Use: What are you planning to do there? Generally people working from home are in the quieter trades, which do not impact upon their family and neighbours.
Planning permission: This should only be necessary if your business activity impacts on the character of the property by; undertaking major structural changes, creating noise and fumes, regularly employing other people or having customers constantly visiting the premises (e.g. open studios). Talk to the planning officer at your local council for advice on what you can and cannot do. More information on planning permission can be found at www.odpm.gov.uk OR www.planningportal.gov.uk.
Insurance: You will need to check your policy to see if this use will affect your home insurance - again ensure you check this with your insurance provider. In addition you will probably need public liability insurance cover if you have work related visitors coming into your home.
Tenancy agreement/mortgage: Always check if your tenancy agreement or mortgage actually allows you to work from home. Make sure that you are not breaking the terms of agreement or you may find that this could be terminated.
Accessibility: The Disability Discrimination Act requires those owning buildings to make sensible adjustments for disabled access. If you will be inviting customers to your home, it is your responsibility to ensure that all the requirements of the DDA are complied with. Ensure the space is safe for members of the public (including chemicals, equipment and machinery). For more information on the DDA visit www.direct.gov.uk/DisabledPeople/fs/en.
Health & Safety: What are the health and safety regulations that are applicable to your business and does your home comply? Health and Safety regulations, which are applied in an office environment should also be applied in the home.
If you employ more than 5 people you must carry out a risk assessment for yourself, visitors and workers. This should cover a wide range of issues from personal safety to working at height and where the nearest accident and emergency unit is. A fire risk assessment must also be included (in relation to the materials that you use and the nature of the building) that covers emergency procedures in case of fire e.g. what to do, where the fire exits are, the evacuation procedure, where you need to assemble in safety and what fire fighting equipment you need.
Working alone: Although working from home can provide a good working environment, it can also be quite a lonely experience. Loneliness is one of the main reasons cited for small business owners moving back to employment. Plenty of homeworkers are desperate for company by the end of the day will you be able to achieve a work/life balance?
Costs: Working from home is generally cheaper as there are no office/studio rental, or commuting costs. However, you will incur other costs such as equipment and furniture.
Be aware that you may be eligible to claim a "reasonable" part of your home costs such as light, electricity and rent from the Inland Revenue. More information can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk.
Finally, remember that working from home can also mean that you have distractions that take you away from your work. Many people take studios in other locations in order to concentrate on work in an uncluttered environment, as well as having contact with other people.
Working from home:
Health & Safety: