Support & Information
New Business Ideas
David and Goliath; Business
Zone home business Q&A;
note with pleasure that the Minister has nominated himself as your direct line
of contact on home and self-employed business issues.
Christopher Chope, OBE, Small Firms Spokesman,
a major step forward for the Home Business Alliance and critically, gives a voice to the millions
of small businesses which operate from home. Well done.
Nolan,AICB, Abbey National
want to contratulale you and wish you all power to your elbow. Best wishes.
Bretherton, National Federation of Enterprise Agencies
on securing the 'seal of approval' from the DTI - it's fantastic.
Rockett, Worldwide Events
to say "well done" on your dealings with the Government.
joined the Home Business Alliance for added perceived credibility of being able to display their
Mr. N. R., Co. Tyrone
Home Business Alliance gives status to its members.
Mr. S. B., Bognor
main thing I like about the Home Business Alliance is that it gives professional respectability to
Mr. A. D., Catford
chief benefit for me is the support of a reputable organisation.
M. J., Uphall
joined the Home Business Alliance for the prestige of the name.
Mr. J. W., Colchester
like the feel of the Home Business Alliance. The members are good, it has integrity and the code
of practice is good. It's a good organisation to be part of.
Mr. E. S., Burnley
most important benefits of the Home Business Alliance to me are the sense of belonging to a group
of like-minded people and the information it gives me about other businesses.
P. C., Sittingbourne
joined the Home Business Alliance for several reasons, one being that by being a member of your organisation
it gives recognition and respectability to enquirers seeking a reputable business
Ms. A. R., Ardrossan
joined the Home Business Alliance for information, discounts and to enhance my professional image
ie. honesty and quality.
Mr. S. V-W., Deeside
I like best about The Home Business Alliance is being part of a nationally recognised organisation.
I am keen to expand my business interests, I welcome information re current possibilities.
The Home Business Alliance lends support in a solitary profession (writing) and provides a sense
of 'community', of belonging - and of honesty! The main benefit for me is the
feeling of integrity conveyed by the Home Business Alliance.
Mr. S.M., Haslemere
I joined the Home Business Alliance
for its ethical representation on a collective scale.
3. SUPPORT & INFORMATION
a member has saved me a lot of time, a lot of money and it has given me a lot
of very sound advice. They were of particular help sorting out my business banking.
Mr. S. P., Lowestoft
useful information for home-based businesses.
Ms. R. L., Exeter
very glad I joined. For me personally the biggest benefit is the pool of expertise
which has been assembled by the Home Business Alliance and the terrific camaraderie among its members.
Mr. J. R., Belfast
did I join the Home Business Alliance? The answer is what everyone knows who is a member - excellent
information and services!
Mr. L. G, Poole
browsing through The BOSS, it becomes quite evident that it's impossible to do
Mr. A. H., Harrow
Home Business Alliance gives hope to those of us who have lost faith in the so-called 'system', or
who just don't fit neatly into a 9 to 5 routine. There must be a better way -
and I think the Home Business Alliance is it!
Mr. N. C., Walsall
Home Business Alliance provides us with a more in-depth insight into being self-employed. It keeps
us in touch with people in a similar working environment - a degree of help as
and when required.
Mr. J. L. and Ms. V. S., Tarporley
actually read The BOSS. I no longer read any glossies - they just get filed.
Mr. M. G., London
joined the Home Business Alliance to get support when we go into full-time self-employment.
Mr. and Mrs. J. O., Croydon
value for money.
Mr. D. N., Orpington
would like to say that, even with the price increase, being an Home Business Alliance member is still
good value for money.
Mr. M. W. Todmorden
me, the most important thing about being in the Home Business Alliance is the up-to-date information
it gives me.
Mr. T. N., Inverness
a word, the reason I am in the Home Business Alliance is - information!
Mrs. D. N., Silloth
can be lonely being self-employed. The Home Business Alliance keeps me well-informed of the outside
Mr. J. B., Brighton
help me to save time, money and heartache by being able to learn from others'
mistakes and to enjoy success by working for myself.
Mrs. C. W., Chester
discounts available to members on computers, stationery and furniture are the
main benefit of the Home Business Alliance for me; I used it to find an insurance company which specialises
in home-based businesses.
Ms. G. M., London
joined the Home Business Alliance for the discounts, and members' offers . . .
Mr. J. O., Airdrie
most important ongoing membership benefit for me is members' offers and services.
T. A., Doncaster
most important benefits I get from the Home Business Alliance are contacts with business suppliers,
discounts and contact with other people working from home.
Ms. J. B., Caterham
joined the Home Business Alliance for contacts and discounts.
Mr. F. K., Thorverton
main ongoing benefits of the Home Business Alliance for me are advice services, discounts on products
and services and information from other members.
Mr. A. S., London
received over 50 replies to my free member's listing in the Home Business Alliance newsletter.
Mr. T. B., Accrington
obtained five new agents as a result of the listing for my business in the Home Business Alliance
Mrs. B. D., Selby
joined the Home Business Alliance to bring my business to the attention of potential customers.
Ms. J. B., Malvern
free listing led to good business contacts.
Mr. R. W., London
benefit from being part of a national organisation for home workers, and I gain
support, information and a potential outlet for my services.
Mrs. C. S., Preston
worthwhile organisation with excellent networking opportunities.
Mr. A. M., Belfast
prime reasons for joining the Home Business Alliance are good information and the chance to recruit
Mrs. D. W., North Harrow
feel that Home Business Alliance is the group to join if you are running a home-based business or
want to set one up. It is the only organisation I know which offers real potential
for mutually beneficial new business contacts and arrangements with other members.
D. H., Kilwinning
NEW BUSINESS IDEAS
joined the Home Business Alliance to receive ideas and advice on starting self-employment.
Mr. C. H., Edgware
main benefit of the Home Business Alliance for me is new business ideas.
Mr. G. G. M., Gt. Yarmouth
joined the Home Business Alliance to get information, support and business ideas.
Ms. J. J., Liverpool
ideas and information to run my business successfully are the main advantages
I get from the Home Business Alliance. Also, I like knowing that I can contact the experts for advice.
Mr. J. S., Burntwood
Home Business Alliance gives me ideas (that work) for starting a part-time business.
Mr. J.O., Airdrie
prime reason for joining the Home Business Alliance is that I'm interested in running a business
from home and need ideas and advice on how to get started.
Mrs. C. T., Lydd-on-Sea
Home Business Alliance gives me sources and ideas for working from home.
Miss M. K., Salisbury
RELEASE: DAVID v GOLIATH TRIUMPH FOR HOME
the current economic downturn likely to dramatically expand the self-employed
sector, an elite body representing its interests is celebrating a
David v Goliath triumph by reaching the top of the internet search engines for
Home Business Alliance (Home Business Alliance), www.homebusiness.org.uk, formerly the Nationwide
Bureau of Home Businesses, is now into its 16th year.
head Len Tondel reflects: Like so many of the activities and interests
of our members, our own website is very much a home-grown facility and we are
thrilled to be ahead of all the governments, the US websites and all those sponsored
by the telecoms/computer industries etc.
has been achieved without any real web development expertise just simply
by learning the basics, perseverance, regular updates and very specifically targeted
content. After bumping around at the top of google.co.uk and yahoo.co.uk searches
for the past three or four years, we have now risen to No. 1 on Google and Yahoo.
people increasingly looking to change employment direction or just add another
string to their financial bows, recent trends have driven more and more visitors
to the Home Business Alliance website and, given the present gloomy economic picture of cost-cutting
and redundancies, the association anticipates a considerable increase in the numbers
of home business operators.
Home Business Alliances actual membership figure is still relatively small, says
Len, but we like to think of ourselves as something of an elite body
- of great value to those who do join us and with a track record that speaks for
the UKs oldest-established home business organisation, the Home Business Alliance can list
an impressive collection of firsts for itself and achievements for
was the first and only business organisation to be given permission to operate
a truly national credit union.
was also the first business organisation to sign a Memorandum of Co-operation
with the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies; the first and only business
organisation to have its material on sale in the High Street; the first home business
organisation to lobby Parliament and government offices on home business issues;
and the first home business organisation to have its material in circulation in
Jobcentres and Careers Offices.
membership success stories include Mark McLaughlin, who from scratch just four
years ago has developed a UK Top Five accounting website (http://www.taxationweb.co.uk).
French member, Veronique Lazerat, also started from scratch around the same time
and now owns the largest saffran plantation in all of France. (http://www.safrandefrance.fr).
reflect the Home Business Alliances original and enduring concept of an ethical self-help framework
for home-based business people who need not only advice and help but also something
to belong to which they can identify with and feel part of.
sense of belonging is very much part of the Home Business Alliance membership benefits package,
Len explains. Members share their knowledge and experience with others
and that is why the space on the Home Business Alliance website is very much their space.
is no extra charge for Home Business Alliance members to use the website for their goods or services
or to simply write in with their latest news and views.
to member discounting or special offers are commonplace, while a number of Home Business Alliance
members are professional specialists in their own right and freely give their
advice and help to each other.
major feature of the Home Business Alliance website is its impartial review of home business opportunities,
validated by long experience in the business world of both Len and his partner
Marian Owen, who runs the Business Opportunity
now 58 and steeped in his family home business culture since the age of four,
observes: The future of the Home Business Alliance lies very much in becoming a pan-European
business association, as regulations and harmonisation start to bite, while at
the same time, with ever-improving transportation, communications and freedom
of movement, the home business marketplace becomes truly global. To this end,
the Home Business Alliance has established its HQ in France.
22nd January 2009
PIC ATTACHED Len Tondel
at the Home Business Alliance HQ in France
Tel: 0871 284 5100
Business Alliance to BusinessZone
Home Business article: questions and answers
following issues and answers tend to be run-of-the-mill
media enquiries - so by all means use the
information provided as a further set of guidelines
in assessing the home business 'lie of the
land' in the UK. Ed.)
What particular kinds of companies and people
are most suited to home-run businesses?
range is enormous; among our members we have
a large haulage company to the proprietor
of a haunted castle; web designers to plumbers
and everything else you can think of between.
Usually, if your business activity doesn't
require large, bespoke premises and a heavy
customer footfall and it revolves largely
around your own efforts, such as freelancing,
for example, why not work from home?
far as the kind of people who are suited to
a home business is concerned, we find that
they are personable, they like to meet other
people, they can self-start instinctively,
they will work hard and long and they will
be able to cope with stress. Often a lot of
stress, if juggling family and personal committments
around business activities is a factor and
it is taking a while for the money to start
coming in. You will need to be somebody who
can go out into the wide world and bring in
the work; you will need to be competitive
and you will need to be patient.
am assuming that the majority of people wanting
to run a business from home will already have
some firm ideas about what they want to do.
However, you can never do too much research.
Use your local Business Link and enterprise
agency. Go along to some Chamber of Commerce
and business club meetings. Have a chat with
your bank manager. Pick as many brains as
you can to discuss your home business ideas
with - not forgetting family and friends,
as well. They will often be the best judges
of your character but put altogether, you
should be trying to assess if there is a market
opening for you. Your plans may well be viable
on paper but to succeed you will have to compete
- and that's another matter.
business advisers will be able to test you
for your potential as a businessperson.
Cobweb Information produce a massive series
of factsheets looking into business ideas
and business information. Your local Business
Link, enterprise agency or perhaps one of
the High Street banks will usually have a
Cobweb library. Otherwise, you can go directly
2. What are the advantages of running a business
me, the main advantages are ideolgical and
lifestyle. I was raised in a home business
environment and although I have worked for
employers over the years, I, like so many
other family-run businesses especially, cannot
really understand a different way of earning
other major factor is lifestyle. Because I
can work from home, I have chosen to live
in a water-mill in the heart of the French
coutryside and with the help of modern telecommunications
and transport efficiency (only on this side
of the Channel, I'm afraid), I can be in immediate
contact with my clients on a round-the-clock
basis and hop on a plane to visit them if
necessary, faster than it takes for a commute
from the Midlands into London. And a lot more
cheaply too, may I add.
you arrange your time properly, then all kinds
of new lifestyle options are open to you:
improving your education, more time to spend
in the garden or working on the house; more
time to pursue a hobby and certainly more
quality time with the family.
you do manage your time well, then savings
are also there to be had. Simply having your
own garden will make a difference. The cost-savings
to be had from an end to commuting can be
enormous. You should have more time to walk
or cycle to do the shopping instead of rushing
around in the car after work and at weekends.
There are lots and lots of benefits and I
personally don't accept any of the counter-arguments,
such as isolation. I don't get the time to
a largely business point of view, the advantages
can parallel paid employment, simply to earn
a bit extra.
You don't want or have to employ anyone.
It's low risk especially if you have little
It allows you to trial a business idea.
You don't need a shop front.
The internet can be used to help you do business
around the clock; in your pyjamas, if you
It allows you a comfort or cushion zone; you
can get started slowly and simply go with
3. What are the tax implications of running
a business from home?
main issue as always, will be your trading
style (e.g. sole trader, partnership, limited
liability partnership or limited company).
In order to make the best choice, there are
a number of important factors to be taken
into account, in addition to cost and taxation.
Going to see a good accountant before you
start trading can save problems down the line.
Similarly, a good accountant can advise you
about claiming part of your property running
costs as a business expense. Care needs to
exercised here because if you use part of
your home solely for business (e.g. a room
or an identifiable part of a room) then you
may become liable to the payment of business
rates and/or a restriction of the normal exemption
from capital gains tax when you sell your
home. In practice, these business rates and
capital gains tax problems are unlikely to
arise if you don't use any room or part of
a room exclusively for business purposes,
and your calculations of the business element
of your home running costs reflect this fact..
4. What are the insurance implications of
running a business from home?
specific home business insurance policy or
extension to an existing policy should be
sought. There are a number of determining
factors such as whether or not stock is held
in the home and much more topically, the provision
of flood cover especially after 2010 - beyond
which the Association of British Insurers
has not committed to providing further cover
A lot of insurance products for the self-employed
and the home business are now available so
I would suggest you go along to see an independent
insurance broker to compare a number of policies
side-by-side. He will advise you on whether
you also need Public and Products Liability
5. What planning permission issues should
entrepreneurs bear in mind?
permission is required if there is a change
of use from domestic to business use. It seems
that the Valuation Office Agency, which assesses
properties for their rateable value, is now
becoming more aggressive in its approach where
a business is run from home.
practice, as for the tax implications discussed
above, this is unlikely to be a problem if
you do not use any part of your home exclusively
of a property often arises from inspections
carried out after complaints from neighbours.
So make sure you don't annoy them with noise,
smells, deliveries or a lot of visitors. And
remember that if an inspector does call from
the Valuation Office, he is required to give
at least 24 hours' written notice before entering
your property. Anyone who visits without prior
notice can be turned away.
anyone who would like further advice, The
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors offer
a helpline 0870 333 1600.
6. What other legal issues should the entrepreneur
bear in mind?
activity in the UK is becoming increasingly
regulated in the style of our EU friends but
it must be remembered that the business climate
in the UK is among the best in the world with
only Holland and Ireland ranked higher among
the Europeans, according to a recent survey
by the Institute of Economic Research.
you must register with HMRC and they have
a number of helpful guides which explain your
businesses must show their trading details
on their stationery and just as importantly,
on their websites as well.
the same time, get yourself a good set of
trading terms and conditions as well as a
disclaimer, if necessary.
may need to make special professional and/or
public liability arrangements.
design must also now take account of disabled
users. A free guide is available at: http://www.drc-gb.org/library/website_accessibility_guidance/pas_78.aspx
you hold names and addresses or other personal
information on computer disk, you may be legally
obliged to register under the Data Protection
Act, 1998. The fee is currently £35
for a one year period. To find out if you
have to register, contact The Information
Commissioner (previously called The Data Protection
legal responsibilities which may affect a
home business include:
Sale of Goods Act 1979
Trades Descriptions Act 1968
Distance Selling Regulations 2000
Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002
details can be found on the Office of Fair
Trading website at www.oft.gov.uk. Trading
Standards, too, publish a large number of
guidance leaflets for businesses and you can
find these at http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk
addition, Health and Safety issues will become
more and more incumbent upon the home workplace;
a voluntary website which looks at these matters
7. How can entrepreneurs ensure that running
a business from home does not impact too heavily
on their work-life balance?
recently started to take part in a programme
with one of our corporate members, The Small
Firms Enterprise Development Intiative (SFEDI)
- a quasi-official advisory body - and this
is one of the issues our representatives examined
at the inaugural meeting. Here are some of
people forget that there are often other people
involved in running a business from home so
at a very early stage, it is important to
have a family meeting, say what you plan to
do, get everyone's opinions and come up with
some ground rules.
a structure: morning for family, afternoon
for business. Use visual indicators to show
when you are working, such as a closed door.
acceptable reasons for being disturbed i.e.
"Only if you're bleeding."
your body clock; learn at what times you are
at your intellectual best; 9 - 5 does not
necessarily correspond with your mind/body's
peak performance. Look at yourself in the
context of a 24 hour day and lifestyle.
a mental threshold when moving between family/leisure/business
activities; take a shower, change your clothes.
working, do not answer the front door or take
personal phone calls.
a separate and dedicated address for your
all, when you set your ground rules, stick
also true that it is easy to get waylaid by
distractions if you are working at home; particularly
if you have got something difficult to do
and alternative pleasurable pursuits are beckoning.
A useful strategy if you have some big task
which you have been putting off, is to just
get started with the easiest bit. A magic
thing often happens when you get started:
you get involved, you concentrate and become
oblivious to distractions ... and before you
know it, it's done and dusted.
8. How can entrepreneurs maintain good working
are specialist consultants such as http://www.purelypeppermint.com
who can put you on the right footing but after
that it's a lot of the same answers as to
question 7. http://www.safeworkers.co.uk/
offers some suggestions as well.
9. Many entrepreneurs will be concerned that
customers and clients will not do business
with them because they are running a home
business. How can entrepreneurs run a business
from home but give the impression of a bigger
I don't think there is anything like as much
stigma attached to running a business from
home these days as there might have been 10
or 15 years ago. Quite the opposite.
are much more likely to be judged by your
website, your voice over the telephone and
your presence at a meeting, than by your location.
Having said that, I don't flaunt the fact
that I work from home, either.
business address is that of our fulfilment
house which corresponds to dedicated premises.
In other words, an appropriate-sounding accommodation
business phone and fax lines are dedicated
numbers and if we aren't available to answer
calls personally, they are automatically routed
to a personalised message handling service.
Alternatively, re-route the calls to your
mobile, if it is going to be switched on and
you are going to be able to deal with the
meetings, it is often the case that the clients
will ask where you would like to meet if not
invite you to their company premises.
you are obliged to set a venue then unless
you live somewhere imposing, go for neutral
territory. I don't like business workspaces,
I find them too clinical. I'd rather meet
in a hotel or restaurant which I know has
a comfortable lounge or salon and somewhere
discreet and fairly quiet for a bite to eat
and a drink to follow the meeting.
alternative is to join a private members'
club if there is one conveniently to hand
and if its fees aren't too high! This adds
a certain cachet to the meeting and works
quite well; a typical example is the IoD but
there's lots to choose from.
most important thing is to find a good atmosphere
where both you and your client can relax as
well as get on with some business.
statistics and trends: editorial note. We
are maintaining the statistics and findings
on UK home businesses and home working below,
because we are not aware of any more current,
meaningful research conducted into these areas
of labour force trends. There
is a tendency for banks and telecommunications
companies to come out with statistics of their
own at regular intervals but these are not
findings which are professionally considered
to be anything more than publicity-seeking
exercises and should be treated as such.
official source for labour force statistics
and home working in general can be found here:
although you will see that the figures offered
(Googled 16.12.2010) are even more
dated than those below!
a rule of thumb, using official figures for
the self employed is considered to be a good
indicator of the numbers of businesses registered
as operating from a home base although the
wider mix of 'homeworking' (as opposed to
just 'home businesses') can be taken to also
include freelancers, teleworkers and outworkers.
Homeworking Statistics and Trends 2005/2006
24th July 2006)
of 'home-based business' and 'home-based worker'
(as used by various sources).
The term 'home-based business' means
any business or self-employed person that
uses a residential property as a base from
which to run their operation, consciously
doing so rather than maintaining a separate
The term 'home-based worker' covers
all categories of people who work from home,
either as a home-based business, as an employee
or a combination of the two.
(taken from Labour Market Trends, October
2005, published by UK National Statistics
in the UK
number of enterprises in the UK continues
to rise. There were an estimated 4.3 million
business enterprises in the UK at the start
of 2004 compared with 4.0 million at the start
of 2003. This is the largest increase since
the series began in 1994.
Almost all business enterprises (99.3%) are
small (0 to 49 employees). Only 26,000 (0.6%)
are medium-sized (50 to 249 employees) and
6,000 (0.1%) are large (250 or more employees).
UK enterprises employ an estimated 22.0 million
people, and have an estimated combined annual
turnover of £2,400 billion. Small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) together account
for more than half of the private sector employment
(58.5%) and turnover (51.3%) in the UK.
Most enterprises (3.1 million) have no employees,
equivalent to 72.8% of all enterprises. However
the proportion without employees varies among
different industries, from 86.6% of businesses
in construction to 17.9% for enterprises in
the hotels and restaurants sector.
Of the 4.3 million enterprises in the UK at
the start of 2004, 2.72 million were sole
proprietors, 540,000 were partnerships, and
1.02 million were companies. Most of the increase
in the number of enterprises to the start
of 2004 is due to a rise of 230,000 (13%)
in the number of unregistered sole proprietorships,
plus a rise of 20,000 (13%) in the number
of un-registered partnerships.
These figures are estimated
using the Labour Force Survey, which showed
an increase in the number of self-employed
people in the UK during 2003.
Also continuing the trend from 2002 to 2003,
the number of registered companies rose over
60,000(7%), while the number of registered
sole proprietor-ships fell by less than 40,000
(5%) and the number of registered partnerships
fell by less than 20,000 (5%) to the start
of 2004. Overall, these data from the Inter-Departmental
Business Register show that the number of
registered businesses rose by nearly 10,000
between the start of 2003 and the start of
Focusing on enterprises without employees,
the lar gest increases have been in construction
and business services, which have both had
an increase of 70,000 enterprises. Most other
industries have had an increase in this category
too, but agriculture and fishing had a small
decrease of 7,000.
rise and rise of the UK homeworker'
(taken from the website http://www.flexibility.co.uk,
sourced from Labour Market Trends, October
2005 by Yolanda Ruiz and Annette Walling,
published by UK National Statistics)
stats show homeworking and teleworking still
boundaries between home and work are becoming
increasingly blurred for many UK workers.
Now 3.1 million people are regular home-based
Of these 2.4 million are teleworkers - people
who work with computers and telecommunications
to work at or from home.
The growth of both homeworking and in particular
teleworking has been one of the most marked
features of workforce change in recent years,
as the following table shows:
Growth in homeworking and teleworking:
(millions and % of UK workforce):
Homeworkers 1997 - 2.3 (9%) 2001
- 2.6 (10%) 2005 - 3.1 (11%)
Teleworkers 1997 - 0.9 (4%) 2001
- 1.5 (5%) 2005 - 2.4 (8%)
figures above refer to people who work "mainly"
in their own home or use their home as a base.
It does not include occasional home or teleworkers.
The survey found a million people working
at home in the reference week who do not work
mainly from home.
As well as not including less frequent/occasional
homeworkers, the report also does not include
people who work in the same grounds or building
as their home. So if you work from a workshop
at the end of the garden or a garden office,
you're probably not in the figures. And mobile
teleworkers who sometimes work at home, but
don't consider it their "base" are
also left out.
So the figures are in some respects an under-reporting
of the phenomenon. Other surveys show that
for employed teleworkers 1-2 days per week
is the norm, so they won't fall into the "mainly"
working from home category.
This is an area where more research needs
to be carried out. It is the extent and nature
of occasional teleworking that gives us an
insight into how it may develop in the future.
figures show there is a strong connection
between self-employment and homeworking.
Employed: 34%/homeworkers; 36%/teleworkers;
Self-employed: 64%/homeworkers; 62%/teleworkers;
41% of self-employed people are teleworkers.
However, employed teleworking lags behind.
Only 4% of employees currently telework (
that is "mainly" work from home
rather than occasionally).
There are two lessons to be drawn from
home is the hub of tremendous economic energy,
and the focus for much entrepreneurship and
business innovation. This is despite public
policy which is based on separating work from
Large employers are relatively slow to recognise
the potential of the home being a base for
their employees. We feel this is changing,
but at the moment it is mainly managers and
professionals who are allowed (or allow themselves)
to work from home as employees.
importance of mobility
to the analysts at National Statistics,
"The upward trend in teleworking rates
(the proportion of the workforce who are teleworkers)
has been driven mainly by an increase in people
teleworking from different places with home
as a base".
This is in many ways a natural development.
The new technologies used for teleworking
are increasingly "footloose" with
laptop and tablet computers, handheld devices,
plus the increasing availability of wireless
Working from home is just one of many options
for remote working. The point is to work from
wherever is the most effective place to get
the job done.
report also notes some regional variations,
with the southern regions of England having
higher levels of homeworking and teleworking.
To some extent these figures raise more questions
than answers. The regions of England are artificial
constructions, and all the average regional
figures mask significant variations. As other
reports have found, the more remote rural
areas usually have much higher than average
levels of home-based self-employment.
The region with the highest levels is the
South-East. A key reason may be the high costs
of property. Working from home as self-employed
or running a micro-business takes away the
need for an expensive business overhead. A
further reason may be that it is in the South-East
that broadband technologies were first rolled
out. Difficulties in commuting no doubt also
are an incentive to work from home.
search for a better work-life balance, rising
property costs, the availability of new technologies
and an upsurge in domestic entrepreneurship
all contribute to the continuing upward trend
in working from home.
We see no prospect of these trends levelling
off in the near future. Patterns of early
adoption which dominate in the South East
will spread throughout the UK. That is managers,
professionals and technical workers - two
thirds of them male at the moment - will adopt
these new ways of home based working first.
But the trends show that there is also a "normalisation"
process, with increasing numbers of women
working from home, and also more lower-skilled
process jobs migrating to the home environment.
Now it is up to policy makers to recognise
the significance of the trends, and plan for
more balanced, less commuting-orientated communities.
The Commission for Rural Communities
Based Work in Rural England - extract from
statistics and actions
Statistics on home-based working in rural
than one in nine economically active residents
of rural England (11.8%) work mainly from
home. This represents 638,000 people and is
a higher percentage share than the proportion
found across England as a whole - 9.16% (over
2 million people) or, in the urban areas outside
London (8.32%, Census 2001).
There is strong correlation between those
working from home and self-employment, with
51% of home-based workers being self-employed
(1,053,000 people) in England as a whole,
rising to almost 3 in every 5 (58%) in rural
Of the economically active, a greater proportion
are self-employed in rural areas than in urban:
16.3% (881,000 people) in rural compared to
12.17% (2,073,000) in urban districts (Census
Despite the scale of this group, more than
half of the economic development departments
in 145 rural districts (pre-2005 definition
of 'rural' areas) admit to not using readily-available
information on home-based working to inform
their policies and strategies.
recent years several Countryside Agency studies
and projects touched on home working: studies
into the 'Role of Women in Rural Economies'
and the 'Impact of Migration into Rural England';
action research in the North East on raising
an enterprise culture; and
support for self-employed projects for women
and young people with WIRE (Women in Rural
Economies), Prince's Trust, DALE and Goole
2004 we commissioned the Live/Work Network
to research and publish the report Under The
Radar - tracking and supporting Rural Home-Based
Businesses'. This provides for the first time
a comprehensive profile of rural home-workers
and their needs. It also recommends actions
for several tiers and types of organisations
- public and private.
for Government Departments
the social and economic significance of home-based
businesses in our rural economies. These include
widening the base of employment, reducing
commuting, revitalising 'daytime' economies,
improving prospects for disadvantaged groups
and increasing mixed use of properties. These
changes will lead to more sustainable rural
address current weaknesses in support for
home-based businesses: Live/Work research
found almost no specifically-targeted assistance
by responsible agencies, such as the Small
Business Service and RDA's. One government
organisation should have lead-responsibility
for promoting and tracking the effective support
of rural home-based businesses;
consider including greater support for home-based
businesses in a cross-department Public Service
Agreement and in comprehensive performance-assessment
criteria for all local authorities.
for Regional Development Agencies and regional
the incidence of home-based business in each
Work with observatories and others to set
statistical benchmarks to enable future trends
to be tracked and to identify hot spots. This
information should be linked to clear targets
for assistance given to rural home-based businesses
for Business Link Operators;
develop strategies for home-based business
as part of Regional Economic Strategies and
support for home-based business could be one
means of delivering PSA targets of increasing
employment rates of disadvantaged groups as
lone parents and people aged 50+.
for local government
the incidence and impact of home-based working
in each borough/district including its effects
on housing, jobs, businesses and transport;
work with local strategic partnerships to
incorporate support for home-based businesses
into strategies and encourage these and any
business brokers to direct resources to micro-enterprises;
mainstream support for home-based businesses
and audit resources spent on all businesses
to ensure that efforts are equitably-distributed;
incorporate support for home-based working
and live/work property in planning and housing
activity.consider developing 'hub' facilities
to offer home-based businesses a range of
For further information, contact: Paul Penny
cook, Enterprise & Skills Team, Commission
for Rural Communities, Tel: 01242 533438,
Under the Radar: Tracking and
Supporting Rural Home-based Business
How do people earn a living in rural areas,
now that only 4% of the rural population work
A new report for the UK Commission for Rural
Communities (a division of the Countryside
Agency) sets about exploding some of the myths
and poses some challenges about the rural
economy in the 21st century.
The focus of the report, Under the Radar,
is on home-based businesses which form a potentially
dynamic but unsung Cinderella sector creating
wealth and employment in rural areas.
The two key questions posed by the report
does the value of this sector go largely unrecognised
by business support agencies and policy makers?
should public authorities at every level do
to respond and how can they maximise the potential?
more common in rural areas
One of the particular strengths of this report
is that it is strongly evidence-based. A huge
amount of evidence has been marshalled from
official and other sources, to present a convincing
picture of the strength of the homeworking
Amongst the data pulled together by the authors
are the following:
working in the UK had risen to almost 3.3
million in the Spring of 2004, according to
Labour Market Trends.
766,000 people work from home in the 145 English
rural districts (the focus of the report)
This 11.6% of the rural workforce working
from home compares to 8% of the urban workforce
56% of self-employed people are home-based
Nationally, 39% of small businesses are home-based;
in rural areas it is 55%
60% of rural homeworkers are men, 40% women
are home-based workers doing?
The nature of homeworking has changed radically
over the course of the last century. Most
people who worked at home at the time of the
1901 Census were women engaged in dress-making
and laundry work.
There remains a minority of low-paid homeworking
jobs. But over the past 15 years or so the
availability of new technologies has transformed
the nature of home-based work, not least in
rural areas. This takes two forms:
economy jobs dependent on the new ICT, where
skilled professional or lower-skilled data
processing is carried out from remote locations
More traditional occupations can become more
viable as business start-ups as the new technologies
are used to overcome distance, so for example
craft products can reach a far greater market,
or customers can be enticed to come from afar.
In around 50% of cases, according to the report,
home-based businesses are started up by incomers
to rural areas, something that the authors
feel should be encouraged and supported.
Many people are running more than one business
enterprise, and many also combine part-time
employment with self-employment.
is the impact of home based business in rural
Rural England has faced many challenges over
the past 20 years. Thousands of post offices,
villages shops and pubs have closed, leaving
many communities without local services. The
growth of home-based working can help to recreate
local economies, and revitalise dormitory
towns and villages.
The authors also point out the "sustainable
communities impact". Potential benefits
of home-based work include:
use of one property not two (i.e. for home
less need to build new workspace to accommodate
village and town centre renaissance
reduction in commuting travel
increased security - more homes occupied during
an enhanced role for market towns providing
what should be done?
At the moment this growth in home-based enterprise
is slipping "under the radar". There
is a plethora of agencies with fingers in
the pie of rurality and economic development,
but there is little evidence of anyone getting
to grips with the issues.
As the report says: "What is rare is
any cross-theme thinking that sees the success
of home-based business as being good for wealth
creation as well as for the community and
Put simply, planning and economic development
departments are not doing enough to connect
the two issues together and work at supporting
the new home-based working sector".
The business support agencies come under fire
from many of the interviewees in the report,
as well as from the authors. Most of the support
available is jargon-ridden, bureaucratic and
is geared to growth and expansion models rather
than sole entrepreneurs.
Networking models, however are held up as
examples of good practice - where public money
supports self -help networks and hubs where
home-based workers can network and have access
The report has many suggestions for public
policy responses: for central government,
Regional Development Agencies and local authorities
as well as Business Links.
The recommendations include:
evidence about local home-based businesses
and their needs
networking and hub initiatives
encourage the in-migration of high earners
support mentoring initiatives
simplify the processes of applying for funding.
above all, home-based business in rural areas
needs to come onto the radar.