I love working from home- I have done it for almost 4 years and I can’t imagine going back to commuting every day. I remember my first experience of flexible working in 2006 when after quite a few attempts and no clear instructions I triumphantly managed to get my work emails on my blackberry. I announced I was going to an off-site meeting and then work from home afterwards. A few eyebrows raised, and I could tell everyone thought I was basically taking the afternoon off. I was pretty sure I’d get told off the next day!
A lot has changed since then- having work emails on our phones is the norm, we can easily join conference calls via Skype or other platforms. Many employers are downsizing offices and telling employees to work from home for part of the week. They are saving money, and research shows flexible working also increases productivity.
So, if the future is more people working from home, what does that mean for us mums? I have a 14-month-old son and I really value being able to fit work around his needs and not vice versa. If he is ill, I can spend time with him and make up the work later. What I did notice was that I was feeling even more isolated as a new mum working again. I wasn’t going to all the coffee mornings and baby classes that had dominated my first few months as a mum, I wasn’t having much adult conversation during the day, and my priorities had fundamentally shifted. I realised that having a child meant that I wanted to be more connected to my local community- that old cliché of having a child and ‘putting down roots’ was coming out. I didn’t fancy trekking into central London as much anymore either. Speaking to other mums in similar situations, I found out that feeling isolated and unproductive was very common, as well as the frustration of feeling like you got nothing done all day. It can be hard to concentrate when you’re sitting at your kitchen table surrounded by the laundry, washing, tidying, hoovering…
I started researching local co-working spaces but wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to the hefty monthly price tag and whether I would be doing any more than sitting next to other people whilst working, which I could do in a café. I also researched local networking groups, but frankly they were uninspiring and really didn’t connect with the flexible working movement. I wanted something that would support me both in being a mum and in developing my career.
It felt like there was something missing- a community that gathers together all the amazing local like-minded mums working from home (part time, full time, business owners & employees). There is something incredibly special about us women coming together as a group & empowering each other. That’s when Mumming was born- we currently meet a couple of times a week in cafes in the Twickenham & Richmond areas with plans for a regular (very cool) venue and meeting times coming soon, as well as regular speakers on a variety of topics, and optional flexible childcare longer term.
If you’re in the area, please feel free to come along to one of our Meet-ups to find out more and follow progress on Facebook & Instagram.
Written By Lauren Roberts - CEO of Mumming