Home Offices: The New American Workplace?

More and more Americans are working from home according to the latest research.

Aug 23, 2014 at 3:30PM

More and more Americans are working from home according to the latest research. Who are these remote employees and home-based, self-employed workers? They include millennial hipsters and semi-retired baby boomers; men and women -- from stay-at-home caregivers and home-based entrepreneurs to professionals and service employees with full-time jobs that allow them to work remotely all or part of the time. So who needs a home office these days? Just about everyone.

Numbers don't lie
According to the 2010 U.S. Census (based on surveys from ACS and SIPP), 13.4 million U.S. workers perform their job functions at least one day a week from the comforts of home. That's a full 9.5% of all workers. Sound high? Other surveys have put that number even higher. The bureau of labor and statistics from the year reported that 24% of workers did "some or all of their work at home," while Telework Research Network said 20 to 30 million U.S. workers did their jobs from home at least one day a week.

Regardless of who's counting, the trend seems irrefutable. But before you decide to invest in a home office, you might want to ask yourself, is working from home here to stay?

Well, consider this: The portion of the American workforce that regularly works from home grew 73% from 2005 to 2011. Projections indicate that even if no growth occurs at all in the workforce for the next few years, the number of workers who telecommute will increase another 69% by 2016. In the next year or so, International Data Corporation projects 2 million new home-based businesses will be added to the home office market, and the number of home office households used by corporate employees will surpass 27 million.

Keep in mind not every company is falling in with the trend, though. In February of 2013 Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer announced a ban on working remotely for her company's employees. She cited the need for in-person collaboration as a necessary element for Yahoo!'s success.

The tax break
Great news – People can get a tax deduction for their home offices. Bad news – Not many Americans actually take the IRS up on the offer. It involves complicated recordkeeping and calculations. However, in January 2013 the IRS announced a new simplified method for calculating the home office tax deduction. You can now deduct up to 300 square feet of home office space at $5 per square foot without figuring carryover deduction, allocated expenses, or depreciation. Just be aware you still must meet the requirements of "regular and exclusive use" to qualify.

Good reasons to work from home, both for employees and employers:
While you're deciding if you'd like to take over a corner of the living or add on a whole new room for your home office, consider some of these happy-making stats for the work from home employee (and employer):

·         Employee satisfaction -- 36% would prefer to telecommute than get a raise

·         95% of employers say telecommuting helps them retain good employees

·         92% of employees are concerned about the expense of commuting.

·         Working from home can save between $1,600 and $6,800 -- and up to 15 days of time.

·         63%-71% of employees want to avoid the commute

·         Unscheduled absences cost employers $1,800 per employee each year.

·         78% of employees who call in sick have some other reason not to come to work

·         Two-thirds of employers say telecommuting increases worker productivity by 15-55%

With numbers like that, it's no wonder that surveys found everyone from salaried business and finance professionals (25%) to self-employed persons (64%), from Millenials (1 in 5) to seniors over 65 (1 in 10), and all the way up to the top earners in the workforce are jumping on board. It may just be time to call up your contractor and talk about getting an office set up right in your home-sweet-home.

This article originally appeared on ImprovementCenter.com

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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