Making the most of working from home

In these unprecedented times, one thing we are being reminded of – and not just when we witness Italians creating glorious, impromptu concerts over balconies – is that humans are resilient, and we adapt well to change.

 

When change is being ushered in as quickly as it has been lately, we have to respond equally fast.

 

But there’s two ways to respond to a changing and uncertain landscape: we can panic, or we can remain calm.

 

So, take this change: more of us are preparing for working from home.

 

The panic response is seen in the selling out of standing desks, swivel chairs and monitors in office supply stores across Melbourne. (Another thing we have learned about Australians lately is we love a panic buy! Why wait when you can rush in and cause widespread shortages!)

 

Here’s a calm response for you to consider, once you’ve got your desk sorted.

 

If you are working from home for an extended period, you might be able to make some claims against this come tax time.

 

Summarising some information available from the ATO, the main things to understand are that home office expenses are split into two categories; home office running expenses and home office occupancy expenses.

 

For most workers working from home for an extended period due to the Coronavirus outbreak, you will be looking at home office running expenses.

 

These are general home office running expenses and may include:

 

  • The cost of using a room (power costs for heating, cooling and lighting)
  • Business related phone and internet costs
  • The decline in value of office equipment such as computers and printers
  • The decline in value of furniture and furnishings such as tables, chairs, and other fittings and fixtures
  • The cost of any repairs to furniture and furnishing used for your work
  • Cleaning costs – hold onto those receipts!


 

There are two ways to claim running expenses, and come tax time, we can help you sort that out. But for now, with calm, clear heads (not lining up at Officeworks for the latest standing desk) here’s what you can do.

 

Keep your receipts. For anything related to working from home. Keep your bills and expenses from this time so you can use them for later claims.

 

Take note of the dates of working from home. Keep a diary of any meetings and work done at home so you can clearly calculate the affected period.

 

Stay connected to people. Utilise technology and other ways (with 1.5 metres between you!) to stay in touch with people. We are humans, and we are social creatures. Buy a local coffee, check on an elderly neighbour and chat with people online.

 

Keep an eye on your posture. We won't all be able to buy the latest ergonomic chair, but do make an effort to make sure your home office set up is doing damage to your back. If you use a laptop at home, consider a stand and a keyboard, which helps to elevate the screen to a better position.

 

So, as we gather ourselves and start bracing for what will undoubtably be a rocky time for the economy and the communities we live in, adaptability intelligence means staying grounded within the chaos, and planning and adapting where we can, a day a time.


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