Working from home – part time & time keeping….

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  • Working from home – part time & time keeping….
  • Premier Icon mikewsmith

    So I’m working part time these days from home, I work on a day/hourly rate basis rather than project/objective based. It’s all been going ok with a rough guide to the number of hours per week to spend on stuff etc.

    However this month everything slowed down and work got a bit more scarce. The stuff I have been doing relies on the boss to review/comment etc. and to decide what he wants me to do. We are getting to the situation where I’m spending time waiting for responses or stuff like that, not an issue in a normal full time job or when it’s busy but now that means 3-4 hrs of work is meaning I have to allocate 6-8 hrs to complete. This then means that it’s much harder to do the other stuff I need/want to do as I’m tied to the desk waiting for responses – generally always later than agreed or promised.

    So the question – how do I reconcile this with charging? It’s a small business to screwing people over isn’t an option and neither is wee/shoes or bombers 🙂 Long answer is we need a sit down to cover issues like this but short term I’m down on income and spending time when I could be doing other stuff waiting on responses that should have been in earlier.

    Mostly wondering how others deal with it while I wait for some responses rather than getting out on my bike this afternoon.


    I just go into the office and sit about pretending to work.

    When I do work from home it’s only ever when I’ve plenty to do. Don’t reckon that’s much help to you, but that’s how it works for me.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen

    Part time and flexible is a pain for this. I used to work a nominal 20hr week – i.e. I was paid for 20 regardless of what work actually came in (I was a specialist fine art transporter so workload was orders based) which could in fact be either 60hrs or 0hrs or somewhere in between. The problem was you didn’t know you’d had a 0hr week until it had passed and then it was a bit late to do anything with it.

    What helped to control that was I took another part time job with fixed hours, so when the office was taking bookings they booked them around that availability in the same way as the had to book all their rest of their work around their own existing commitments

    You maybe need to take out the flexibility as if you had other fixed commitments in your week (or make some fixed commitments). Decide portions of the day or week where you’re available and portions where you’re not so that Boss has the impetus to respond during those windows

    Premier Icon jamj1974

    I think I may be in a similar situation with both my current contracts Mike. I only charge for the hours/days worked not delays in responses. However I work remote from the client site only some of the time. When sending something for feedback I generally include an expectation of when I can take action depending on when they respond. I usually leave a gap between the time of my submission and the first time I indicate that I expect a response from them. This time takes into account any other thing I have to do – e.g. domestic stuff, my own internal housekeeping etc…


    Even working in the office I get that – I’d say just charge for hours worked but make it clear that delayed responses due usually mean a bit of double up when you have to re-read what it is you’ve been waiting for a response on. I’ve gone weeks, and sometimes months, between answers and have had to spend conisderable hours getting back up to speed.

    I’d just go out on your bike ride if you’re waiting – people can’t expect a rapid turnaround there and then if the responses are late and you’re out. If they do, then I’d stay in all day and charge away!

    b r

    You need to agree an SLA for the work/response time.

    If you produce it, and he has to ok/review it – then next day, rather than you sit around waiting and doing nothing.

    Imagine if you had two clients, and then that could work – or more likely you’d do twice as much work, and still wait around…


    You say you work part time on a contract basis.
    Surely if the amount of work has decreased so will your income.

    mrs deadly often has the same problem (Graphic Designer, occasionally working from home) if working on something for a client. Spends a while doing something, then waiting ages for somebody to come back saying, “My son, whose nursery teacher says he has a good eye for colour, thinks maybe a bit of purple might look good in there.” Of course, that bit of purple has to happen two hours ago. Bit of an arse really and we’ve never really figured out a way around it. It’s worked out that it’s cheaper for her to drive to work in a client’s studio as she’s guaranteed to be paid for the hours she’s there rather than honestly charging for the hours she’s worked at home. Interested in seeing how others manage this. I suspect it’ll differ from industry to industry to be honest.


    As above, agree the review comments response SLA and add a ‘deemed acceptance’ element. If submission not responded to within SLA, it’s deemed as accepted. Also add some fat as review rounds usually take longer than expected and plan your own time/other activities accordingly.

    HTH. That’ll be £500 please.


    I assuming you complete a document or deliverable such as a web page/image/whatever…email it to your boss or whoever needs to review it, then wait for him/her to come back with comments on what needs to be updated.

    Assumed sign off doesn’t always work unless you can get them to agree to the process. I would suggest putting together a review process (flow chart or something), issue it with a note saying you want to make it more effective, arrange a call to explain it to him and get his comments, then ask for his sign off of that process.

    A couple of points you could consider;

    – each time you issue something for review, outline the key milestones, i.e. all comments back by, sign off by etc.
    – if multiple reviewers and approvers, make sure you list who these are when you issue it
    – ETAs need to be realistic, i.e. don’t say you want comments on large or complex document in 1 day
    – arrange a walkthrough call to gather and discuss comments
    – ensure comments and your response is captured in a log
    – create a review/sign off tracker so that you easily identify where in the process something is
    – issue tracker on a regular basis
    – make sure you get sign off in writing (i.e. email) and store it somewhere

    How complicated you want to make the process is up to you. The tracker mentioned above might be overkill if you don’t have multiple things being reviewed at the same time.

    Premier Icon mugsys_m8

    I have a similar problem, or at least I do when working from home and not working overseas and drilling site based. I work freelance for my former employers.

    Where I can sometimes find it less painful is by knowing how my client is charging their client and knowing about hours allocated for certain tasks etc, as often I put the tender together. I also know there’s a huge descrapncy between what they charge me out per hour at vs. what I charge them per hour. However I take this into account when I charge them day rates when working overseas on site.

    When things went quiet for a few months 3 years ago I found myself sitting around waiting for snippets of work, rather than saying “ok there’s no work today that I’m aware of. I’m going out” so I got myself a smart phone and this allows me to go riding whilst waiting for other people to do their bit of the work. However this is in jepoardy now due to IT security issues (see the thread about this).

    Sometimes I have had to jump on things straight away to meet deadlines etc, I’ve worked unsociable hours an juggled everyday life. It’s meant things have gone out on time, which they wouldn’t have if it was just my colleagues as they work 9-5 give or take. So I sell my flexibility as an advantage. There would be a point where it got too much though in terms of them over-relying on me to sort their deadline issues out. But it’s not really happened.

    Premier Icon nickjb

    Smart phone is a big plus for me. I can check emails regularly during the day which leaves me pretty flexible when things are quiet. Its a chance to do DIY or go biking, and there’s always office stuff that needs doing(tendering, LinkedIn, website, accounts, etc). I don’t really understand why you have to allocate 6-8 hrs for 3-4 hrs work.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    I don’t really understand why you have to allocate 6-8 hrs for 3-4 hrs work.

    That was today, of the productive/chargeable work I did today I spent enough time to stop me doing other things – going for a ride/prepping my bike for the weekend etc. Every time I completed something there was at least 20-40mins of dead time. It all adds up.

    Premier Icon geoffj

    Any scope to change your charging structure? Per half day rather than hourly? That should help focus minds.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Probably, need to hit a couple of good months and then push for fixed income/month I hope. It’s hard when your working for a small company – though looking at our latest submission for big jobs if we don’t get it at least it looks like a good job ap for me 🙂

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