More than eight out of 10 of UK businesses with under 10 employees now use their home as a workplace – but there are still professional considerations to be made.
According to the Big Issues for Small Businesses report by Lloyds Bank Insurance, just over half of all microbusinesses are started from home.
For more than three quarters of these homeworkers, this decision meant making significant changes to their homes to make them ‘work ready’. The most popular change, unsurprisingly, is a room-to-office conversion, carried out by 42 per cent of home workers. These conversions can cost a bundle, with the average being £1,392.
But two thirds of those choosing this path argue that it makes better financial sense – factoring in travel and food costs saved when working at home – while others say it actually increases productivity.
The main drawback for more than a third of those questioned is actually working more than they would like, while a similar figure miss the traditional sociable atmosphere of an office. Other worries include somebody in the family deleting/losing a document (17 per cent), while 10 per cent admit damaging a work device by spilling a drink on it.
David Martin, Director of SME insurance at Allianz Insurance, spoke to The Independent.
“When starting a business many people find that their home is a great place to use as it keeps their costs down,” he said. “There are a range of issues a business owner should consider including health and safety assessments and the right insurance for their needs.”
His top four tips are:
- To comply with the Health and Safety Act, carry out a simple risk assessment including tasks such as testing electrical items and childproofing office space
- If you store business stock at home or buy equipment for your business, it is classed as a business asset and needs to be insured for damage and theft
- If you have business visitors, consider public liability insurance to protect you from loss or damage for claims made by visitors to your home in connection with the business.
- All employers who have more than five employees must have liability insurance or face fines of up to £2,500 for each day they don’t have it – employee family members are still employees.