With advancements in technology over the last 10 – 15 years, it is becoming increasingly possible to telecommute. Those who work in office settings may find that they are able to take some of that work home with them — at least a couple days a week. On top of that, there are numerous opportunities for telecommuters to work for themselves, starting up a home business.
If you are interested in telecommuting, though, you need to make sure that you have what you need for a home office. Or at least a workspace.
The Rising Popularity of Telecommuting
Because technology offers us the opportunity to connect instantly, anywhere around the world, the ability to telecommute effectively is improving. Indeed, reports CNN Money, opportunities for telecommuting have increased by quite a bit:
Telecommuting opportunities have jumped nearly 400% in the past three years, according to job-search site FlexJobs.com.
That’s a pretty big jump. Businesses benefit, since they spend less in overhead. And, if you telecommute as an independent contractor, companies can save even more, since they don’t have to pay benefits. Workers like telecommuting because it means a certain amount of flexibility, as well as less time spent on the morning commute. You can take advantage of telecommuting opportunities — if you are prepared for what you need to work from home.
What You Need to Telecommute
Anymore, there isn’t a whole lot you need to telecommute. A good computer and a broadband connection is usually sufficient. If you are working for someone else, you might need to be able to access a virtual private network. However, this can usually be accomplished as long as you have a computer and a broadband connection.
Of course, there might be a few other things that you need to be successful with your telecommuting efforts. I have an all-in-one fax/copier/printer/scanner in my home office so that I can take care of paperwork and contracts. I don’t have a dedicated business line, but if you work for someone else, you may need one. I also have a laptop so that I can pick up and do my work while I travel, or so that I can find a Wi-Fi hotspot if my home Internet goes down. (It’s always good to have a back up plan.)
The other thing you have to consider when telecommuting is your time. You need to make sure you have adequate time to accomplish your tasks. When you work for someone else, you might have set hours. When you work for yourself, though, you have a little more flexibility. Even so, you want to have some sort of hours, and you should have a work space that allows you to work — at least part of the day — without distractions.
Tax Deductions for Telecommuting
Don’t forget that you can deduct some of the expenses related to your home office. If you aren’t being reimbursed by your company for a dedicated business line, or for other equipment that you use to telecommute, you can actually get a tax deduction for it. If you work for yourself, you might be surprised at some of the things you can deduct. Make sure that, as you go through your expenses, you are deduction the cost of things used exclusively for your business/work efforts. A talk with a tax professional who can help you figure out which deductions you are eligible for.
Telecommuting can be a great way to earn money from home. Just make sure that you are properly prepared for what will be required of you as a telecommuter.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.