The coronavirus epidemic and official rules on social distancing led to as many as 49.2% of Britain’s working population working from home, according to the latest data.
The pandemic has reinforced trends that have been evident for several years’. Between the years 2012 and 2016, for example, flexi-time working increased by more than 12%, while figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in the past ten years an additional quarter of a million individuals have started working from home.
On current trends, about half of the nation’s workforce will now continue to work from home, speculates HSO.
A recent article found that 60% of people canvassed said they would like to work from home more often than they did before the pandemic. And 20% of those in the 18 to 34-year-old age group would think about moving to a different job in a different area if it allowed them to work from home more frequently.
A business from home
One of the certain ways of ensuring that you may continue to work from home, of course, is to set up and run your own business from there.
If that is your preferred course of action, there are several issues you might want to consider …
A great idea and a company name
- just as with any new start-up, running a business from home is inspired by a great idea – and you’ll need a company name, or brand, that expresses and instils that vision;
- one of those intangible driving forces behind any successful business is the sheer passion, dedication, and commitment of its founder;
Customers and marketing
- you may be one half of your business, but the more important half is undoubtedly your customer base – who are your customers, how do you identify them, and how do you win them over;
- with the answers to these questions at hand, you will need to develop and pursue a marketing strategy designed to consolidate your existing customer base and expand it to grow your business;
Your home office
- you will need somewhere to work, of course, and stealing a space amidst the unwashed dishes of the breakfast table is unlikely to work for very long at all – instead, you are going to need to find somewhere with some comfort, peace and quiet;
- the need for adequate space will dawn on you still further when you appreciate your need for the minimum amount of equipment – likely to include at least a computer, a comfortable office chair, telephone, and printer;
- remember that the equipment in your home office is likely to be essential to your being able to run any business from home – without key devices, you are likely to be sunk, so it is worth investing in reliable equipment you are confident will not let you down;
- just as with any business, of course, you will need to pay tax on the business you are running from home;
- to manage that tax liability, remember that business expenses are allowable – they can be offset against your turnover, thereby reducing the amount of tax you need to pay;
- if you’re self-employed, HMRC allows you to choose from one of two ways to calculate your working from home expenses. You can either use the simplified expenses scheme or you can calculate the actual costs you incur.
Depending on your business type and whether you will have business visitors to your home, you need to consider the different types of insurance needed. They may include and not be limited to:
- business insurance (to protect any office equipment, products etc.);
- public liability insurance (if you have business visitors to your home);
- employers’ liability insurance (if you employ people to work from your home)
- professional indemnity insurance (covering your business in the event a client claims against you for any business or financial losses they experience because of the work you did for them).
In the first instance, speak to your home insurer about your planned activities. If it going to be you working from home with no employees or business visitors, then your home insurance policy may be extended to cover business administration activities.
You will also need to let your mortgage provider know if you are doing anything more than just business administration from your home.
Do you need an accountant?
- depending on the nature and complexity of your business, you might be able to handle your tax returns and other business finances yourself;
- be prepared for the time to come, however, when it is likely to prove more time-saving and cost-effective to employ an accountant.
Did the coronavirus lockdown inspire you to set up and run a business from home? To achieve success, give some thought now to these suggested questions and issues.