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Hannah Himsworth, Youth Pastor

Hannah Himsworth is a youth pastor based in Derbyshire. She works at home quite regularly, planning future projects and carrying out administrative tasks. We caught up with her to find out more about how she manages her day.


What’s the nature of your work?

I'm employed part time (28 hours) by The Dales Christian Centre in Derbyshire as a youth pastor. Currently we have very little youth in our church so my work is based largely in schools doing assemblies and leading Christian Unions. It also includes running youth groups in church for those who don't know much about God and also being a part of leading some church services. Planning, admin jobs, website updates and advertising are just some other things that fill my time, but the main aim of my work is to mentor young people and to help them grow to know God's love and his purpose for their lives.

How long have you been working from home?

Almost three years. Two years in my current position and prior to that when I volunteered for a year as youth pastor for my old church.

Is working from home a regular thing for you or do you balance it with time in an office or other working space?

My weeks can vary a lot and sometimes I can almost fill my hours purely on the activities I'm running. But on the weeks where I get more time for planning and preparation I pretty much do most of it from home. I would like to get a better balance as I work as part of a team who share our church office, but I find that for myself and the sort of planning I have to do, working from home is far more productive. The only time when I am currently in the office is for staff meetings and admin bits but these don't take up much of my hours.

What benefits does working from home offer you in comparison with a regular office role?

It's great that you don't have very many interruptions from phones or work colleagues! Although these can be really good sometimes, they can for me stop my flow of thought pretty easily. The flexibility of working from home is always a bonus so you can start when you want and finish when you want, rather than having to be in at a certain time. As my husband works as a primary school teacher, his time is very limited therefore the flexibility that my job offers helps us as a couple to get things sorted during office hours.

What have you found to be the disadvantages of working from home?

You need to be very good at time management and getting yourself motivated to work and I don't consider myself to be that good at either of these things! But I know that I couldn't plan the things I need to plan if I am sat around other people in a noisy office. Also I can sometimes feel like I've not really got a 'proper job' when I work from home as I'm not very good at separately my work space from my living space. Not having that regular office banter can also mean that as a team it takes you longer to gel and work more efficiently.

What did you find most important when setting up a working space at home?

Internet is a definite must for my planning and researching as a lot of my resources are from Christian youth websites and Youtube! Home phone connection is not as important as I generally email the people I need to contact. As I mentioned above I think a separate room for your work definitely helps in making that distinction from work life and home. I will be getting an office when we move house, which I'm hoping will help me be more motivated to work!

How do you motivate yourself to work? Is it hard to avoid relaxing with your family or getting distracted by household chores?

Yes, it's extremely hard and I'm not sure I've found the key motivator for me yet! The biggest thing I find hard is getting up in the morning when I know I'm going to be working from home. On these days I always try to get up at 7am when [my husband] Aaron does so that I know I'm up and ready to start work when he leaves. I also like to give myself things to look forward to, so sometimes I'll arrange to meet a friend or my mum after I've done a certain amount of work. This I think has been the best motivator for me so far and helps me get more done in a certain amount of time.

What’s the best part of the day?

When I'm up, the morning is by far the most productive time of day for me. Evenings are also where I get a lot of inspiration so I'll often continue planning then if I'm able.

What’s the worst part of the day?

The afternoon is rubbish for me when I'm working from home. University days have taught me that this time is nap time, so I do sometimes struggle to stay awake and am not really that productive when I do! To avoid this situation, wherever possible I arrange to have meetings or to be out of the house doing some form of job so that I know that I will spend that time well.

What do you miss, if anything, about commuting to a separate workplace or office?

Our church office isn't huge (only four people) and they like me are also in and out quite regularly. I guess the biggest thing I miss about not being in there that often is not having the chance to get to know them more as people. I obviously see them at church but there are also many more people there to talk to, so I think not having that regular time to come together as a team is probably the one thing I miss most.

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