The Home Office – is it as good as it sounds?

Working from home!

In the eyes of many, the prospect of being able to work from home sounds heavenly.

Whether your home office is your principal place of work or a secondary office, you need to think about both the pros and cons of working from home.

And while working from home sounds like the perfect work/life balance – it’s not for everyone.

Let’s go through some of the pros and cons of working from home.

The pros

Some of the major advantages of working from home include:

No commute. Not having a long commute to and from work can save a great deal of time and money and for sure, it can even reduce your stress levels – no traffic jams, traffic lights, running late etc.

Greater flexibility. Working from home allows you to work during your most productive times, wear what you're most comfortable wearing and create a workflow and environment that works for you.

Reduced distractions. While there may be distractions at home, you control them much easier than the ones at work – co-workers, employees, and all that office noise, banter, gossip and politics!

Less stressful days. When you work from your home, you have more control over your stress level and can more easily walk away or take a break when you need it.

Save money. Not only can you save money by avoiding the long commute, you may also be able to claim tax deductions for some home office expenses.

Improved work/life balance. Many professionals struggle with finding a balance between work and their personal lives. Working from home can make achieving this balance a little bit easier.

The Cons

Now on the flip side:

Self-discipline is needed. Getting up and focusing on work every day when you are in your home environment takes a great deal of self-discipline and motivation.

Loneliness. Working all day without engaging with co-workers and colleagues can be very isolating.

It's harder to shut down. The line between work and personal life can become very blurred – and shutting down can be harder. When you leave an office and head home, there is physical and mental separation. And chances are, you may actually end up work more.

Living space. Often you’ll have to give up a room for your home office. Or if you don’t have dedicated room, then you’ll have no option but to dedicate a workspace, thus reducing living area.

Co-worker relationships are harder to form. It becomes harder to establish trust and develop relationships with colleagues and clients when you don't have a daily face-to-face connection.

Less ad hoc learning. Office workers are constantly in a position to learn from their peers and bosses. When you work from home, you will need to make an extra effort to seek out networking and learning opportunities.

From our experience, here’s what’s worked for us when we set up our home office.

  • A dedicated office/room is a must – clients and suppliers will visit you and you need to demonstrate a level of professionalism.

  • Set a routine – morning breaks, lunch etc. Resist the temptation to do adhoc house work just because you’re at home.

  • Your office needs to be an office – not an extension of your home. In other words, the look and feel has to be somewhat different to the rest of the house.

  • When you’re finished for the day, do your best to finish and not get tempted to sneak back in to the office after dinner – family and personal time is important.

  • Ensure you do get out and network, meet other business owners, visit your client premises etc. Visibility is still important.

Finally, one of the Pros mentioned included tax deductions.

Again, from our experience, you cannot claim for deductions without fully understanding the nature of the expense and how it relates to your office.

The tax implications of working from home are complex and detailed.

Please work with your accountant to not only see what can be claimed as a tax benefit, yet also, if a home office is the right solution for you.

At Aperture Accounting, this is what we do – we work with our clients to understand their financial needs and we work to figure how best to meet these needs and in the process, we help our clients to better understand their financial world.

At Aperture Accounting, we feel our job is to help shape and design a better financial future for our clients.

To find out more, call 1300 APERTURE or 1300 273 788.

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