But it then owns the equipment so if you can afford it, why not salary sacrifice the remaining 70%. This means the equipment is purchased from your pre-tax earnings effectively costing you less than half of its retail cost.

And here is even better news – if you have already run out and bought stuff you can (with the boss’s agreement) sell it to them (if you have receipts), and they can claim depreciation, and you can salary sacrifice! Perfect win-win!

Our best advice is if you must buy things don’t be a brand or specification snob.

And remember that the Aussie dollar has tanked and freight has increased so current stock will never be cheaper – buy now off the shop floor and don’t trust online as they may take your money but be unable to supply.

Can you ask your boss to pay a contribution towards the internet, wear and tear of equipment, utilities, home office space etc.?

Absolutely. The boss can pay a mutually agreed amount, but this goes on your group certificate as income, and you need to claim depreciation and expenses off your PAYE tax. So it is complicated and ultimately could impact capital gains tax on your primary residence – talk to your accountant first. I guess the issue here is how long you will work from home and if it becomes the norm, in which case tax laws need to change.

But you can claim legitimate out of pocket expenses with the right documentation.

Note we will use the term PC to cover Windows, macOS, iOS and Android desktops/laptops/tablets.

Regimen

I have worked from home and the office for over a decade so I know what it means. You need a regimen (routine) and to set limits like start time, break times, finish time etc. Whereas when I go to the office, I get up a lot earlier to cover preparation and transit, I can legitimately ‘sleep in’ and still work a 9-5 day at home. Dress – it is good to change from PJs to casual gear, especially if you telecommute!

Whereas at work, you will often get up to walk to the printer, see colleagues and interact you will not have that at home. It is vital to get up regularly and stretch.

Your boss may like to implement collaboration software like Microsoft Teams (part of Office 365) that has unified communication and collaboration that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. In other words, your PC becomes a window to the workplace and its culture.

Workplace culture – people contact – is what you will miss most!

Environment

Isolation

The chances are that your work environment is close to perfect. Good chair, well-lit private/quiet desk, single or dual-screen monitors, PC with all required software and a keyboard/mouse that you are productive and happy with.

Chances are that your flat, apartment or house is not the ideal work environment. A desk in the open plan lounge/kitchen replete with TV, partner, children or pet interruptions is not the best.

You can isolate with noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones – almost any over the ear ANC headphones will do. There are some ANC earphones as well.

The advantage of this is that you can Bluetooth connect to your PC and play music or hear teleconferences clearly without disrupting others.

If you don’t want to spend $500-600, then there are some excellent BT/ANC cans like the JBL 650 ($199), Poly BackBeat Go 810 (from $180), Ausdom ANC7S ($139) and many more. What you lose is some bass, lower levels of total noise attenuation and perhaps some lasting quality.

If you don’t need to ask the price, then the competitors are Sony WH-1000xM3 ($399), Sennheiser Momentum 3 ($599 but hell why not?), Sennheiser’s PXC 550 II  ($499), Bose 700 ($489),  AKG N700 ($300), Jabra Elite 85h ($379) and to lesser extent Bose QC 35 II ($366). 

Lighting is the most overlooked factor

 Office lights are typically 400-500 nits of evenly distributed, diffused light. Home light is generally 200-300 nits designed for night use to illuminate or spot specific areas.