Speak to somebody, who works from the home, and they will most likely tell you that the one thing they hear time and time again is how lucky they are – and how so many people would love the opportunity to do the same.
However, with this praise often comes a tendency to belittle those who make their home their work base, with this method seen as more of a hobby and way of avoiding the harsh realities of the workplace! I’m often told how lovely it would be to work in the comfort of the home, wearing PJs, drinking copious amounts of coffee all day, whilst having Netflix playing in the background!
Those of us who have made a success of working from home, myself included, will understand that this route is most certainly not the easy way out; in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Therefore, such comments can be demoralising and off putting for people potentially looking to begin working from home.
The truth is, making the home your working base is not as straight forward and simple as many would have you believe. Yet, get the foundations in place at the very beginning of this venture and you will soon reap the benefits of this main stream alternative working solution.
Having made the jump some years ago now, nothing would entice me back into the workplace! By successfully accomplishing the positioning from workplace to home, I have a few simple but effective tips to help others make that transition, with the key message – get yourself prepared before you begin!
All Home Workers Need One Permanent Desk
Decide on a place in the home and claim it as your own. Though we hear supposed success stories of working at the dining table, in the long term this is never a practical solution. Make an area of the room your own; even better, create your own office, no matter how small. Can you really FaceTime a potential client in the kitchen in front of a load of dirty dishes?
Think of who may be in the home during your working day. Do you need complete quietness and privacy to make Skype calls? If so, will a family member most likely disrupt you? It is best practice to have the area and such solutions prepped before you begin to work from home. That way, when you do start, all you need do is turn up and begin working!
Make Tax and Finances Your Priority
Dependent on the country you live in, nearly all people need to be registered for the inevitable tax! Don’t let this slip you by. As soon as you know what you are going to be doing, and when, informing the relevant tax department is vital before you take your place at your desk.
Even if you can’t yet calculate how much you are going to be earning in a tax year, start out on the right path, rather than risk the penalties later. Tax is a huge part of working life, whether we like it or not, and we all must pay it. Rather than see it as a hassle, get ahead of it and make sure you have an immediate system in place.
Ensure You Cover Your New Venture Appropriately
What few people may not realise is that once you begin working from the home, you could affect your current insurance policy. It is pivotal that you check your current home insurance cover for further details. Whilst most policy’s will cover you automatically, you need to be more mindful of the extra equipment you intend to use in your home working position.
Have you purchased extra items? If so, add them to your policy to ensure you are fully covered should a problem arise. There’s nothing worse than a computer breaking down in your first week, leaving you unable to replace it immediately if you haven’t covered it through your insurance policy.
Do you intend to receive work visitors to your home? In this case you may need to consider taking out public liability insurance. This will cover both you and them and any potential claims, legal fees or property damage, should a problem ever occur.
If currently rent, does your rent agreement or contract allow you to work from home? Whilst this usually isn’t a problem if you are just going to be working from a desk, you may want to double check this to ensure you aren’t breaking any of its terms or conditions. This is especially important if you intend to use other equipment or store work related items in your home.
Add Some Structure to Your Working Day
Regardless of popular opinion, you can’t always work any time or day you prefer when you work from home! Whilst many of us shun the workplace to go freelance, we’re aware that most of our clients still work standard industry hours, and we must make ourselves accessible during the day for this.
As much as you can, create a work routine early on, incorporating an element of flexibility into it. That way, you show others you are serious about your new role and, in turn, those around you will come to understand your works importance and respect your working day.
Above all, get the important business and finance issues out of the way first, before you sign off on your new venture. Working from home is one of the most cost effective and truly interesting ways to work these days – provided you plan and prepare yourself for it as much as possible beforehand.