Provision has already been made in our building regulations for ‘’Home Enterprises’’. The Consolidated Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme 2018, which incorporates 17 other municipalities, provides, amongst other items, that:
- The floor area of the home enterprise may not exceed 25% of the total area of the house or 50m2, whichever is the lowest.
- The principle of the business must reside on the property
- 2 additional staff members, who do not reside on the property, may work on the premises
- The home business may not affect the neighbourhood negatively with regards, for example, noise, air pollution, considerable increased traffic etc.
Some advantages of working from home are:
- Added work time as traffic is avoided
- Reduced transport costs
- Reduced office property/operational costs
- Tax benefits for home-based offices
- Access to office at any convenient hour
- Practical access to household
Working from home does come with its challenges, but these are easily eliminated:
Motivation to go to work: A comfortable, well designed office with correctly placed functions, a desirable colour palette and the inclusion of personal favourite items can make one look forward to sneaking away to their own private think space.
Disturbance by household: Although its practical to have an internal link to home, it’s also too practical for the rest of the household. I advise the provision of an external door - not only to eliminate disturbance, but to connect to outside/public spaces. The office is ideally situated on roadside of house, especially if client visits are necessary.
Amenities: It may be desirable to visit your home for coffee breaks. These, however, may invite your household to disturb your work time. A small beverage/snack station, for yourself and clients, works well. A guest loo close to office is ideal. Having said that, I found a timed lunchtime break at home is a healthy break away in one’s workday.
Privacy from customers: Clients may enjoy peeking into your private space. A short walk past your home interior may seem harmless but will eventually violate your privacy. Having to neaten one’s home for a meeting can also be an imposition. An entrance lobby that opens directly to the office but screens off the home naturally leads the client to the office.
Parking: For visiting clientele, parking should be off road, easily accessible and out the way of household cars.
Professional space: Separating your office and home is already a step towards professionalism. Provide comfortable well positioned seating. Keep coffee tables and desks clear of clutter. Consider where clients will place their personal items. Display your qualifications, work and inspiration on the walls. Colours should balance warmth and cold. You want visitors to feel comfortable, connected with a desire to return. Even in the absence of clientele, you need to feel professional, comfortable and inspired in your own space.