A report by FlexJobs states that in 2017, 2.9 percent of American workers telecommuted at least half of the time, and that number is growing. Working remotely has a number of advantages, not least of which is the money saving potential. Not having to commute saves on traveling costs and benefits the environment. You don’t have to wear business clothes, which saves on dry cleaning costs, and you won’t be buying lunches and coffee out every day. However, working from home has some additional costs you might not have considered.
Equipping a Home Office
Image via Flickr by graham.sallyhunter
Employers have to take into account the well-being of their workers but, when you work from home, that’s down to you. You need a comfortable chair and a desk that you can sit at all day without getting repetitive strain injury. Using a laptop literally on your lap for hours is not going to do it.
You’ll want office supplies like paper, notebooks, paper clips, and a stapler. At some point you’ll need to print, copy, and scan documents, and investing in an all-in-one printer is preferable to running out to the print shop every time. You can, however, offset the cost of ink cartridges by recycling or exchanging the old ones.
Computers and Software
Communication is essential for remote working, and having your computer crash or freeze during a video conference won’t look good to your boss or a client. If your computer or laptop is old and slow, you’ll probably need to replace it. Your computer is your most important tool, so look at ways to make it last longer. You might also need to upgrade your internet, since a slow or unreliable connection can stop you from working efficiently.
If you’re employed, your company should provide access to its software and systems. But freelancers may have to buy software for accounting and video conferencing.
Working from home means your utility bills are going to be higher. You’ll have the lights on more often, and your computer will be running all day. For your comfort, you’ll want the heating on in the winter and the air conditioner on in the summer.
The good news is that you should be able to claim back tax against some home office expenses. Keep a record of the times you are using the internet and utilities for work or domestic purposes. Your tax adviser can tell you what expenses you can claim.
Home Working Solutions
Many of your home working problems can be solved with products from Agora. It provides web Software Development Kits that enable many users on a variety of platforms to communicate by voice or video conferencing in real time. Information on the products can be found in the Agora Quick Start Guide.
Working from home can enable you to save money and achieve a work-life balance that is not possible with regular office working. Being aware of the hidden and unexpected costs that are involved will help you to control and offset them.