All About Working From Home

Is working from home something you have always wanted to do? With the development of technology, many industries are starting to offer remote positions for both contracted and full-time employees. Telecommuting jobs are quickly becoming popular and have been integrated with jobs like writing, teaching and customer service. The capacity to work from home provides many advantages, like having a flexible schedule and not having to deal with traffic while on a daily commute. 

Telecommuting can also benefit employers as well, since it offers a wider pool of professionals to hire, and is known to increase employee productivity. If you are searching for a position where you can work remotely, make sure to learn more about telecommuting, finding available positions and the differences between self-employment and traditional remote positions.

Why Learn About Telecommuting

Telecommuting refers to any position where you can work remotely, usually with a computer and internet connection. Thus, telecommuting includes a variety of remote jobs, whether full-time or contracted. Both employees and employers can gain benefits from telecommuting positions, including:

  • Increasing productivity for employees.
  • Decreasing office space-related costs decrease.
  • Removing daily commutes.
  • Reducing unscheduled absences. 
  • Increasing employee satisfaction and loyalty.

The Difference Between Being Employed vs Self-Employed

Knowing the difference between full-time employment and self-employment when it comes to telecommuting is essential. Although working from home can provide more flexible work hours and better job satisfaction, it is important to understand that these positions are not without their disadvantages. 

Employers will typically hire remote workers as private contractors or freelancers, instead of as full-time employees. When you are hired as a private contractor or as a freelancer, you will not receive the same benefits as employees working onsite in a traditional setting. This means you may not have access to employer-sponsored support like:

  • A 401(k).
  • Health insurance plans.
  • Paid sick leave.
  • Pension opportunities.

When you are contracted, you are not even given the same amount of job security as a typical full-time employee. For instance, here in the United States, someone who was formerly employed may have the opportunity to get unemployment insurance benefits after a lay off or being fired unjustly from a job. 

Meanwhile, when you are thought of as self-employed, you will not qualify for unemployment insurance even if you lost your position unjustly. On the other hand, statistics also show that freelancers and contractors will earn an income up to 45 percent more than a traditional employee. 

Self-employed contractors also need to pay a higher tax rate. Even though the tax rate is severely high for self-employed workers, contractors are typically eligible for more tax deductions because of their business-related costs. 

In addition to these costs, working remotely allows workers to reduce some daily spending. Many save by eliminating daily commutes, which can further reduce childcare costs and other expenses. 

Deductions and Taxes as a Self-Employed Worker

Self-employed workers receive the highest tax rates within the United States. Therefore, if you want to work remotely, you should learn about the tax rates for self-employment as well as the deductions you may be eligible for. 

Self-employment has such high tax rates because the self-employed contractor needs to pay the employee and the employer a portion for Medicare and Social Security. If you are an employee, your employer will take care of these taxes.

Even though these tax rates are high for self-employed workers, contractors can use the amount that might have been used for taxes for the business expenses. Within the telecommunications industry, the typical deduction is known as the home office deduction. 

This type of deduction lets the contractor to deduct a part of his or her rent, utilities and broadband bill. If you are paying for a mortgage, then the deduction will go to a part of your mortgage instead of rent.

It is possible to have other month-to-month expenses that can be taken out of your taxes as well. Some examples are a portion of your mobile phone bill, if you use it for work. The monthly expenses can vary depending on your job responsibilities. 

When you submit these kinds of business-related deductions, the deduction will be calculated with the amount of the bill and a percentage of what has been used for business or personal use. For instance, if your mobile phone bill is $100 every month and you use 50 percent of your time on your phone for business-related activities, you can deduct $50 every month for the rest of the year so long as your usage does not change.

Self-employed contractors are usually not provided health insurance benefits. Thus, the health care insurance premiums can be thought of as a tax deductible. Alongside the insurance premiums, contractors can deduct premiums for spouses and dependents who are younger than 27 years old. This is if these groups of people do not have access to other kinds of health insurance.

Other kinds of deductions for self-employment can include business costs for travel. If you are commuting to work with your car, then you can deduct any car maintenance expenses, any gas expenses and more. 

When you are travelling for business reasons, a part of your food costs can also be deducted. With any deductions related to work or business, it is important to maintain a detailed record of the costs and have all your receipts on hand in the case of a tax audit. 

Kinds of Remote Positions Available  

Telecommuting is something that has become thoroughly integrated in many industries. When looking for jobs that can let you work from home, it is possible to find careers in fields like:

  • Writing. Some careers can include blogging, content writing, copywriting, technical writing, editorial positions and more.
  • Customer service and sales. More businesses are letting their sales reps work from home, but this job typically require workers to work at a fixed schedule.
  • Transcriptionists and translators. Transcriptionists convert audio files into written texts. 
  • Web designers. This is another industry that is moving to find remote workers. You may need a degree in order to qualify for this job, however.
  • Virtual teaching. With the rise of online learning, this job has become a popular choice. However, you must still meet the teaching-related requirements for this career.

Applying for a Remote Job

When looking for a job that lets you work remotely or from home, try using keywords that are relevant to this type of work like “telecommuting” or “remote” when searching location. You will probably get a variety of relevant results. It is possible to apply for a remote job through online job boards such as the following:

  • GlassDoor
  • CareerBuilder
  • SimplyHired
  • Indeed