Working from Home
September 17 2019
In the digital age, there are a wide variety of jobs where you can work from home. Whilst work-at-home jobs may have been limited to writing and a few other professions in the past, you can now follow a range of career paths from your bedroom.
Once you’ve found an opportunity to work from home that suits you, it’s important to make sure that you understand the relevant laws in the UK. There is legislation in place relating to asking for permission, insurance, tax, and health and safety.
Depending on the kind of work you intend to do and the type of property you live in, you may need to ask permission first. For those planning to do remote work for another company, it is unlikely that there will be any problems here. You may need permission, however, if you plan to run a business from your home.
As a property owner, you should check the property title for your home before you go any further. This document is held by the Land Registry and will indicate whether there are any legal restrictions in place on running a business from your home. Your mortgage may prevent you from running a business from your home, so it’s a good idea to consult your provider or check your documentation.
If you plan to start a home-based business that requires a licence, may cause a nuisance to neighbours, or will involve significant alterations to your house, then there may be further steps to take. In any case, make use of the government’s licence finder tool. Changes to your home will need to be checked with your local authority.
For rented accommodation, you’ll need to seek written permission from your landlord before starting your own business at home. They may refuse you permission if they believe your business could cause damage to the property or upset your neighbours. Your business could cause a disturbance, for example, if you have regular deliveries or client visits to your home. Once you’ve got permission, it’s a good idea to have your tenancy agreement changed to reflect this.
Those living in council houses will need to get written permission from their local council or housing authority. As with landlords, the council may refuse to grant you permission if your business will cause excessive wear and tear to the property or disturb others in your local area.
Depending on the kind of work you want to do at home, you may need to get additional insurance. Your home insurance policy is unlikely to cover equipment that you need for the business – however, simple office equipment can probably be covered by a combined domestic and commercial insurance.
If you plan to employ anyone you will need employers’ liability insurance. Similarly, where clients or other members of the public are visiting your home on business, you will need public liability insurance to prevent legal trouble if anyone is injured on your property. There may be other forms of insurance that are specific to your line of business, such as pet groomers and other businesses involving animals.
Whether you’re planning to become a sole trader or set up a home-based business, there are tax allowances that you could benefit from. You can claim a proportion of the certain home costs in your business accounts, including council tax and utilities – the amount you can claim will be based on how often you use your property for business and how much of the house is affected. A full-time personal trainer, for example, could claim more than an electrician who only does occasional administrative tasks at home. You may have to pay business rates on the portion of your property that is used for business activity, so check the government’s online guide. It is also worth bearing in mind that you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax when you sell your home if you use part of it for business.
As with any business, you must adhere to health and safety guidelines when working from home. If you’re going to run a business from home, then you’ll need to carry out a health and safety risk assessment. This will involve evaluating possible hazards relating to your work equipment, fires, excessive noise, and slips, trips, and falls. Where there are potential hazards, you’ll need to make sure you take precautions to reduce the risk.
Hopefully this guide has been useful. If you do start working from home in a business that requires delivery packaging, be sure to choose Boxtopia as your supplier!