How to Balance Home Improvements and a Full-Time Job

home improvements to do before moving in

Project managing a new kitchen extension or attic conversion is not easy when your employer expects you to be at your desk at 9 AM on the dot every day. Sure, you can book a week or two off as annual leave, but projects have a habit of going wrong and you might find you are back at work while your home is still full of workmen. So, is there a way to manage a complex home-improvement project and still stay in your boss’s good books?

Use the Right Tradesmen

Home improvement projects are less likely to go wrong when you hire reputable local tradesmen. To minimise the risk of problems, ask friends and family for referrals or use a website where you can compare quotes and read reviews.

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Plan the Project Carefully

Timing is everything. There is never a good time to rip out a kitchen or knock down walls, but it’s better not to start a major project if you are under a lot of stress at work. The two aspects of your life will inevitably overlap in the middle, so why make life more difficult than it needs to be.

Plan projects for when you can expect some downtime at work. This may not work for everyone, but in some industries, there are periods when work is less hectic. For example, if you are an accountant, taking time off at the end of the tax year is not an option, but there will be other periods when it’s quieter.

Work from Home

For smaller projects, the best option is to book annual leave so you can be at home and available to make crucial decisions as the need arises. The job will also be completed sooner if you are there monitoring how many hours a day your tradesmen are on site.

It may not be much fun working from home with extensive work taking place, so do bear this in mind. For example, if the power is off for long periods, it could cause difficulties. In a situation like this, have a contingency plan in place.


Don’t be afraid to sit down with your family and thrash out who is going to be on hand at different times. It’s not fair if one person has to take responsibility for the project and use up all of their annual leave keeping an eye on workmen. Ideally, split the task and that way resentment won’t build up to intolerable levels.

Notify Your Employer

It’s a good idea to keep your employer in the loop. Most employers prefer it when we keep our personal life away from the office, but if you anticipate daily telephone calls from workmen, it’s better to be upfront about it rather than risk causing upset. Have a quiet word with your boss and let them know what’s going on. As long as you reassure them that your work won’t suffer and if you need to leave early at any point you will make the time up, it shouldn’t be an issue.

The more organised you are, the easier it will be, but if all else fails, hire a project manager and take an extended holiday until the work has been completed.

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