Setting up your home office
You'll want to think about what kind of work environment you want in your home business.
Business Gateway has information on creating your work environment.
The Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives also offers free and confidential advice on managing the risks of lone working and other practical advice.
Advances in technology mean that you can be just as connected working from home as from a business premise. Find out more about:
- connecting to broadband
- whether you need call handling and mobile coverage,
- using a cloud service
- protecting your business from cyber attacks
Broadband and superfast broadband
Superfast broadband is currently available to 95% of Scotland. Full coverage should be available by the end of 2021. If you don't already know if fibre is available in your area, you can check by entering your landline number or postcode at Superfast broadband.
Many homeworkers choose to upgrade from a residential to business broadband package. Although business broadband can be more expensive, it's worth considering as it usually includes:
- business support services
- faster and more reliable connection
- priority fault fixing
- inclusive extras such as an IP address and web space
Sam Knows provides further information on broadband speeds and packages available in your area.
You may want to think about how you'll handle business calls to your home. Apart from using your home number, options include getting:
- an 0345 local rate number
- an 0870 national rate number
- a separate landline number for your business.
- a virtual office and/or call-handling service
Business BT offers some general guidance on what the options mean for you and your customer. Your own supplier may also be able to offer information on choices available to you.
If your home office is in an area with poor mobile coverage but good broadband, some operators sell equipment that creates a 3G signal in and around your home. You may wish to check whether your network provider offers this.
Storing your business information using a cloud service can offer savings as well as additional protection for your data. Enterprise Nation's Must Have Cloud Apps offers information and suggestions in to the types of services available.
It's important that all businesses have effective cyber security measures in place and are able to recover quickly if they're subject to attacks like ransomware.
The Scottish Government website has a guide about getting the basics of cyber resilience right.
Get Safe Online has information and tools.
The Cyber Essentials Scheme is an organisational standard in cyber security which has been developed by UK government in partnership with industry. The scheme covers the basics of cyber security in an organisation's enterprise or corporate IT system.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre gives advice and guidance on how businesses can stay safe, secure and resilient. It also gives specific information about protection from cybercrime.
Networking and work hubs
There are offices across Scotland where business owners can work with others in a shared space called a 'work hub'. Being part of a work hub can:
- offer co-working on shared projects
- strengthen the profile of your business as you may find a network of like-minded people
- offer a venue for meeting clients
Work hubs can include a desk area, meeting space, mentoring, organised events and informal meet-ups. The facilities may be offered for free although conditions may apply.
To find out if there's a hub near you contact your local Business Gateway advisor.
As a home-based business, you may want to speak to energy suppliers to find out which tariffs are available to you.
The energy regulator Ofgem has guidance on business contracts between energy companies and microbusinesses.
If you have a complaint or enquiry about an energy supplier or network operator you should contact that company directly first.
If the complaint isn't resolved and either 8 weeks have passed since the complaint has made or the energy company says it can do no more to resolve the complaint (whichever is sooner), you can ask the Energy Ombudsman to investigate.
The Energy Ombudsman can be contacted by telephone on 0330 440 1624, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to:
Ombudsman Services: Energy
PO Box 966