As a full-time carer, it’s challenging to be able to hold on to a job. Responsibilities around your caring duties and the unpredictable nature of the situation make it difficult to commit to a specific job. For many of the carers we work with, finding and securing jobs that offer flexible solutions like part-time, shift work and working from home are exactly what they need.

Working from home is often the only way many of our carers can work, as it not only provides an income, but allows for the highest level of flexibility; you can work the hours that suit you, whether it’s early morning or late at night.  And it’s never been easier. With tools such as Skype, Zoom, Google Docs, Xero and Quickbooks Accounting and others, the way business is conducted has undergone a revolution due to technological advancements.

Today, many, if not most employers are not only open to the idea of work from home, but actively encourage it. In addition to being able to access a much wider pool of talent who would otherwise be unable to work, business owners are able to minimise overhead costs incurred through office space, equipment, etc.

Whilst working from home is a practical and positive alternative to rigid job schedules, it requires a high level of self-motivation and discipline to ensure that you get the job done.

Here are some tips to ensure that home working is worthwhile and effective.

As far as possible, set specific work hours that allow you to focus on your job but around your caring responsibilities each day. For example, if the person you are caring for goes to bed by 9:00pm, you can work every evening from 9:30-11:30pm or if they take a nap in the afternoon, you could work afternoons. There will be times when you can’t keep to the times you’ve set, but overall try and stick to a routine.

Communicate your hours to your employer and manage their expectations so that they are aware that you are not available at all times.

Set yourself daily tasks and track your time. Take some time each morning to plan your activities and be aware of how much time you are spending on each task. If you are doing client-based work, make a note of the time spent on each client and maintain a time sheet.

Prioritise your tasks. Different activities have different priorities. Complete your most important tasks first. In fact, plan your most important task the evening before and get to it first thing in the morning. Batch your emails and telephone calls so that you don’t spend all day responding to them. Set aside 3-4 time slots through the day to catch up with your correspondence.

Use any and all available technology to increase productivity and save time. There are plenty of apps that can manage your calendar, meetings, to do’s, notes and documents. Use them; they make working from home more efficient and stream-lined. Some of the most popular apps are Evernote,, Fantastical 2, Due and Dropbox.

Recreate the work environment. If possible, avoid working from the kitchen table or the couch. Find a space in your home that you can exclusively have as your workspace with your desk, computer, printer and any other equipment you may require. Make this work area is as quiet and comfortable as you need it to be with adequate lighting and heating and one where the environment is most conducive to your productivity, perhaps with some plants and paintings.

Get rid of the clutter especially on your desk. A clear desk symbolises a clear mind allowing for thoughts and processes to flow smoothly. It also saves large amounts of time as you would know where everything is. Eliminate anything you don’t need for your work.

Dress for success. It’s very tempting to ignore your “look” and spend all day in your pyjamas or loungewear. However, it takes you away from being in “work mode” and leaves you open to distractions. According to Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and fashion psychologist,

“When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.” 

Don’t ignore ergonomics. You cannot be effective if you are not physically comfortable. Do some research on the sort of chair you need and adjust its height so that you are not slouching and straining your back or neck. Long term aches, pains and fatigue in the workplace are often caused by poor posture.

Make sure you take regular breaks. Taking frequent breaks can increase productivity and creative thinking and prevent stress and exhaustion. A short walk or run around the block or a trip to the shops might be a good way to rejuvenate yourself.

Working from home can be very lonely. So, try and step out to meet friends and family as and when you can. If your employers are organising a social event, if possible, join them. It will give you a sense of being part of a wider team and a sense of belonging.

If work from home is a route to getting back to work that interests you, please give us a call on 0208 868 5224. At Working for Carers, we work closely with both carers and employers to find the best solutions to help carers get back into work. Our team of expert advisors will assess your needs and support you in the areas you need help. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.