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HomeOffice-deduction1

Many smaller companies are run from the home address of one of the business principals. Approximately six million companies in the United Kingdom are home-based. This can be a successful strategy, but other companies are more suited to having a dedicated office. Here we look at the pros and cons of running a business from home.

Reasons to run the business from home 

Time and Cost 

Perhaps the simplest idea of all. If your office is in your home, you don’t waste time getting to and from the office. Obviously if you have office premises, you will need to either buy, or more likely, rent them. The cost of commuting also seems to be increasing rapidly.

Be your own boss to a greater extent

If you rent an office, or operate from premises shared with other companies, you may need to comply with your landlord’s rules. You may have responsibilities, with your fellow tenants, for maintenance of communal areas such as kitchens and meeting rooms that eat into time which could be better spent building your business. Later we will look at how there may still be distractions when working from home, but there are certainly ways you can become sidetracked in an office. Your office might, for example, be on a business park, next to a noisy industrial site, or on a busy road. Even a noisy colleague can end up hampering productivity.

Allocate expenses to the business

Provided your home is your main place of business, you may be able to save money by allocating a portion of your council tax and utility bills as business expenses. 

Flexibility

Access to a home office at any time does have its advantages. Everything you need is accessible, whether there are some files that you urgently want to check or you want to work longer hours such as over the weekend. If your office is in your home that isn’t a problem, even if the urge hits you at 11pm.

Reasons to run the business from an office 

Professionalism

In certain business sectors, it is beneficial to ‘look’ professional. Operating from a recognised office could make this much easier to achieve and give off an impression of credibility.

Seeing clients

If you need to have regular meetings at your company premises with clients, suppliers or anyone else, it can pay to have proper office premises. Potential clients may be much more impressed if they turn up at a smart office complex rather than at your home address. Some may feel uncomfortable about coming to your home, and you may feel uncomfortable about letting them into your living space.

Availability of other facilities and services

In an office complex, a wide range of additional facilities and services may be available. For example, if you need the use of another room, or a meeting room, these are very likely to be available in your office building, and use of these may even be included in your rental payment. If you work from home and something is happening which requires use of a training room or similar, you would have to pay to hire somewhere for the day. A serviced office may also offer all manner of services, from postal and fax services to provision of lunches.

Maintenance

If something goes wrong in your home, you need to either fix it yourself or pay someone to sort it out. In an office, your landlord will probably undertake all necessary repairs as part of your contract, from technical wi-fi problems even down to fitting new lightbulbs.

Family life

It’s easy for a home office to impact on your family life; the temptation to spend a ‘quick’ five minutes checking emails can invariably lead to an hour-long session and cause upset with family members who are losing out on quality time. It’s often far more difficult to ‘switch off’.    

Employees

If you employ anyone, even if it is just one person, running the business from home becomes much more difficult. They may feel uncomfortable about working in your home and likewise, having your personal documents and living arrangements exposed could create awkwardness. For these reasons, many business owners operate from home if they are the only person involved in the company, but then move to an office when they grow sufficiently to take on their first employee.

Distractions at home

Distractions at home can be a major issue. Cold calls can be frequent, and you may feel compelled to answer all of your telephone calls just in case they turn out to be important. You may also find yourself doing household chores or watching daytime TV, almost without thinking, when you should be working. Another problem might be that friends and neighbours who know you are likely to be in all day try and use your home as a place to have their parcels delivered; not appreciating that you might actually be busy!

Other business services

Your company may well make use of other companies to provide services such as web design, printing, IT, marketing or accountancy. If you are in an office complex, you may find that there are a number of companies within the same building whose services you can use in these areas. You can thus establish genuine personal relationships with these companies more easily, and may be able to get hold of them much quicker – for example, if your computer fails, instead of ringing someone to come out and fix  it, you can perhaps just walk down the corridor to find your IT services provider.

Insurance 

Your home insurance policy may not cover business items, so check this out. If necessary you would need to buy additional insurance in order to work from home.

Mortgage restrictions

You may have been granted a mortgage on the basis that your home will only be used for residential purposes, or there may be historic covenants relating to the property prohibiting its use for commercial purposes.

Keith Tully

About Our GE Network Expert - KeithTully

Keith Tully, managing director of Real Business Rescue, understands how quickly a company can go downhill if operating capital is not available. He has been rescuing distressed businesses for the better part of two decades and is happy to see young businesses survive and grow.


 
 
 

 
 

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