Homeworking is increasingly popular, but is it for everyone? | Photograph: iStockHomeworking has seen large-scale recruitment drives and aggressive marketing tactics as firms compete for the best staff – making it a realistic option for agents looking for a new job.

The result is that homeworking companies now account for a significant slice of holiday sales in the UK, competing with more established rivals on the high street, where shop numbers have at best stagnated.

Homeworking agencies such as Travel Counsellors and Future Travel have more than 600 agents each. But alongside these are smaller businesses in the same sector such as Holidays Please and Holiday Elite, which happily operate with around 50 homeworkers each as they target niche markets.

Travel Counsellors was started by chairman David Speakman in 1994 and has grown consistently over the past 12 years.

Managing director Steve Byrne said: “We are recruiting more agents from the high-street than ever before and haven’t seen any slowing in numbers.”

Hays Travel homeworking general manager Tracey Luke said the company aims to recruit 250 homeworkers by the end of the year.

Homeworking tips

Motivate yourself
“You must be self motivated and able to work without supervision,” said Travel Counsellors managing director Steve Byrne.

Give yourself regular hours
Most homeworkers will work full-time and often in the evening and at weekends when families are around.

Get travelling
“Firms are more interested in a homeworker’s personal travel knowledge –  in some cases wanting people who have travelled,” said New Frontiers account manager Adam Brace.
 
Create an office
Have an area in your home as an ‘office’. Some homeworkers even rent out office spaces to work.

Promote yourself
“Research businesses in your local area and meet them to get your name out in the community,” said Future Travel brand development manager Amanda Taylor.

Keep learning
Make sure you join a company that can offer you on-the-job training. Try to get on fam trips, read Travel Weekly and keep an eye out for training opportunities. Our own training academies are a good start.

Have a plan
Many agents go on to earn far more than they did on the high street, while for others it is more about controlling their ‘own’ business.

Stay in touch
Make sure you keep contact with other homeworkers – sharing ideas and supporting each other.

Be organised
Working from home can cause distractions  – for example, you may need to arrange childcare.

Blog on
Embrace blogging and the web – and tell others about your experience.