Working at homeYahoo’s new chief executive, Marissa Mayer, sent more than a ripple through the ‘home working’ community recently when she apparently ‘banned’ Yahoo’s staff from working from home. What happened to the brave new dawn of the home worker, unshackled from the office and free to manage their time more flexibly without the horrors of the daily commute?

For small business start-ups however, the beauty is there is no one else imposing their working practices; you can work from the dining room table, the spare bedroom, the coffee shop, or usually wherever you can find some wi-fi access.

There does come a time however when many small businesses will start to think about finding their own premises away from their home. These ‘leaving home’ triggers often include:

  • Taking on employees
  • More clients visiting
  • Need for more separation of home/work life.

 

Having your own office premises can start to quickly rack up additional costs and it pays to look at ways of keeping these costs down such as taking some shared space with another business for example. Why not contact local businesses in your area and see if they have any space they would sublet to you? Or serviced offices with short let terms are another possibility.
Is your equipment covered?

There are also some insurance implications that you should consider when moving to your own office. Is your office equipment covered for damage or theft both within the office and when you’re on the move visiting clients (don’t rely on your home insurance)? How physically secure is the office you’re using? How secure is your data – could someone easily access your PC/server when you’re not there? If your business is growing don’t forget the other insurance requirements such as employers’ liability – a legal requirement for almost every business taking on employees, as well as public liability.

For those of you happy to keep your business at home – and the Office for National Statistics reckons that around 58% of the UK’s 4.2m self employed still use their home to some extent for their business – there are also a number of insurance considerations to think about:

  • Existing home insurance policies are unlikely to cover business risks such as public liability – remember, even if no one visits your home, you could be liable for prosecution if you visit a client’s office and inadvertently cause some damage such as knocking a cup of coffee over a laptop for instance
  • Your home insurance might not cover your business equipment – what about that laptop that you take out of the home? Is it covered should you lose it or if it’s stolen? Same for that smart phone or tablet.