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Ten tips for creating a suitable home working environment

Each person’s reasons for wanting to start a business are different. For some it’s the perks of being your own boss whilst many others cite financial benefits as their main motivation.

According to our recent British Business Dreamers survey a quarter of Brits believe that starting a company will mean a greater amount of flexibility in their working day.

There are a number of great benefits for anyone wanting to become self-employed. For instance setting your own working hours, days off and location.

There’s also the chance to work from home – an attractive feature for many people we’ve helped at the Start Up Loans Company.

Has the prospect of being able to work from home played a part in your decision to start a business? If so, read our ten tips for creating an efficient home office to run your company from:

Start Up Business Attractions - British Business Dreamers infographic

1. Eliminate everyday distractions from your home office and working environment

To create an efficient working space for your home business you’ll need to think about the everyday distractions that could crop up throughout the day.

You could make a list of potential home disturbances. For instance if you have a dog that requires regular attention you may want to hire a professional dog walker to free up more of your working day.

These additional costs may be one of the many factors you have to consider when calculating your business salary. A cash flow forecast can help you to avoid surprises and factor in any additional charges.

Top Tip: If you know that you have a noisy neighbour at a certain point during the day, perhaps schedule work breaks around this time so you are not disturbed.

2. Structure your working day with breaks and leisure time

Working from home is all about effective time management. You should continue to allocate part of your day for a lunch break, as you would when working in an office for example.

Structuring regular breaks will encourage good working habits as well as allowing you to return to your work rested and refreshed.

Top Tip: Avoid working through lunch, even if you’re working to a tight deadline. A few minutes outside of your home office can really help you refresh and prepare for the rest of the afternoon.

3. Create a home workspace that’s suitable for your business

If you’re looking to work from home you may want to consider the type of space that you’ll need for your specific line of work.

A home office or study may be suitable if you’re planning to start a recruitment agency business but not if you’re looking to build wooden furniture. You may instead consider renting a large workshop or transforming another more suitable space in your home.

Top Tip: It may be worth looking into renting an external space if you feel that the business is taking over your home.

4. Working from home as a parent? Consider childcare arrangements

Start Ups for Parents - British Business Dreamers infographic

Our study has found that three quarters of UK parents have ambitions of starting a business.

For Britain’s mums and dads spending more time with their children is one of the many benefits of being self-employed. However there may be times when it becomes harder to balance work and family.

If you’re planning to run a business from home you may want to consider your childcare options. Having a child minder or carer can really alleviate the pressure, especially during the school holidays.

Top Tip: Look into the Government’s Tax-Free Childcare scheme, which is available to self-employed parents.

5. Running your business from home – communication is important

From time to time you may find yourself having to make conference calls with clients or employees.

It’s important to ensure you have a reliable means of phone or web communication readily set up in your home office. A video conferencing system, dedicated phone line or Skype are a few of the ways to make sure you’re not let down by technology.

Top Tip: Try to install the best internet connection available in your area. This will avoid drops in connection or downtime at inopportune moments.  

6. Setting up a business address

If you’re planning to work from home full-time you’ll want to register your home office as a business address. This is important for both tax purposes and your own correspondence, but make sure you can easily distinguish mail and deliveries that are personal from those that are for your business.

Top Tip: You may want to set up sorting bins to separate your personal household mail from your business letters. Organising your correspondence in this way can really increase your productivity and avoid important letters from getting lost.

7. Make sure your home workspace features suitable office furniture

It’s a good idea to make a shopping list of all the office desk furniture that you will need for your home space before becoming self-employed.

Will you use your home office to meet clients or host potential interviews? You may want to consider additional desk space too.

Top Tip: Don’t simply buy the cheapest office furniture. You’ll be spending many hours in your home office so it’s important for your office furniture to be comfortable.

8. Ensure your workspace has an adequate power supply

Before settling on a room for your home office you’ll want to ensure it has a suitable power supply for your computer, printer, telephone and any other essential electrical items for your business.

Try not to use too many extension cables running from one wall outlet. This can cause a surge in power and can damage expensive electrical equipment and result in lost work.

Top Tip: Keep large numbers of cables organised by labelling each one with a sticker. This way you’ll know what you are unplugging when you need to move equipment or switch off at the end of the working day.

9. Seek inspiration from other places you’ve previously worked

Your home office space should be decorated to your personal needs and requirements as it’s you that will be working there primarily.

You may wish to opt for a neutral colour scheme over bright colours. Maybe plants or a suitable amount of natural light is important to you.

Why not seek inspiration from other home offices or somewhere you’ve previously worked?

Top Tip: If you find that your home office isn’t working for you there’s nothing wrong with taking some time out to change it. Even simply rearranging the furniture could give a whole new outlook on your workspace.

10. Create a breakout space for when you’re not hard at work

A majority of offices have a staff room or a separate breakout space. The same should apply to you when you choose to work from home.

It’s worth choosing a bright and airy space to relax and take breaks during the day. This could be your living room, conservatory or even a visit to the local café during your breaks.

Top Tip: Try getting away from the computer screen occasionally and jotting your ideas down on paper.

There are many examples of Start Up Businesses that started from a small home office; our success stories showcase some of the most inspiring business success stories.



Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.

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Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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