The Internet age has created a multitude of possibilities for us, and the ability to conduct our work-related tasks from home is just one of the civilised aspects of technological advancement. Geography no longer has to dictate where an individual can work or where a company can operate.
It has become increasingly popular in recent years for people to work from home, whether they are self-employed and working alone, operating as a limited company and basing the business at home, or even agreeing with an employer to carry out contractual duties out of the office.
In fact, the past five years have seen a 13% increase in home-based workers, according to the official figures published by the TUC earlier this year. Scotland, in particular, ranks pretty high in the polls, bearing witness to some of the sharpest rises in homeworking in the UK, along with SE England and Wales.
Benefits of remote working
This culture of remote working presents many benefits for both individuals and companies, and it can often open up more job and business opportunities during these economically-trying times. Companies and employees basing themselves at home can be a very cost-effective measure, reducing overheads and travelling costs, as well as the potential to set valid business costs against tax, such as telephone calls, energy bills, travelling expenses and work-related equipment and supplies.
Aside from the potential financial benefits, it can also boost productivity. The time saved on commuting can free up many hours over the course of a year – time that is better spent on getting your work done, rather than whiling away valuable time on the train or sitting in the rush-hour gridlock twice a day in a bid to make it to the office on time. The added stress of this daily grind is also somewhat counterproductive and, whether or not you are someone who works well under pressure, the physiological effects of this stress hinder our cognitive abilities.
Indeed, there are sceptics out there who believe working from home has a detrimental effect on a worker’s motivation and efficiency or the professional image of a company. While this may be the case in certain circumstances, by and large it is an excellent option for many people and businesses. There is no reason for a company’s image or reputation to suffer, especially with the availability of virtual office services.
Clients and suppliers need not be made aware that a company operates from a residential location, and it is now easier than ever to maintain the kind of professional image afforded to larger businesses with the financial power to operate from an exclusive address and hire an army of staff. There’s absolutely no reason why a good business should suffer simply because an individual works from home or a company is run from a laptop on the coffee table!