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A Glimpse into the Future

A few weeks ago i started working form home one day a week. It’s a formal agreement with the firm with a set day each week. The main aim was to be able to help out with nursery pickups/drop offs and enable Mrs UTMT to also return to work part time. Of course the other driver from a more personal perspective was to try and reclaim some work life balance.

It’s still early days for me with this regular work from home thing but the early signs are good. My work productivity is up = I’m demolishing the type of tasks that require a distraction free environment. I’m allocating particular tasks that are better suited to my WFH days to the appropriate day and scheduling meetings appropriately.

So far the boss appears satisfied. Every time he calls/messages/mails i’m there responding and not outside mowing the lawn or down the pub as I suspect he may have feared. The job is still being done.

That’s all well and good (and best served up in any formal reviews of this arrangement at work) but more important to me is the fact there has also been significant gains in my non-work life. Here’s a few off the top of my head:

  • Extra time spent with UTMT Jr
  • Less time spent commuting
  • More sleep

It is amazing how one mid week day at home breaks up the monotony of the working week. Maybe the novelty will wear off but I’ve regained some motivation to work. I suspect this is because I feel the my work/life balance has taken a material turn for the better.

I am able to take lots of micro breaks throughout the day that allow me to dominate various household chores and other activities that would otherwise have been done in a mad rush once I am back form work in the evening or at the weekend. Here’s a few examples:

  • Putting the bins out
  • Doing a couple of loads of washing
  • Preparing a healthy balanced evening meal
  • Short sessions of yoga/stretches
  • A cup of tea or lunch in the garden (as opposed to at my desk at work)
  • Nipping to the post office
  • Water the plants

The net result of all this activity is that I feel reinvigorated to a certain extent. It’s given me a little peak into the future, a little preview of what life will be like when I’m no longer a slave to the commute.

How To Wangle Work From Home

Well you just need to ask. For too long I took the opinion that ‘they’ll never agree to that’. Surprisingly, when I did ask, there wasn’t all that much resistance.

One of the benefits of working for a large lumbering bureaucratic organisation is that rules have to be followed. UK law dictates that employees have the legal right to request flexible working arrangements. This is applicable to all employees, not just those with children. The law states that employers must treat applications in a reasonable manner. This essentially means that if you can set out a good case why you need to work flexibly and how it won’t impact your employer detrimentally then it is hard for them to say no.

In my case the request I made was farmed out to HR and eventually accepted after a few boxes were ticked. I’m sure my case was helped by mention of ‘childcare’ on the application form but the main thrust of my application was based on the potential benefits to the firm such as a more motivated employee, increased productivity, less distractions, less commuting time (longer work hours) etc etc.

Of course once you get the go ahead to work form home it’s crucial you don’t take the proverbial. Leave the daytime TV for another lifetime. Get your work done first and enjoy the benefits this new flexible working arrangement brings you.


{ 6 comments… add one }
  • amber tree April 28, 2016, 6:49 pm

    Working from home adds indeed quite a lot to your work life balance…! I work from home Thursday afternoons. I have an early start as well. This allows me to pick up the kids from school. This is a totally other dynamic than dropping them off. I enjoy the time playing with them and cooking for them.

  • John from UK Value Investor April 29, 2016, 9:44 am

    Hi UTMT, I’m glad to see you’re trying out and enjoying the whole work from home thing.

    My old company started offering home-working as a way to downsize their central London offices. If most people work from home one or two days a week then the number of desks required goes down. Eventually they moved out to Basildon but kept the same home-working ethos.

    I started off down this home-working route in the mid-2000s by reducing my hours to four per day as I wanted to study to become an actuary, so I needed the extra ‘spare’ time. Eventually they wanted me to up my hours again so I said I’d switch back to full time but only if I could work from home to save time on the commute.

    They agreed so I started working from home full time and pretty much never went back to the office again. I missed some of the office banter but not enough to offset the benefits of working from home.

    Good luck with your own home-working adventure and perhaps they’ll let you switch to two days at home per week if you can prove that your productivity has gone up.

    • Under The Money Tree April 29, 2016, 12:10 pm

      Many areas of my firm are doing the same – reducing required office space by ‘forcing’ work from home time on people. Unfortunately I work in an area outside of such policies where it’s deemed crucial I’m in the office to more effectively manage financial risks! As a result I consider myself lucky to have negotiated one day. That of course doesn’t mean I won’t ask for more if I can prove it works over the long term.

      I sounds like your arrangement is/was ideal. Full time wfh sounds right up my street!

  • theFIREstarter June 1, 2016, 10:59 pm

    Hi UTMT,

    Great work on getting one day a week from home!
    I can relate to the feeling invigorated with work again now that my work-life balance has also taken a massive positive step forward. I just enjoy work more when I’m in there, although I couldn’t tell you whether I am really more productive if I’m honest!

    I used to WFH quite often and at the start of it I would be exactly like you, working longer hours due to no commute and no distractions but after a while it faded into getting distracted far too easily. I mean not even with TV or anything but more like reading blogs about not working 😉 and also just doing those chores like you mention but more often and taking longer to do them. Now they’ve cracked down on it and I’m kinda quite glad because I now go in every day and feel more productive overall that way…. Although if I was still full time I probably would be really annoyed with that…! 🙂

    Cheers and good to see a few posts coming out again!

    • Under The Money Tree June 3, 2016, 8:46 am


      Yes, apologies for the absence. As I’m sure you’re discovering this parenthood thing is like a time sponge! Hopefully i’ll be back to more regular posting from now on.

      It’s interesting that you’re now glad to be going to the office. I wonder if my attitude will change over time. I guess there’s always an element of the grass being greener on the other side. Like you said I think the key is to get a happy medium, enough to break up the week, give some work life balance back yet not to the detriment of social interaction with colleagues or productivity.

  • Desi Hisab February 23, 2017, 11:17 am

    Yes! I think even small company should follow this format. In this way, both will the gainer. Employee will get flexible working hours and employer will be able to save on operating costs. I think it is the best way to improve productivity.

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