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Benefits and pitfalls of working from home

By Samuel Williamson

2 min read

Working from home is a rising trend

Almost a third of employed Australians regularly work from home. But before you ditch your corporate cubicle for a home office, it’s worth considering the benefits and pitfalls of working from home. To help you assess your options, here some questions that may colour your decision.

Home is where the heart is

Working from home provides greater flexibility – drop the kids at school, save yourself the commute and even work in your pyjamas if you prefer. However, flexibility can be a burden, particularly if you have difficulty separating home life from work life. You might find it hard to buckle down and get work done, or even miss the social aspects of working in an office. On the plus side, working from home can improve your productivity and job satisfaction.

Ask yourself:

Will you be able to separate your work and home lives?

  • How does your family feel about you working from home?
  • Are you self-motivated or easily distracted?
  • Do you like the camaraderie of working with people?

Determine your obligations

Turning your home into a place of work could raise some legal issues. For example, your local council could have permit, zoning and parking requirements, or even pollution guidelines that dictate whether you can operate a business from your house. Also, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has guidelines regarding the home expenses you can claim on your tax. While you might receive the benefit of tax deductions for your home office expenses, you could also lose the capital gains tax exemption for your home, giving you a tax bill when you sell.

Ask yourself:

  • Does your local government have regulations regarding businesses?
  • What expenses can you claim for your home office or business?
  • Will you be running a business from home or just working from a home office?

Understand the practicalities

While it might sound appealing to work from home, the reality is often quite different. First, you need to have the space and technology to run your business effectively. For example, accounting software such as QuickBooks Self-Employed helps you keep up with the demands of managing your business on-the-go and takes the headaches out of tax time.

If you’re working for an employer, it’s important to discuss how they’ll manage and measure your performance if you’re not physically present. After all, you don’t want to miss out on development opportunities and rewards just because you’re out of sight.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have enough space to run a business?
  • Do you have the necessary equipment to work?
  • How will your employer monitor and measure your performance?

Working from home can be a breath of fresh air – but potentially quite stressful. Before taking the plunge, consider the practical impact of such a change to determine if it’s the right move for you and your family.

To read more articles related to becoming self-employed, visit here.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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