Your work-from-home practice is like a small business.
When you work from home you naturally mix your personal world with your work world. Do you have a clear understanding of the boundaries between the two? We all tend to gloss over this, allowing work to creep into our personal world, and sometimes unintentionally, we allow our personal life to creep into our work world. Need I mention those embarrassing oops-moments on Zoom calls we’ve all heard about!
When it comes to administration, however, if we don’t pay attention, we put our valued resources of time, money, property and services at risk.
What is work-from-home administration (admin for short)?
Work-from-home administration is basically the same thing as small-business administration. It’s the practice of bookkeeping, inventory and resource management. We do it to AVOID LOSING MONEY – and the other things we value, such as time, energy, property and more.
Maybe you think it’s not needed for a work-from-home practice. Maybe the following articles might convince you otherwise:
This Forbes article starts with the following words “If you thought working at home was going to save you money, think again.” by Cheryl Winokur Munk, Jun 22, 2020
Or read: About that spare room: employers requisitioned our homes and our time by Julie P. Smith, Australian National University and Fiona Jenkins, Australian National University, June 11, 2020
Work-From-Home Administration – The detail
An excellent place to get help is from your accountant if you have one. Other sources of information are; online articles and resources (which wofome continues to investigate), friends who already do this well, or tips from other Wofomers.
If you work from home for an organisation, ask if they cover any expenses or offer any resources (computer equipment etc.). You’d be amazed at what might be on offer – especially if it improves their profile too. A good example: if you do Zoom video calls, do they offer a backdrop screen (to hide an otherwise messy background)? If it includes their company logo, that’s free advertising for them!
You might think, “I don’t have the time or energy to do this… It’s all too hard…” Well, it’s usually a once-off effort, which then becomes self-sustaining – a small price to pay for the continuing rewards it delivers.
What should I look out for?
Here is a list of things you should think about.
- Electricity bills
- Phone data plans
- Internet services
- Basic office supplies
- Clothing (if you need to wear specific clothing during the ‘work’ part of working from home)
- Tech Gear
- Wear and tear (depreciation)
- Home Insurance
- Work Cover Insurance
- Legal Cover (Liability, Indemnity etc)
- Fitness expenses (where you need to combat a sedentary work-from-home practice)
- Food (if you had free food at your usual place of employment)
- Time – Personal ‘my time’ (how much is this worth to you?)
Can you think of any others?
Your Work-from-home admin activities should be a pillar of your broader work-from-home practice.
Check out more information about work-from-home methodology in our PRACTICE category
If I am a HYBRID WORKER do I have to manage two sets of bookkeeping?
Are you aware of the hybrid option? Many Wofomers* work both from home and their place of employment, alternating between the two throughout the week. It’s either ad-hoc or based on a fixed schedule. (Example: Mondays and Tuesdays from home and the rest of the week at their employer-provided workplace). This kind of work is called Hybrid.
If you are a hybrid worker, it is definitely recommended that you get outside help to sort through what constitutes work-from-home administration versus work-at-work administration. Nevertheless, we suggest that this ‘collective administration’ still be done from the position of a Wofomer (Work-from-home-er), where you, together with your own professional help, ensure that any work-at-work benefits that can be apportioned against your work-from-home administration, be taken advantage of.
(* A Wofomer is a work-from-home-er)
To sum up, it literally pays to spend an initial effort to lock in a work-from-home administration process. It pays because it saves you money, which is another way of making money. Small initial effort – big ongoing reward!