KUALA LUMPUR: For writer Lydia Teh, playing jigsaw puzzle with her daughter and making roast chicken and home-baked buns are the “luxuries” of working from home.
“I wanted to be a stay-at-home mum. Initially, I was contented being a homemaker, but over time I realised that I could work from home and start a writing career,” she said.
HONOURED HOMEMAKERS: Four of the winners (from left) legal practitioner Sophia Chew, Asianfamily.com co-founder and director Tiffany Tan, Teh and Dayang Lily at the prize presentation ceremony in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The fifth winner is freelance translator Ramona Azlinda Ali.
The 42-year-old from Klang quit her secretarial work 11 years ago to spend more time with her family.
Teh, who writes on parenting and lifestyle issues, said teleworking enabled her to be at home when she was needed, send her children to school, coach them with their homework and cook for the family.
This mother of four was one of the five winners of the Best Teleworking Moms Contest 2004. She was speaking to reporters at a prize presentation yesterday. Also present was Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn.
For 33-year-old Dayang Lily Abang Musa, the first two months of working from home were “not easy” as her children were not used to her being at home.
“Working at home meant that the children become more attached to you and they can get quite demanding,” said this mother of four.
This entrepreneur and founder of Ummiku Sayang.com said she was a systems engineer and had done research on the feasibility of setting up a home-based business. She said her family has been very supportive when she quit from her engineering firm.
“Being isolated and away from other professionals was something new I had to get used to, but to overcome this, I roped in my children to help me in my business.
“I got them to help out in pasting labels and price tags on the childrens books I was selling,” she said.
At a press conference later, Dr Fong said the ministry encouraged companies to introduce flexi-working hours or working-from-home to help reduce the dependency on foreign labour and reduce overhead costs.
He said the ministry was working on changes to the Employment Act to recognise that flexi-working hours would be defined as official working hours to enable proper protection for the workers.
Dr Fong said manufacturing companies, mostly from the garment and plastic industries, in smaller towns were already conducting teleworking arrangements for housewives to work from home.
“Part of the operations are being subcontracted to homemakers for garments to be sewn or cut; even simple machinery is set up at home to assist in the plastic industries,” he said, adding that factories in Kulim, Batu Pahat and Kluang were sourcing out work to people who stayed at home.