Reader Tip: It never hurts to ask your employer if they have work you can do from home

Kim emailed in the following tip:

I’m a little late in the earning extra money for Christmas category, but I have a suggestion for your readers who work outside the home to make some extra money: Ask your employer if there is any extra work that you can do from home for extra pay.

Recently I went on maternity leave, and since I’m a contract employee, I do not get FMLA. I simply asked if they had anything for me to do while I was out.

I didn’t get an answer immediately, but they eventually gave me a stack of work to do easily while the kids were napping. It was several hundred dollars more than I was going to make while out, and it did not hurt to just ask. If they say no then they say no, but if they say yes then — yay!

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  1. says

    This goes for people who have a skill but no job, too! So many businesses are on tight budgets and understaffed right now so freelance workers can offer them great value.

    After I lost my job as a copywriter and marketing strategist, my husband and I decided that if we were going to have another baby it was time to do it. So I contacted a number of ad agencies, letting them know I was available to help with their overflow work. I printed a postcard on Vistaprint that said something like, “Keep this card: one of these days you’re going to need a freelance writer” and included some info on myself and my contact info. Then I sent to ad agencies I found within a two-hour radius from my house that I found through Google.

    Making and sending the cards cost less than $75 and a year and half later I have a beautiful 6 month-old son and I’m still self-employed…working part-time and making nearly as much as I made working full-time at my old job! Best of all, I’m working right now upstairs in my bedroom as Grandma spends time with the kids downstairs. I can hear the funny things my 2-year-old is saying as I write brochures and articles and proposals.

    These days, there is no such thing as a perfect work-mom balance – but I’d consider this pretty close. I would strongly encourage anyone who wants to try working from home to do it! It doesn’t take as much courage as you’d think! 😉

    (I realize I’ve veered somewhat off topic…sorry! I’m just very grateful and wanted to share!)

  2. Erin says

    Asking if I could work on a project from home is how I segued into working from home full time!
    I fulfilled the project to my utmost and best ability, did it thoroughly and professionally, turned it in on time, and got great results. The key is making sure you don’t slack off while you’re at home, and prove that you’re responsible enough to work in your home. Keep the TV off, leave the housework alone, and concentrate on the work that allows you to enjoy all of the things you’re looking at in your home (read: getting paid!).
    Results are what matter.
    This only works if you have a job that is primarily online/emailing/writing. However, if you have a part of your job that is electronic, ask if you can work on that from home.

  3. A says

    This is so ironic, because I just had this conversation with my employer this week! I’ve been feeling strongly called to be home with my babies more, but we can’t afford for me to quit my job just yet. After a lot of thought and prayer, I decided the worst they could say was “no”. I had to keep my family’s best interests in mind. I work full time in an extremely busy and large dental office as a scheduling coordinator, so I knew it was highly unlikely that it would work out, but I asked anyway if I could cut my hours. Instead, my boss brought up the possibility of me working from home 1 day per week, and we began brainstorming different projects I could take on! I was thrilled! I’m hoping that it all works out in the weeks to come, and if I’m praying that 1 day could turn into 2! It definitely never hurts to ask!

    • Christina says

      Like others, I asked about working from home. My boss worked with me, and I was able to work from home for two years, until I decided it was too much on me. (I was 7 months pregnant with twins, and taking care of my one-year-old and three-year-old.) If the twins hadn’t surprised us so soon after our daughter was born, I would’ve continued indefinitely. I had a co-worker who’d been doing it part time for seven years.

  4. Wendy says

    I agree with the original poster (& everyone else) that it never hurts to ask. I worked at a company for 11+ years & during that time, I submitted proposals to work from home at one point & later to work part time. Sometimes the answer I got was “No”…sometimes it was “Not right now” & eventually, it was “Yes.” It was the right thing for my family, so I’m so glad that I pursued those alternative arrangements.

    The only downside with my experience is the perception of the employees still in the office. It was a large company & only a few managers allowed flexible scheduling. That caused some hard feelings & perceptions that I wasn’t working as hard as others who were in the office full time. The irony is that once I had a work laptop with the company’s programs on them, I actually found myself bopping on the computer & working MORE than I had previously.

  5. Traci says

    I work full time outside the home and my boss needed someone to stuff envelopes for our mailings (insurance office). I am a single mom and so busy outside of work and didn’t have time to do this too. My 13 yr old daughter volunteered and se gets paid to occasionally stuff envelopes when needed. It teaches her responsibility and using her time effectively and gives her some spending money. It has been fun.

  6. says

    My job has Work at home opportunities, but not for the division I’m in. Switching divisions would mean a significant decrease in pay, and I’d have to have a completely quiet environment since it would require answering phones. So this doesn’t really work for us.

    But, in the world of saving money, I would also ask if your company has any benefits or special clubs you may not be aware of. This particularly applies to employees of large companies. I recently discovered one of the clients (a national software company) of our company (a technical support center) has a seldom-advertised benefits card available to employees that gets you discounts on quite a few things. The actual subcontractor company I work for also has accounts with several other clients that provides discounts to employees that work for the company at large. One of the clients that subcontracts our organization is a national cellular provider. We get a discount on our cellphone service by using the company. All we have to do is tell them we work for the subcontractor and we’re in!

    So there may be benefits at your place of business you don’t know about if you work for a large corporation. Why not go down to HR and ask?

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