Work from home – do you need a nanny?

The distractions come thick and fast when you’re working from home – daytime TV, housework, knocks at the door, and cold callers on the phone all do their best to break your concentration.

And then the cat seems to need feeding every five minutes – while there’s no doubting having a pet around the place can help alleviate the loneliness that can come with working from home, they’re not always great for productivity, but they’re nothing compared to having a baby around the house while you’re trying to work – so, if you’re a work from home parent, is it time you considered taking on a nanny?

Hiring a nanny or an au pair might seem like an unnecessary expense, but if having children around the house means you’re struggling to juggle work from home life and work life, then your productivity can suffer. If this happens, it can have serious knock-on effects for your job and career prospects, so the option of having someone take care of the kids, even temporarily shouldn’t be dismissed straight away.

What’s the difference between an au pair and a nanny?

Although both do similar jobs, there are very distinct differences between au pairs and nannies. These differences can have an impact on tax and employment rights.

Au pair

An au pair usually lives with the family they’re working for and aren’t usually classed as employees. This means they’re are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage or paid holidays. Instead, they will usually have a room in the family home, eat meals with the family and receives monthly pocket money instead of a salary.

You can hire an au pair if they are from the UK or Ireland or from an EU country and have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or are eligible to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

You can also hire an au pair if they have a Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

If none of above applies, you need to check the au pair’s visa conditions for their right to work before hiring them.

Also bear in mind different countries have an upper age limit for au pairs and they’re usually hired as part of a cultural exchange program between countries.


A nanny is a standard employee and is paid a salary. There’s no age barrier and no cultural exchange aspect, as with an au pair.

How much does it cost to hire a nanny or au pair?

As an au pair is treated as a member of the family they live with and get ‘pocket money’ instead of a salary, you should expect to pay them at least £90 a week.

As a nanny is a tax paying employee, you can expect to pay a part-time nanny around £13.35 per hour if you are based in London and your nanny is live-out. If your nanny is live-in and based around London, this drops to about £9.28 per hour if you are based in London and your nanny is live-in. This generally works out at between £250 and £400 per week for 25 hours childcare (inclusive of tax and NI contributions).

How having a nanny could help you work from home

There are a number of ways having a nanny can help when working from home, including:

Cut down distractions

Being able to spend more time with baby is one of the biggest perks a work-from-home parent can possibly have, but it also means no end of interruptions to your working day – and that can be really bad news for productivity.

Employing a nanny to take on even just a few hours during the day means you can devote an interruption-free block of time to the day job, so you can write those reports and take those conference calls without having to worry about feeding time or nappy changes.

Cut out the commute

Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have your kids in the house with you all day, but putting them in nursery could mean adding an unnecessary commute onto your day – and cutting out the daily  commute is one of the best work from home perks.

Having an in-house nanny means you won’t have to leave the house and compete for parking spaces at the nursery with all the those parents who aren’t lucky enough to work from home.

Create work/home boundaries

Blurring the lines between your work life and home life is one of the biggest potential drains on both parenting and productivity – if you don’t give both your full attention, you’re selling yourself, your employer, and your child short.

Having a nanny in for a few hours a day means you can create those boundaries and work when you have to, and be a parent when you don’t, and vice versa.

Do you need a nanny?

Obviously, it all comes down to personal and financial circumstances, but being a parent and having a career are two full time undertakings, so it could definitely be worth considering, if only so you can give both your full attention.

And regardless of whether or not you employ a nanny, remember that a reliable conference call provider can also make working from home a lot easier. Find out more at