We got this question, about home contracting, from regular reader Emanday.
I moved to a rural location just over two years and informed all my agencies that I would only work from home. That’s except, of course, for the initial planning process / project update meetings.
At first they totally ignored this criteria and kept offering me on-site contracts. Finally, I gave up and have been “resting” ever since.
What is the agency problem with homeworkers?
Thousands of permies are doing it, so why not contractors.
It’s a bit boring now and I want to start sourcing my own work, but should I give the agencies another chance?
Dr. McLaughlin’s IT Surgery
I don’t think so – unless you are going to do fixed price work.
Although companies allow permies to work from home it is usually after they have got to know them and know they are trustworthy.
It would be highly unusual for companies to allow a contractor to work from home. That’s unless they knew them from before.
If you want to work from home then you would need to go and find work for yourself. Even then you would have to spend some time on the site to acquaint yourself with other people involved, e.g. the users.
Homeworking for Contractors
There’s no reason why homeworking for contractors shouldn’t catch on.
What about starting up a company for homeworkers?
Remember FI which was set up so that woman who had small children could work in IT on a part time temp basis?
That was very successful and is now stock market company Xansa worth tens of millions.
Offered Home Working Contractor by Agency
I was just thinking again what my reaction would be if I was looking for a contractor an agency offered me one who would only work from home.
It would be an extra risk to myself and the project. As there are plenty of contractors around I would simply take one who would be happy to turn up at the site every day.
I’d also wonder what kind of person couldn’t be bothered to come to the office. I would wonder whether they liked hard work. Would they see themselves in semi retirement with a nice comfortable number where they didn’t have to leave home?
How would I know if they were working or not? I’d find out but it might not be soon enough.
Really Good Worker
Of course if I had a really good worker, who didn’t have to be supervised, who knew our business and systems inside out, who had a really good excuse for working from home, and who wouldn’t renew unless he or she was allowed to work from home, then I might consider it.
Frankly if a complete stranger told me at an interview that they would only work from home I’d be wondering if they were a bit flaky and more into homeopathic medicine and incense rather than doing a bit of hard IT work.
Of course, I’m not saying that’s you as I don’t know you. However, when there are plenty of contractors prepared to come and work on site why should I take the risk?
You would have to think up a really good story before I‘d even consider it. Even then I probably wouldn‘t go with it anyway.
I’m sure home contracting will catch on – but it will be gradual.
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