Whether you are a freelancer or have your very own small business, working from home is an ideal solution for a lot of people, particularly if you want to keep costs down.
However, there are some important things to consider to ensure that it’s the best possible solution for you. Below, you’ll find some top tips for making your home office work.
Designate your working space
Wherever possible, try to assign space that’s just for business use. This could be a spare bedroom turned office, a special corner or a pull out desk if you’re short on space.
Whatever space you use, try to pick somewhere you won’t be disturbed or distracted and can shut other stuff out. You may need to discuss with your family or whoever you live with that when you’re working in your business space, you’re not to be disturbed except for emergencies.
Having an office is useful so you can just shut the door to signal that you’re working. But if you don’t have a spare room, you might want to put on headphones or ask people not to enter the room you’re using at certain times of the day to ensure you’re not disturbed.
Get the right equipment
Try to invest in quality office furniture like chairs and desks. Any aches and pains that you get from cheap or unsuitable office furniture will end up distracting you and contributing to poor health overall.
A good supportive chair will keep you wanting to work for longer and therefore will have a huge impact on your productivity levels.
The good side to investing in your office is that you can claim the cost of doing this as an expense – so you’ll end up paying less tax overall.
Don’t neglect the décor
While your office is for work, it doesn’t have to be bland and sterile like any other office building. You’ve got the freedom to decorate it how you’d like and in a way that boosts your mood and productivity.
So, think bright or calming colours, inspirational quotes or paintings and house plants. Make it an office that represents you best. However, a word of warning, you might want to avoid making it too homely – the potential for distraction is going to be much higher if you have a sofa and a TV in there too.
Aim to keep the room looking as light and airy as possible. Dark walls paired with a small room might not be the best choice if you want to create a relaxing atmosphere, as they could make the room feel small and cramped. Also, think about lighting. Choose something that’s close to natural light and won’t strain your eyes too much.
Prepare for distractions
Distractions are a fact of life when it comes to working from home. There’s housework, the TV, pets, visitors and a supply of your favourite snacks in the kitchen, all fighting for your attention.
This is one of the reasons why it’s best to have your own office or space wherever possible but even then, distractions are still a huge factor on your computer. Without a boss or colleagues to hold you accountable, those Twitter scrolling sessions are mostly uninterrupted.
It’s time to be honest with yourself about distractions – it’s the only way you’ll be able to work around them. If you’re a TV binger, work in a room without a TV. If you’re a social media addict, try an app that blocks your access to social media while you’re working.
No one wants to pay a higher tax bill than they need to and with expenses, you can reduce this bill. Any income you receive that you spend back on the business is an expense, and shouldn’t contribute to your overall profit figures when it comes to pay tax.
So, make sure you keep a record of all your expenses. You can claim for office equipment, software packages, stationery, outsourcing costs and travel if you use it solely for business purposes.
You will also be able to claim a portion of your household bills as expenses. The way you do this has to be proportional to your business usage of the room and needs to be fair and reasonable. Some people divide by how many rooms are in their home and claim for that percentage. There are other flat rate options but the best thing for you to do is to speak with an accountant to choose the best approach for your individual circumstances.
If you need help with your expenses and working out how much you could save, you can get a free instant quote here for low-cost accountancy services.
Are you planning to work from a home office? How do you plan to stay on target and motivated? Please pop your thoughts below in the comments.