Home working

Four million of us in the UK now work from home, which is equivalent to 14% of the working population. Setting up your own business at home can be just as productive and profitable as working in a traditional office environment and has some significant added benefits. You are your own boss, can reduce costs associated with setting up your business in external premises and there is often increased flexibility.

However, there are challenges related to setting up a business from home too. It’s often harder to concentrate when working from home, your bills will be higher if you’re at home all day and sometimes it’s difficult to switch off if you don’t physically leave work. Whether you’ve already decided to set up a business from home or are seriously considering it, here are some important points to consider.

Using available space

Working from home allows you greater flexibility, especially if you have a family. However, keeping focussed on business issues throughout your working day is crucial to ensure your home business is a success.

Think about the best space to use in your home for your business. Where will you be able to concentrate on your work without any distractions? Is there an area away from your family where you’ll be able to focus on work without interruptions? Don’t underestimate the importance of having a professional, working environment. Will clients or colleagues visit your home for meetings? What impression will they take away with them of your business?

Here are some basic office solutions:

  • Invest in a good office chair and desk to increase your productivity
  • Have effective storage solutions to keep the entire working area tidy and organised
  • Ensure you have reliable technology – phones, computer, printer, scanner
  • Add some personal touches to your working space
Invest in equipment

While there is no rule book when it comes to setting up your home office, having the right equipment is vital. It’s worthwhile putting the effort into finding the best equipment and software for your work to ensure you don’t get left behind your competitors. If you’re unfamiliar with any aspect of the technology, it could be worth attending a course that will show you how to use it.

If you find your budget won’t stretch far enough for the equipment you need, look at services which can help provide money upfront. For example, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Cash Advance Service offers money upfront and repayments can be made through debit/credit card sales or via daily direct debit.

What next?

If you do decide to run a business from home, there are other areas you’ll need to look into such as business insurance, reliable broadband, telecom services and energy bills. This can be extremely time-consuming for business owners so it’s worthwhile seeking support. One low-cost way of doing this is to join a business membership organisation such as FSB, where home businesses can access whatever support they need to make their business a success.

By Judi Brazkiewicz, Non-operational Director, Federation of Small Businesses