Forest Software

Web, SEO and IT & Business Advice for the Smaller Business

Home office : copyright Jon Sullivan : people have the idea that they would like to start a business and work from home as it’s seen as a way to run a business with minimal overheads, after all you already have a home so there is no extra cost for renting an office or workspace.

While this seems a good idea there are things that you should think about if you are thinking about working from home.  These can be broken down into two main areas which we will detail below.

Financial – if you are working from home there are several financial considerations, these include (in no particular order) :-

  • Insurance : You may need to tell your home insurance company that you are now working from home, especially if you are running a business that uses business equipment at home (even PC’s can count) or have visitors arriving at the home.Similarly you should think about the business insurance that you might need (equipment / professional indemnity are two that spring to mind but your insurance broker will be able to advise you in more detail as they will understand your needs).
  • Mortgage : If you are running a business from home you should really tell your mortgage company about it as it may breach the terms of the mortgage, this is less likely to be the case now-days but better to be safe than find that your mortgage company find out and make a fuss.
  • Council Tax : Again, depending on the amount of space that your new business can affect the council tax and business rates that you might be paying.  Talk to your accountant or local council to ask them if it makes a difference, many local councils allow a small percentage of the home to be used  for a business before charging business rates.
  • Heating / Power : If you are working at home you will find that your heating and power bills will be higher than they  were before if you were previously working in someone else’s office or business. Obviously you are heating the home during the day in the winter and using power for your business equipment.
  • Tax Allowance : This is a “good” bit.  When running a business at home there are some elements you can claim tax relief on.  There are many of these and the best thing to do is to talk to your accountant to make sure that you claim for everything you are allowed (and just as importantly, don’t claim for things that you shouldn’t be).


Other Factors.

This was nearly called “psychological factors” as many of these are things that you need to think about and relate to how you work and feel.

  • Create a work space : While it seems obvious many people that have worked from home have discovered that it’s much easier to work from home if you have a dedicated space or room that you can use just for work.  If you are lucky enough to own a new home you may find that there is a space suitable as many new home builders create a study or study space in their builds.  That way, psychologically  you are “going to work” rather than spending time sitting at the dining room table (it also means that you don’t have to clear the table before every meal if you “double use” the table for example).It also means that the rest of the family know that when dad or mum is at their work area that they are at work and shouldn’t be interrupted unless it’s important.
  • Dress for work : Again, although the temptation may be there, don’t work in your PJ’s.  By dressing for work you will feel that you are really working.  Of course, this is less of a problem if your business involves people visiting you on a regular basis ( for example if you are a home-based hairdresser) where you are expected to be dressed.
  • Go out to work : One idea that some people find helps them when working from home is to actually go out for a walk (walk the dog, buy a paper or even just walk around the block).  By doing that you are actually going to work.
  • Don’t get distracted : Leave the TV off , if you are working from home then you are working, not watching day-time tv.  Similarly, you need to leave the gardening alone, not get the washing out and all the other distractions.
  • Leave your workspace : Having said above that you shouldn’t get distracted at lunchtime leave the workspace and go and get something to eat, go and do 1/2 hours gardening or hang the washing out.  After all if you were working in an office you would be likely to grab some food or a breath or air.At the end of the day, close down the workspace (if it’s a seperate room that you are lucky enough to have close the door on the room) and “go home”.  Relax as it’s the end of the working day.

Hopefully the points above haven’t put you off of working from home – if you can do it and not feel cut off from people its a great way to run a business.

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