For some sole-traders, the home is the best office space. You don’t have to pay extra for tea and coffee, you get your own peace and quiet – and you might even have a specialised workshop there, too. However, as well as cabin fever, working from home can have some drawbacks. You may begin to lose the distinction between your personal space for relaxation, and where you work and experience stress. If you don’t foresee the need to move out into a rented office space, here are a few things to consider about your home.
Before you start picking out office furniture, you may want to safeguard your business first. Working by yourself can create the illusion that you don’t need any insurance, as you are ultimately responsible for your own business. However, getting insured provides an invaluable safety net that shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s a fundamental truth that public liability is important for sole traders, particularly if you have clients who visit your office at home for regular meetings. Sourcing information about your business liabilities and the right level of cover from an experienced provider like Hiscox is a good place to start.
Create a separate office
Your idea of working from home might involve getting up at 11, working in your pyjamas and tapping at your laptop in front of the television. However, while that can be pleasant on an odd day, particularly if you’re not feeling too well, it’s a good idea to establish some form of routine, and the best way to instil that is with office space. In fact, pretending you are going to ‘the office’ is said to help establish something resembling a routine.
Here are a few ways to create your own office:
- Invest in a desk that’s appropriate for the job: if you have a tiny old flat-pack desk that is overflowing with papers and equipment, it’s probably not servicing your needs properly. While going desk hunting might not be the most thrilling, it could create an organised space you are happy to work in.
- Clear out and replace: If the light fixture in your study makes it unappealing to work there, or you have a small bookshelf and no storage, you will need to donate it to charity and find something more substantial. Basing your furniture on your tech and storage needs is the best way to create a home office.
Invest in useful equipment
Avoiding buying that A3 printer because it’s expensive? Still haven’t got round to purchasing a back-up hard drive? Not compared your business energy prices? These might be expensive purchases, but they could be hugely beneficial to your business and save you money in the long-run. Lost files and constant trips to the printers can create sudden, alarming costs.
Useful equipment, can of course, also be for leisure. If your weakness is going out for expensive takeaway coffees, then maybe putting some money aside for an espresso maker might be a nice little self-employed reward.
The need to work from home is sometimes unavoidable, and while there are rented co-work spaces, sometimes home is just a cheaper and more comfortable alternative. However, creating an area that is comfortable and works for you is one of the best ways to ensure that this is an option that leaves you feeling contented.