Mar 31st, 2014
If your work affords you the opportunity to operate out of a home office, you should certainly take advantage of that. While some people may think that they need a bustling office environment to stay motivated or worry that there will be too many distractions at home, plenty of Americans have found that working from home is a great choice for them. If you’re still hesitant, take a look at these 5 benefits of working from a home office.
One thing you may not have realized if you’ve never worked from a home office before is that if you’ve set your office up in a certain way, you can take a tax deduction on it. The CRA allows you to take a deduction (whether you’re a renter or homeowner) as long as you have a space that is exclusively used for business on a regular and continuous basis or it’s where you do your work more than 50% of the time. Translation: If you have a desk and computer in the corner of your bedroom that you occasionally use for work but mostly use for browsing the Internet in your free time, that’s not going to cut it. However, if you have a space—either an entire room or a section of a room clearly separated from personal areas—that you use to conduct business almost every day, you should qualify.
Based on census data from 2011, the average commute time for a Canadian worker is 25.4 minutes (and more than 40 minutes on average for workers using any kind of public transportation). If you factor in driving to and from work, that’s almost an hour long commute every day, or 5 hours a week, or about 250 hours a year. That’s time that you could be getting work done, spending with your family, or pursuing a hobby that you love. When you work from a home office, you won’t have to worry about that lost time—and you’ll also save a lot of money on gas.
If your employer is still hesitant about letting people work from home because they’re worried no supervision will lead to slacking, you should point them to this Stanford analysis that found employees have an average 13% performance increase on days that they worked from home instead of at the office. While the experiment looked at Chinese workers, evidence suggests that Canadian and American workers are similarly more productive when working at home. People who work from home take fewer breaks throughout the day, avoid common workplace distractions, and also take fewer sick days.
Thanks to the proliferation of online collaboration tools, workers can get all types of projects done from wherever they happen to be, as long as they have a computer or mobile device and an Internet connection. That means that if you’re in-between jobs, you can look for telecommuting positions all over the country as opposed to just within your geographical region. It also means that you can set up a home office or co-working space but also pack up and head to a coffee shop when you need a change of scene.
A survey from Microsoft found that from an employee’s perspective, the top benefit of working from home is an improved work-life balance. A lot of this comes from having greater flexibility with work hours, spending less time commuting, and generally feeling like more freedom is being afforded to you. If you feel like working from your office has been consuming your life and placing far too much stress on you, it might be time to consider a switch or a gradual shift to home-working.
If you’re excited about the idea of working from home and are ready to set up your own home office, Alliance Interiors can help. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you design a productive, distraction-free space.
About The Author
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors Inc., has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada’s leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.