As one of roughly three million “homeprenuers” in the UK, you’ll know how rewarding it is to see your business grow. However, as you expand, it can become difficult to keep up with the increasing demand for your products or services, and the only viable solution is to assemble a team to help you out.
Unless you’re planning on renting out commercial premises, you’ll either need to hire remote workers or employ people to join you at your home office. While the former may be more practical, it might not be suitable if you require face-to-face collaboration, or simply want to forge close relationships with your employees.
If you need to turn your home into a more functional office space for employees, there are certain things you can do to make the transition more seamless, and ensure you don’t wind up mixing your business and personal lives.
Set clear boundaries
Having other people in your home five days a week will likely feel strange for you and your family, at least at first. Setting clear boundaries for your employees means there is minimal disruption to your domestic set-up. One of the main ground rules you need to establish is which rooms are open to employees, and which are not. You should create a physical separation between work and family spaces and, if possible, designate a separate entrance for staff.
If sharing facilities is unavoidable, make sure your employees understand your expectations for them, like being considerate should family members also be in the kitchen making food. Setting clear boundaries works both ways, and your family will also need to respect that they will have reduced access to certain areas of the house during office hours.
Another way to create a clear distinction between home and work life is by renting a virtual office, which gives you a professional business address without having to physically work there. Not only can this be beneficial for marketing purposes—a prestigious virtual address can impress potential clients—but you can have your business’ mail sent there instead of to your house. By protecting your home from work-related post and phone calls, you can distinguish between a workspace and your living space.
Provide full disclosure
Before you even interview candidates, it’s essential that you let them know that they’d be working in your home. This is not exactly common, and may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Giving the impression that you’re hiding anything can also put people off, and it’s not fair to only inform them of the working conditions once they’ve accepted the job. The easiest way to avoid any misunderstandings is to make the facts clear on the job advertisement.
In addition, you must ask candidates about this during the interview and listen carefully to their answers. Encourage them to share any misgivings they might have, and whether there’s anything you could do to solve them—after all, attending the interview suggests that they wouldn’t be completely opposed to the idea.
Thoroughly vet candidates
As with any job, it is imperative to select your staff carefully. Of course, you want to find the best person for the job but, as employees will be in your home and around your family every working day, you should feel able to trust them. Performing a background check is a practice adopted by 60% of UK businesses. This enables you to find out information such as the employment history of the candidate (including any gaps), whether they have a criminal record, and if they can legally work in the UK.
Even if there are no red flags raised from a background check, you should cross-reference with references from previous employers. This can provide peace of mind about how they have behaved in past roles, and whether they’re a trustworthy employee or not. If it turns out they have not been entirely truthful on their CV, it could show that they are not the right candidate, allowing you to find somebody more suitable.
If the candidate passes all the initial checks, you can only make a final decision for your own business once you’ve met them in person, to really get a feel for how suitable they will be for the role and whether you trust them in your home.