Using your home as a workplace
Casual businessman with cup of coffee sitting by desk in front of laptop during break and looking at you

Using your home as a workplace

Now, more than ever, people are setting up their own businesses.  Either through necessity, as a result of redundancy, or through a desire to have a better work-life balance.   

Covid 19 has impacted greatly on many peoples’ lives and for some it has presented them with the time and opportunity to do things differently.  Some have seen business opportunities arise from the current crisis, others have decided to follow their dreams and turn hobbies in to successful ventures. 

What ever the reason for starting a new business, homes across the country are being turned in to workplaces.  Using your home as your workplace enables you to get your business up and running quickly and helps keep costs down.  But, if you are planning to set up and run a business from home, there are a number of things you need to take into consideration before you begin. 

Considerations for using your home as a workplace

Check if there are any legal restrictions 

You will need to check if there are any legal restrictions on using your home for business purposes – you can find this out by looking at the title to the property, which is held by the Land Registry, or by speaking to your mortgage provider or leaseholder. 

Check and update your home insurance 

If you are using the property in a different way to that detailed on your policy, it may be rendered invalid, or the business space may not be covered. You might need to take out separate business insurance to cover your products and equipment, along with specialist personal liability insurance. 

If you store stock for your business at your house, this could increase your premiums as your insurers might view you as being at increased risk of fire or theft. 

Tax considerations of working from home 

If you are selfemployed (including those in partnership) you can claim tax relief on the additional costs of working from home, even if there are separate business premises. The relief is given by including an expense in the business accounts or including an adjustment on a tax return. The amounts on which relief can be claimed can be established in two ways, calculating actual costs, or using fixed rates published by HMRC. 

When basing a claim on actual costs, it will be necessary to keep a record of costs incurred, allocate them as fixed or variable costs, and then apportion them on a reasonable basis, which may include area, usage and/or time. Fixed costs include such items as council tax, insurance and mortgage interest. Examples of variable costs are electricity, gas and telephone. Some costs may be directly attributable to working from home and therefore no proportioning is required. 

As an alternative to maintaining detailed records and calculations, HMRC’s published rates may be used as follows: 

Home worker Tax table

If you are setting aside an area of your home exclusively for business use, it will impact on the amount of private residence relief for Capital Gains Tax purposes that can be claimed when the house is sold. This issue may be avoided if that area is also used for private purposes some of the time. 

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Home business work equipment and workstation setup

It might be tempting to work from the kitchen table (or even the sofa), but if you are planning on working from home on a more permanent basis you will need to consider the long term impacts of your home-working environment and set-up on your health and well-being. 

Many musculoskeletal injuries, such as backache, wrist problemsshoulder and neck pain, can be attributed to poor posture.  Ensuring that you are sitting correctly will pay dividends in the long term and lead to better health and well-being outcomes. 

Top tips for creating a healthy home workstation

  • Adjust your chair and sit correctly.  If you can, invest in a good ergonomic chair that offers support and helps ensure you have the correct posture.  If you have to make do with the kitchen table, invest in a sitting wedge and a backfriend to give you more support. 
  • Ensure that your screen is at the correct height.  Looking at a screen that is at the wrong height or angle, is a sure-fire way to get a sore neck and can lead to other musculoskeletal disorders problems.  As a guide, the top of your screen should be in-line with your eyebrows. 
  • Use your laptop correctly.  One of the benefits of a laptop is its portability.  Although it may be tempting to sit on a comfy sofa, or even sit in bed, this is going to do your posture no good at all.  It’s recommended that if you are using a laptop for any length of time, you should use a laptop stand to raise the laptop to eye height.  You should then use a separate keyboard and mouse to ensure that the screen stays at arm’s length. 
  • To encourage activity, consider using a sit-stand desk.  Sit-stand desks have been scientifically proven to improve your productivity, concentration and increase your creativity. Whilst standing, you use more muscles, burn more calories and increase blood flow to the brain. Therefore, it improves the way we feel and improves the way we work. It has also been found that sit-stand desks have the ability to increase productivity from up to 10-20%. 

X2 Furniture provide a number of home-office solutions to help you work from home comfortably and safely