It’s a thorny subject – for years we have been hearing that working from home is the way forward and for many of us who are self-employed, it’s already a reality. Now though, due to the “virus that shall not be mentioned”, many more of us are facing up to the pitfalls and delights of the 2-minute commute from bedroom to desk.
In truth, the transition from office-based collaborative work to solo endeavour is difficult and requires some adjustment to the usual routine and work practices.
If possible, carve out a space which is exclusively for work (preferably a space with a closing door). The psychology of being able to close the door on your work at the end of the day is enormously important.
Whilst there is a temptation to become more flexible with scheduling/breaks/working attire, resist at all costs! Resolve to be at your desk/workspace at your normal start time, in smart attire, ready to take on the day.
Take regular, scheduled breaks and step out of the workspace – stroll around the garden (if you have one) or take a brisk walk around the block.
Step away from biscuits!
It’s daunting to contemplate a whole new set of routines and technology but stick with it. Keeping in touch with your colleagues and managers will lessen the isolation and help maintain the team spirit. Yes, internet drop-offs are annoying (as is Jane from Accounts who can’t learn to unmute herself before she speaks) and it is a stilted form of communication if you must wait for your turn to speak, rather than pitching in as and when.
Treat it like you would a trip to a new, undiscovered country – learn the local etiquette, be cautious and circumspect in your utterances and remember that humour very often relies on impeccable timing, which isn’t always possible in a virtual meeting!
The enforced confinement may be very temporary or it may become a long-term situation. If the latter seems more likely, consider investing in your set up – a good quality chair and desk/table will pay dividends over time. Make sure you have the equipment and stationery you need – your employer may be willing to help with this and HMRC have indicated that tax relief will be available for essential home-working furniture and equipment.
You may very well find that you have gained extra hours in the day by not being obliged to travel to and from work. Use this time wisely – go for a walk, listen to music, spend time with your children. Extending your working hours to fit the time available will set a dangerous precedent!
Professional advice is necessary for every case; we would love to hear from you…
Past performance is not a reliable guide to the future. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up. The value of tax reliefs depend upon individual circumstances and tax rules may change. The FSA does not regulate tax advice. This newsletter is provided strictly for general consideration only and is based on our understanding of law and HM Revenue & Customs practice as at January 2011 and the contents of the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review. No action must be taken or refrained from based on its contents alone. Accordingly, no responsibility can be assumed for any loss occasioned in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction.