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How to get the most out of working from home

These days it has become more common for people to work from home as opposed to heading out to the office everyday. Developments in technology and communications have made it easy for workers to perform the same duties from home that they would normally perform at their jobsite. Many employers are jumping on the bandwagon as remote-workers mean less overhead expenses.

However, while working from home may now be a possibility for many, it still depends on the individual as to whteher it will be a success. Consider these tips for getting the most of out of a work-from-home opportunity:

Create a Space- One way to fail miserably is to plop down with your laptop in front of the TV and expect to get anything done. In order to stay productive and focused on the task at hand you should set aside a work space separate from the rest of your home life. Even if you don’t have an entire extra room to use as an office, you can designate one corner of a room for your work area. Treat that area how you would treat your work space at the office. When you enter your work space you will therefore transition from “being at home” to “being at work”. This will also help keep you from over doing it, and working when you should be enjoying down time.

Consider the Tax Deductions- Don’t miss out on money-saving tax deductions that you may be eligible for. Typically most people who have a home office and work exclusively from home can deduct “work-related expenses”  from their taxable income. This often includes a portion of rent or mortgage interest, a portion of utilities, insurance and office supplies. There are requirements, however, to qualify for this deduction. For example, according to the IRS website it is stated that in order to qualify you  must use your home office “regularly and exclusively” as your principal place of business.  Talk to your tax advisor for more information.

Set a schedule- One of the most important charactersitics of those who are successful at working from home are those that are self-disciplined. In order to stay on task you will want to set a schedule for yourself and get into some normal routines for getting your work done. Set deadlines so you stay motivated.

“Don’t stay unshaved in pajamas. Instead, have breakfast, have a shower, get dressed. Then make a list of sensible tasks for the day and get started.”

Consider insurance benefits- If you work entirely from home you won’t be commuting like someone who drives back and forth to the job site each day. You will want to update your insurance policy to designate your vehicle as being used primarily for ‘pleasure’. If you are working from home part-time, you should talk to your insurance agent about reducing the number of miles commuting to work as it is listed on your car insurance policy. Doing either of these will most likely reduce your car insurance premiums.

Stay connected- Not only do you want to stay in regular contact with your co-workers back at the office, but also stay in contact with the human race in general. “Cabin fever” is a common complaint of those that work from home as they begin to miss the social interaction that they previously had while working in an office environment. Have lunch with friends and network with others who work from home in your community. If possible, make plans to see office friends after work and on the weekends to maintain “face time”.  Make a point to take a walk or drive each day so that you are still getting out of the house at some point in the day.

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