Running your business from home comes with many advantages, but there’s a few things you need to consider before you set up shop. From the interior design to the insurance — here are four tips for getting started.
When it comes to setting up a new business, many entrepreneurs run it from home during its infancy stages. Not only does this keep overhead down, but it can also mean increased flexibility, tax advantages and an improved work/life balance. Before setting up shop in the front room, however, there are a few things you’ll need to consider from a legal and practical standpoint.
In a guide to creating a ‘home office heaven,’ small business insurer Hiscox enlisted the advice of interior designer Cathy Phillips, occupational health specialist Gail Kinman and entrepreneur Helen Lewis. Read on for pointers on how to start your business from home — and stay motivated during the process.
1 – Create a productive workspace.
One of the most influential factors when it comes to working from home is your workspace — it’s essential to create a productive environment that will inspire and motivate. Invest in a good desk and keep it tidy — an organised workspace equals an organised mind. Interior designer Cathy Phillips advises that “in a working environment, calming colours are always best. Look at muted neutral tones for the walls and consider how these will work with the colour of the furniture.”.
2 – Set boundaries.
Our homes are full of distractions, and it’s easy for the boundaries between our work life and personal life to become blurred when working from home. To maintain focus and preserve work/life balance, set some ground rules such as set working hours and a work-free zone. Helen Lewis has worked from home for 14 years, and she says her favourite thing about it is “the chance to be who I want to be, when I want to be, where I want to be. I choose who I work with, I choose the hours I work (pretty much), I choose how I manage my day.”
3 – Look after your mental health.
It’s frequently reported that people who work from home can feel lonely or socially isolated due to the lack of human contact day to day. To counteract these feelings, make a conscious effort to maintain communication with friends and family at specific times during the day. Gail Kinman, who specializes in occupational health psychology, explains: “Remember that human contact is vital. Schedule in lunch meetings with friends, Skype or at least have a phone call.”
4 – Purchase insurance.
Although you’re working from home, you may still need to purchase business insurance. While your “business premises” (i.e. your home office) and contents may be covered by an existing home insurance policy, there is likely to be a limit that is easily exceeded by claims for business equipment. Business Property insurance covers damage, loss and theft of work property at home or outside of your home.
There are also a few other forms of business insurance to consider. General Liability insurance, for example, may be worthwhile if clients or customers visit you at your home office, while Professional Liability insurance can cover small businesses against claims of negligence or professional mistakes.
Setting up a new business from home takes a lot of motivation and drive but it can also be incredibly rewarding in many ways. By considering the above points, there’s no reason why it can’t thrive and grow.