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work from home

Work from home is on the increase as opportunities for remote work grow thanks to advances in technology. The benefits are immense, from saving on overheads (if you run your own home business), to the freedom to work to your own schedule. Here we’ll take a look at some of the legal aspects as well as what makes a home office a productive and inspirational work space.

The legal side of doing work from home may contain some red tape which needs looking at; depending on the size and nature of the work you will be doing.

Doing small scale work such as remote work for a company or freelancing, generally won’t need any special permission. However, starting up your own small business may need some planning and permission, especially if your business includes an increase in visitor traffic or noise. Whether renting or owning your own property, residential zoning means leases and title deeds often contain clauses which prohibit business use. If renting you can check your lease or ask your landlord for permission. If buying your own home, check the title for information on restrictions as you may need to get permission, especially when a residential mortgage is in place. Another bit of red tape would be your neighbours. If your business in any way adds risk or prohibits them from enjoying their own property they are well within their rights to take you to court. Obviously if you plan on making any alterations to your home for your work, then planning permission will be needed.

Also make sure to check whether your home insurance will need changing as you don’t want to end up not being fully covered should something happen. You may also want to look at public liability insurance to cover third parties.

One last bit of red tape is special licenses. If your home business is related to child care, food production, or hotel/B&B business you will need special health and safety licenses in order to legally operate.

Now the fun part – creating your very own work-from-home space! The great thing about not working in a corporate office or a tiny cubicle is that you can design your office and hours to suit your personality and your needs. If you already own a home, find a spot that is seldom used or turn the spare room into your office. If you are looking for a new home and know that you need to set up an office, you’ll want to keep that in mind. Look for a home that has an extra room, make sure it is light and airy, easily accessible without causing too much disruption to your everyday family life, and can be expanded if you will need that option later on.

Once you find your ideal spot, here are a few essentials you’ll need to think about to set up your work space:

  • A separate office space – to avoid unnecessary distraction; especially important if you have children! If space is limited you could even convert a closet in a room into a desk and workspace which is easy to close off when you are not working.
  • A routine and clear boundaries – It is all too easy to be distracted by housework or a quick catch-up with your friend, but to work from home productively you need to be strict with yourself. Setting up clear boundaries with those around you, and a routine which works with your day, is the best way to achieve success.
  • A good computer or laptop – one that is reliable and has efficient memory and speed for your work requirements. You may want to look at one with a working camera and mic if you’ll be attending remote meetings.
  • A good WiFi set-up – if you are doing remote work for a company you will need access to files and work being sent. If running your own business going digital is far easier than mountains of paperwork.
  • A productive work space – This is entirely personal. You may choose a standing desk, a desk with a pilates ball, or a standard desk and comfortable chair. You will want a calendar nearby where you can jot down appointments or deadlines, or even just make notes. And of course you’ll need easy access to files/books/stationery.


Other items depend entirely on your business needs. You may want to install a printer/scanner, you may need shelves for files or reference books. You may want to put up a clock so that you have a clear view of the time. You could paint a wall with chalk paint and write down notes and plans as you go along. Whatever you decide, it’s best to sit down first and write down what your business will require and what you would like to include in your space. In the end, plan a work space that will allow you to work efficiently as well as create a sense of joy for what you do every day. Happy working!

Andre Ter Moshuizen Estate Agent

082 602 1367 |

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