Working from home has become the new normal for many people, mainly since the pandemic spread worldwide. Millions of people have said goodbye to commuting to work because of the COVID 19 pandemic. With evolving technologies such as FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom, working from home has still been easy for many people. It is no longer necessary to be in the office full time to be productive. However, you can still be effective at the comfort of your home.
However, many people are still struggling with this new normal. Some people still find it very challenging to work from home effectively. Different strategies and tips will make working from home as easy, effective, and productive as working from the office. Here’s how.
Working from Home and Productivity
Set up a functional workspace.
This is the first tip to having a productive workday from home. Set up a space that makes you feel like you are in an office. Working while lying on the bed or sitting in the kitchen will only give an individual some feeling of laziness. At the end of the day, you will realize that you have not achieved so much. Set up an office space in a spare room or in a corner where you have all the essentials to work. This also improves your concentration.
Have access to a strong internet connection.
A strong internet connection will allow you to work effectively and carry on with your online meetings without worrying. If you have a strong internet connection, you can have Zoom meetings and submit tasks online on time without internet buffering.
Set realistic goals.
Set realistic goals that you know are achievable at the end of the day. Be true to yourself, understand your capabilities, and know the goals you can achieve in a given time frame. For instance, a one-week task cannot be completed in one day. You have to split the job into smaller parts and work on each piece every day so that by the end of the week, you have completed everything you need to do.
Reduce any distractions that may come your way. For instance, avoid using your phone or going through social media when you are working. Also, switch off the TV and any other thing that may distract you while working.
Have a schedule.
Creating a working schedule helps you to have an organized and fruitful day. You know when to start working and what task to handle first. At the end of the day, you will have completed most of the jobs you had on your to-do list.
Working from Home and Your Taxes
Working from home may seem enjoyable. Still, many people do not understand the tax aspects of working from home. This applies to the employed and the self-employed individuals. Below are some tax tips that you need to know when working from home and taxes.
Have an understanding of your legal relationship with the employer.
There is a blurry line between employees and freelancers. The fact that you are working from home does not mean that you are self-employed. If you are still receiving your paycheck from your employer, then you are an employee. Therefore, employees who are working from home cannot claim the home office deduction. However, those employed, such as gig workers, are allowed to continue deducting home office expenses.
What can you take home from the office?
Ask your employer some of the things that you can take home from the office. These need to be essential things that will make working from home much more manageable. For instance, if you need your office chair, ask your employer if you can take it home. This saves both you and your employer money.
However, suppose you buy any office essential using your money, and your employer does not reimburse those costs. In that case, you are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.
Know your benefits.
Does your employer reimburse you for the money you spend on making phone calls for the whole month? Is there any discount offered when you purchase office suppliers from a given vendor? Know what you need and the benefits you have to increase your productivity at home.
Consider a home office deduction.
Not everyone who works from home has been forced to do so because of the pandemic. Some employees work from home because it is very convenient for their employers. For instance, an employee who lives in a different state than the company’s headquarter may have an office space in his home. Compared to the company paying extra to rent him office space. This means that if you are using your home exclusively for business-related purposes. You may be able to deduct a part of your home-related expenses, such as property taxes and other utilities.
Keep all your records and save your receipts.
Have accurate records of any employee expenses that you are claiming as a deduction. The IRS always recommends a logbook or a written document if any questions regarding the assumptions made. If you have these records and everything is up to date, you will have an easy time presenting the evidence if the IRS requires it.
As an employee who works from home, you may be eligible for tax deductions that are not available to employees in the office. On the other hand, you will notice that your beliefs include some expenses related to your job for salaried employees. Using some financial planning services and software like Credit Sesame can go a long way for managing finances.
Therefore, as an employee on payroll and works from home, you need to understand how working from home and taxes are related. This will allow you to understand what is deductible and what is not while you are working from home.
Rose Rosie is a writer for the personal finance website, Joy Wallet, which provides readers with useful information, resources, and tools to help maximize their financial fitness.