By Daniel Hunter

According to new Office for National Statistics analysis from Direct Line for Business (DL4B), there are currently 2.5 million home business owners now operating across the UK, representing 52 per cent of the total number of UK small businesses and eight per cent of the UK’s total workforce.

The analysis highlights an evolving UK workforce which has developed in a challenging and uncertain economic environment. Millions of people are choosing to take control of their future, achieving a better work-life balance and turning a potential hobby into a career by using an increasingly digital, mobile and flexible business landscape.

According to a recent Real Business Report titled: The UK's top 25 businesses run from home, a large majority of these home businesses operate across a range of sectors that include e-commerce, travel, marketing, recruitment and legal. Furthermore DL4B has identified an increase in home businesses operating in other key trades such as catering, photography, hairdressing and arts & crafts.

DL4B’s analysis showed that the South East and South West had the highest concentration of home business owners, both representing a tenth of total workforce in both regions. London’s home business owner community accounts for nine per cent of the total four million strong workforce, with more than 356,000 across the city, and over 32,800 in Wandsworth alone.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of Herefordshire’s 92,000 total workforce is a home business owner — the largest concentration across the whole of the UK. Pembrokeshire was second with 23 per cent, or over 10,000 people, and Eastbourne was third with 20 per cent, or 8,074.

Men are more than twice as likely as women to run their own business from home, with 1.7 million male home business owners across the country, compared to around 818,000 female home business owners.

“Self-employment has been on the rise for several years and our research now shows that a great number of these people work for themselves from home," Jazz Gakhal, Head of Direct Line for Business commented.

"Once an individual has taken the decision to set up a home business, it is crucial that he/she fully appreciates their responsibilities as a business owner and ensures that adequate protection is in place should anything happen to threaten what he / she has worked so hard to achieve.”

The research showed that when asked about how these home business owners prioritised key actions when they first became operational, sorting tax arrangements and organising insurance ranked 6th and 8th. This was particularly concerning given that three in four (74 per cent) home businesses kept all their stock at home, worth £4,388 on average.

“We urge anyone looking to operate as a business from home to organise home business insurance from the start. The potential emotional and financial loss from an accident or theft could be devastating," Jazz Gakhal continued.

"For example, stock stored at home may not be covered by a standard home insurance policy and neither will cover public liability or loss of earnings due to an insurable event. Specialist Home Business Insurers such as DL4B can also offer options such as legal expenses or cover for business equipment away from home, lending crucial peace of mind to these brave individuals.”

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