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working from home

With some business it simply isn't viable to work from home. Those needing extra space, high staffing levels, noisy equipment or machinery or high traffic noise are examples. But for many working at home is a most sensible and convenient solution. Many people strive to have a business to work from home to take them out of a daily commute to work. Not to mention a parent who needs the flexibility to be home with their child.

If faced with the choice of working from home or not here are some of the advantages:
  • No time and money travelling to work and back every day.
  • An office at home is effectively rent free space.
  • You have the flexibility to have your office just the way you want it.
  • Very convenient and everything is on hand.
  • Great way to balance family commitments. Even if the kids get sick, you will still have some free time to get a few things done. So effectively you can work your own hours.
  • It provides a much less stressed environment.
Nevertheless, there are disadvantages to weigh up as well, depending on how you set up at home:
  • You may find it hard to separate from you work when you 'knock off'. There's always the temptation to do a little extra in the evening instead of have personal time.
  • A separate office is ideal but if you are set up in the corner of the living room it can be very intrusive and the paperwork needs to be protected.
  • You can tend to isolate yourself from colleagues and/or family members.
  • You may not find it easy to discipline yourself to keep regular 'office hours' and work could fall behind.
  • May not be anyone at hand to brainstorm concepts and bounce off ideas. Also if problems crop up you'll need to deal with them alone.
Not everyone is suited to working from home. If you want to try it, at least it doesn't cost the earth, Here are some other considerations:
  • Need to have excellent focus and self-discipline
  • Tell your mortgage and insurance company (planning permission isn't usually required if premises are predominantly residential)
  • If you have a dedicated room business tax will need to be paid rather than domestic rates on that space.(not always more expensive, but another cost to administer)
  • Your residence may be subject to capital gains tax if you sell.
  • Ensure you are set up to allow enough room, light, and heat to perform your tasks safely and comfortably.
  • Make it an interruption free zone. An extra phone line for business is a good way to go. Having people drop by for coffee because you are always home can be frustrating. Be clear that if they wouldn't drop in on you at work in an office block they shouldn't do it at home during working hours.
  • Have a secure place for confidential or sensitive information to be stored.
  • An extra phone line for business is the way to go. Apart from being answered professionally every time, it makes logging for tax purposes so much easier.
  • Ensure you business has adequate insurance. Take out a separate policy if need be. Some home contents insurance will not cover the business items.
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