The concept of home office describes – this much is now generally known – the possibility of working from home. The model allows employees to set up a workplace within their own four walls in order to better reconcile their private lives with their jobs. Employers, on the other hand, use this offer to improve their image, ensure employee satisfaction and increase their attractiveness for potential applicants.
But what concrete advantages does the home office offer the employee? What is expected of them and what conditions must be created?
It is very easy to save time by working in the home office, largely by eliminating the need to travel. There is no need for commuting, traffic jams or annoying parking searches, leaving more time for important things such as concentrated work or rest periods. On average, one extra hour per day can be expected. You can also sleep longer in the morning or get up later. This additional half hour to hour already makes the decisive difference for many for a good start into the day.
In addition to the time saved by the home office, the employee also becomes more flexible. Whether a doctor’s or craftsman’s appointment or the child’s theatre performance. It becomes more convenient to coordinate and fulfil obligations in the morning and to make the compatibility of work and family more positive. There is however a rule: The private dates may not affect at the expense of the agreed workload. A clear arrangement with colleagues is also beneficial, at which times the desk is occupied and when not.
Saving money is also possible
You can save money by working in the home office. On the one hand by saving on travel costs or lunch in the restaurant, on the other hand, by the fact that the home office can be deducted from the tax under certain circumstances! According to the Income Tax Act, the costs of the home office and equipment can be deducted from the tax. The prerequisite for this is that the professional centre is at home and that the employee works there several times a month. If necessary, not only the desk, the swivel chair and the computer can be set down, also electricity, water, heating as well as the proportional rent.
Before you even get started, the workroom should be tidied up and any distractions removed or switched off. It is advisable to set up a fixed workplace to avoid unnecessary housework on the one hand, and to switch the brain to work mode when looking at the desk on the other. An important factor for efficient work in the home office is a successful start that begins with punctuality. For a certain routine as well as a clear transition into working hours or the evening after work, the determination of a fixed core working time is essential.
For structured and transparent work, daily and weekly plans for goals or documentation of progress achieved are recommended. On the one hand for the employer, who always wants to be informed about the career process. On the other hand for the employee, who can create efficiency by planning goals and reflecting on results. However, it is mandatory that working hours are also recorded in the home office with immediate effect following the ECJ ruling.
Privacy and data protection
The safety at work must also be guaranteed in the home office. The employer must therefore determine which health and safety measures are necessary and initiate a risk assessment. In addition, the employer must ensure compliance with data protection regulations, protection of company secrets and IT security. For this purpose, the use of IT systems exclusively for business purposes, which must also be protected against access by third parties, can be ordered. Technical measures such as the encryption of data or the use of a virtual private network are often used for the data security of data transfer.
Equipped as in the office
A fast Internet connection is essential for the time being. Because effective research work, continuous availability for colleagues as well as upload and download of files cannot be implemented without the Internet. In addition, the employee working in the home office needs the same technical equipment and the same technical IT support as the colleagues in the office. This can be understood as the provision by the employer of any hardware such as laptop or headset, but also the enabling of constant availability. Software solutions such as Microsoft Outlook, which not only covers e-mail but also the electronic team calendar, or Microsoft Teams, which enables voice communication in real time via VoIP, are suitable for the latter.
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