I'd lived & worked in London for 8 years. I was/am amazed at the way everyone seems to accept spending hours a day sitting in car commuting. Give me trains any day - you can read, sleep, finish that last minute report... :)

Some of my group are often on the road visiting clients (mostly doing firewall installs but also presales and other consultancy); personally I'm looking forward to the time I get myself some proper accomodation, work pay for broadband and I can do my (pentesting) work from home at least some of the time. That said, I'd go bonkers if I never came into the office at all.

Collaborative development (2, Interesting)

benjiboo (640195) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075129)

Do you think we'll ever see virtual software houses taking off, e.g. a bunch of developers all over the world who never meet in person, developing applications *and* actually making any money??

It would be interesting to hear if open source developers think that this might work - I imagine it's a similar style of working albeit with different motivations....

Re:Collaborative development (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075148)

I believe the team that produced Gunman (a game from Valve using the Half-Life engine) didn't meet everyone in person until the release party.

oh come on... (1)

boogy nightmare (207669) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075162)

I've seen the file 'The Net'

of course its feasible other wise they would not have made such a realistic in depth computer movie about it.


Telecommuting (1)

herwin (169154) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075171)

If you can find a DSL connection and an employer who likes the idea, you should have no difficulty. On the other hand, US employers are rather leery of employing teleworkers in the UK. Two reasons--UK tax rules, and the fact that most US workers do not have a contract and most do in the UK.

Working from home (3, Insightful)

schouwl (658811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075185)

Please thing of that you will become lonely and strange if you do that for longer time.

Move to the city or find a job close to home.

I am currently living in Tokyo a city that is 3 times bigger than London so I know what I am talking about for NOT commuting.
It is "normal" for Japanese to commute 1 1/2 hours each way after working 12 hours here.


Re:Working from home (1)

schouwl (658811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075196)

I forgot to tell that we have 12 Mbit internet connection here for less than you get a 512 kbit for in Europe.

TAX / VISA / Permits (1)

NeonSpirit (530024) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075190)

Whilst it may be technicaly possible to work from anywhere ( if the job allows ) there are numerous TAX / VISA etc reasons why an employer may not want cross border working.

For example: you are a UK citizen working for a US company remotely, who pays you? Who do you pay income tax to? Who is responsible for paying NI? Do you need a work permit / VISA? Also with the time difference between the UK and the US the woking day overlap may be as little as a few hours, this makes scheduling a pain.

All these issues can be resolved, but you will have to be an exceptional emloyee to make it worth the employers time and/or effort.

Within the EU things will be easier, but maybe not easy enough, and then there is the potential language barrier :-)

Re:TAX / VISA / Permits (1)

TallEmu (646970) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075237)

I think if you are a UK citizen working for a US company (remotely) then, the following would apply:

VAT is not chargeable as it is an "export" sale.

US company pays your company.

As an employee of "your company" you are responsible for NI, VAT (on inputs, so mostly refunds I imagine) and PAYE. Mike

I frequently work from home (1)

HidingMyName (669183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075216)

However, there are several times a week that I must report on site (I work for a University). Working from home means that you aren't on site for customer support duties, which can be important for small employers. From your point of view, your desire to work for international companies (e.g. U.S.) may be unrealistic. The tech sector in the U.S. is having a very tough time of it for the last 3 years, and unless you have very special skills, there is plenty of local talent that you will have to compete against. Competing on a price basis is going to be tough because much off site development is being shipped to India in the U.S. due to a talent pool (IIT grads are strong and labor costs are lower).

Management is the barrier IMO (1)

objwiz (166131) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075218)

In the US, anyways, it seems like the real problem to getting to work at home is managment. Most managers think if they can't see you (wiggling your mouse around) then they can't know if you actually working.

Most IT management philosophies do not consider managing progress or productivity by the state of the code. They are based around managing hours a person works.

It's interesting to note that in the US sales organizations have done extremely well implementing work at home. I attribute this success to the fact that sales organgizations manage by results (sales $$$) not hours at the office.

Beware... (3, Insightful)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075220)

If you can work from home, then you're proving to your employer that someone in Asia could work from their home for 1/5 your salary. There is a good chance you will ever find yourself unemployed as soon as it's "working really well for the company".

The reality is your employer was simple beta testing its remote worker processes.

London Teleworkers... (-1, Offtopic) (677427) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075224)

I'm a freelance illustrator and web designer working from home in London. I'm new here (from Canada), and I've found it challenging so far. I'm pretty committed to home-working because we'll be having kids in a year or two, and we'd both like to be home with them. I've freelanced before, and I've always enjoyed the freedom, and the selfishness of being able to work for 8 hours straight without interuption. The downsides are the loneliness, the bouts of no motivation, etc. This stint has been especially difficult so far, because I'm suddenly in a new country with no contacts. If there are any other people working from home in London who would like to get together for a drink, e-mail me at

A nightmare.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075267)

Having worked for a year as a Network Consultant from home, I found it to be a nightmare.

I still needed to travel to the office at least once a week for meetings, or to trial equipment in the employers labs.

I ended up working longer hours, and was made to feel bad if I left home after my contractual 5pm finish time. Of course, you can claim tax breaks through having a home office, but this just adds complication to your tax return...

The biggest thing I noticed, was not feeling part of the 'team'. I could turn up to events, and no-one would know who I was....pretty bad considering I brought in a large part of their profits!!

I wish anyone else trying tele-working out the best of luck!

catbert awaits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075270)

if you are thinking about working for a US employer, you will either want to find someone who is already in the UK, or work by contract. to pay you as an employee, they have to pay taxes, and there's no way that someone is going to want to take that on just for you.

there are tons of great people on the street right now. you will need to use your network. there's no way that an unusual working condition is going to get past hr, no matter what the benefits for the company might be.
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