The area of your home that you use for work should ideally be completely separate from the rest of your home. It helps if you can avoid being disturbed when you are working. You also want to be able to relax during your time off without being interrupted by work. A spare room with a door that locks or an outbuilding such as a garage or shed is best, so that:
- the risk of accidental damage to your work or equipment will be reduced
- it will help you 'shut off' from home life, so that you can deal with your clients in a professional manner
- your work equipment won't be a risk to members of your household
- it will be easier to resist demands from other members of your household
Allocating part of your house as a workplace can have tax and insurance implications. See tax considerations of working from home.
Separate domestic from working areas
If complete segregation of work from home is not possible then partial segregation is the next best option. You could:
- use your office equipment in a general area of the house such as a sitting or dining room
- lock away equipment and work when it is not in use
- consider housing your workstation in a cupboard with lockable shutters or doors
Remember to be very careful about safety and to consider the effects on other members of your household.
Broadband and telephone access
It is a good idea to have a separate telephone line for your business calls. You may also need to consider the efficiency of your broadband access. Other household users may impact on the speed of your broadband when you are using it for business purposes. See using home broadband for business.
Coworking and shared office space
A coworking or shared office space might be an option for your business especially if you work alone. This is when you rent a desk space or number of desk spaces in a business environment. The cost of your desk space usually includes rent, rates, broadband and use of communal meetings spaces.
Advantages of coworking
Coworking addresses the problems of isolation and distraction that might occur if you work alone at home. Coworking in a professional environment, rather than at home, may give you the motivation to be more productive. Coworking can also be a flexible and cost effective option with shared resources. It also brings together like minded business people presenting opportunities for collaboration, support and networking.
Structure your business
Name your business
Register your business
Choose your premises
- How to employ staff for the first time
- National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates
- Carry out pre-employment checks
- Ensure your workers are eligible to work in the UK
- Get employers' liability insurance
- Issue a written statement of employment
- Set up your payroll and register for PAYE with HMRC