Recent figures have suggested around 13% of the UK population work from home on a regular basis. While this is a once-a-week deal for some office workers, many start-up businesses are formed and take flight in the home office and there are plenty of resources out there which can make this work for you.
Define a workspace
On a practical level, the first step is often simply setting up your home office; a spare room or study which is conducive to productivity. It's vital to make sure you have no distractions from the rest of the household and have your own designated work area, as opposed to working in the rooms where you would normally relax.
Ensure you’re comfortable
Invest in a comfortable chair, appropriate lighting and a good desk, as it's likely you will be spending much of your time seated here. Certain pieces of equipment might be essential, such as a separate phone line, filing cabinet and a printer but consider carefully what else you need; is a scanner or fax machine necessary for your business?
Arrange meeting venues
Of course, basing yourself at home might mean you need another space to meet clients or hold staff meetings. In the first instance, you could offer to travel to the client if it's just a one-to-one meeting. Public spaces such as libraries often have bookable private rooms and more informal meet-ups can be done over a coffee as many cafés now have free Wi-Fi.
Lease virtual and serviced offices
If you want to ensure a professional image for your company, virtual offices from i2 Office or similar providers may be a better option. Rented office space is worthwhile if you have the funds but you can keep costs down by enlisting a telephone answering service and a business address for all your mailing. It's a sound compromise if you want to keep your home and work life completely separate and some business centres offer meeting room hire as well.
With any alternative office, it's important to stick to a routine and keep it separate from your domestic one. Though it's easy to allow your personal life to creep in if you're working at home, maintaining a good work ethic – even as far as how you dress and where you sit between 9 and 5 – will help convince clients of your professional attitude and ultimately make a more successful business.
This post is brought to you with support from i2 Office.