Home Offices Are the New Normal

As companies continue to expand their remote work options, home offices are quickly becoming the new workplace. According to the US Census, over 10 million people now work from home. Whether it's an HR assistant or an entrepreneur, a lot of these jobs are now done remotely over the internet. As a result, the home office is now more popular than ever. While home offices back in the day were commonplace they were mainly used to do some light paperwork or handle taxes instead of working a full-time job.

Setting up a home office is simpler than you think. That being said, it does require some planning. To successfully work at a home office it has to be designed to be free of distractions. Just as traditional office jobs provide a desk or cubicle to work at, a home office is a place to be productive and focus on the task at hand.

How Does it Work: Home Offices

Businesses and entrepreneurs alike have been shifting to working at home offices as costs continue to rise. Even long-time employees have recently been offered by their employers to work remotely. By having employees work from home, this saves time and money not only for employees but for employers as well.

Aside from saving time and money, working remotely from your own office poses many benefits. Employees working at home don't have to worry about other employees distracting them. It also improves their work-life balance because many are allowed to set their own schedule.

At the same time, there are some downsides. Home offices aren't distraction-free as things such as tv and other things can be a problem. This leads to decreased production. Also, security concerns are more commonplace with remote jobs, especially if the job involves transferring important data. While there are answers to these problems just know that it's something to look at.

The Checklist: What You Need for Your Home Office

Setting up a home office requires careful research and planning. While every home office will differ depending on the type of job, there is a general guideline that everyone can follow. Here are the basics:

  • A Chair and Desk: This should be obvious but the basics of every home office require something to work and sit on. Make sure the desk is large enough to handle the tasks at hand. After selecting a desk, choose a chair that is comfortable and compatible with the desk height-wise.
  • Desktop or Laptop: A reliable desktop/laptop is another essential item. Just about everything is done on computers nowadays and remote work is no exception. If the job involves stationary work all day a desktop should suffice whereas if it involves moving around from time to time a laptop is the better choice. Some employers even provide desktops/laptops for their employees.
  • Internet Connection: Working remotely generally requires an internet connection. While an internet connection is standard even in elderly households nowadays, a strong internet connection and a good router is needed so that the job can be done without any interruptions. Having a good internet connection is probably the most important requirement when working remotely, as a bad internet connection prevents any work from being done.

After taking care of the basics, identify what else is needed and go from there. Again, these needs depend on the kind of work being done. For example, remote bookkeepers should have a separate landline or cellphone for business purposes. Also, many businesses that allow employees to work from home have specific requirements to meet so these need to be incorporated somehow as well.

Questions and Answers:

Still confused? That's ok, as setting up a home office is more than it seems. Here are some common questions asked about this topic.

Q: Does a home office need to be in a separate room?

A: No, but it is highly recommended. By being in a separate room this allows you to be less distracted. If this is not possible then dedicate a small corner of the house into a work area instead.

Q: Can home offices be a tax write-off?

A: Yes. Those who are self-employed and meet the other requirements can deduct their home office from your taxes.

Q: Does a home office completely eliminate distractions?

A: Not necessarily. The home office environment can be distracting at times if it is not well-kept. Dirty equipment, tangled wires and scattered paperwork make being productive harder at times.

Q: Can I get creative with my home office?

A: Yes. Adding personal style and color is actually recommended. Just make sure these personal touches don't end up being distracting.

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