Pew Research finds that before the pandemic, only one in five employees worked from home either some of the time or full-time. Now, 71% of workers are doing their jobs from home all or most of the time, with women more likely than men wanting to work remotely.
How many workers will return to their workplaces either this year or next isn't precisely known, but companies like Twitter and Facebook have said that their employees can work from home permanently if they wish. A Zapier survey finds that women say they're more productive when working from home and feel more effective via written communication channels.
At the same time, millions of women have started freelancing during the pandemic and may continue even after the world returns to some sort of normalcy.
Whether you're a woman working from home by choice or because of the current pandemic lockdown, there is a financial impact.
If you're a freelancer, what expenses can you deduct from your taxes? If you're working remotely because of the pandemic, will your employer pay some of your expenses?
Freelancers who work from home regularly can deduct some home-related expenses, such as mortgage interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and some utilities. The IRS also allows you to deduct the costs related to your work, such as mileage on your vehicle when used for business travel. You can also amortize office equipment such as computers.
Still, you need to check with the IRS on these rules as they apply to "exclusive and regular" use of your home as a business location.
A remote worker works outside of a traditional office and receives a regular paycheck from one employer. Remote work skyrocketed when the pandemic hit, and employees began doing their jobs from home.
However, there are often costs associated with working from home for an extended period for these remote workers. One of the most significant issues has been internet connections. The bandwidth needed to work from home (and possibly also handle other family members or roommates using the internet) means some have had to pay to upgrade their service. The same is true of cellphones. Some workers are having to pay more to handle the increased use that comes from doing their jobs from home.
In addition, trying to use a mobile device or laptop to do a full day's work while slumped on an uncomfortable chair has prompted some employers to fund better setups for workers. For example, Shopify gave employees $1,000 to furnish home offices, and other companies are picking up the tab for better internet or phone service. An Aon survey of 1,400 U.S. employers finds that more than one in five say they are helping fund employee home-office equipment, but it's important to check with your employer to understand its reimbursement policy.
At the same time, check to see what your state requires of employers. For example, California and Illinois require employers to reimburse employees for necessary expenses they incur while working.
Finally, remember that it's essential to provide tax credits or reimbursements if you're a freelancer or a remote worker.