Many employees are working from home in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak. If you’re one of those Aussies whose home now doubles as an office, these tips could help keep your energy costs down.
1. Use an energy saving power board
Consider using an energy saving power board for all your work related tech. Connect your main appliance, which could be your computer, to the ‘master socket’ and then connect other appliances (like monitors, printers, charger and lamps) to the ‘slave sockets’. When you turn your computer off, power to the other units shuts down automatically, which makes sure that power is not wasted on appliances that are left on but not being used. If you leave electrical appliances turned on at the wall they’ll continue to use energy, so put everything on one power board and make it easy for yourself to flick off one switch at night.
2. Heat yourself before heating the space around you
If you normally use a ducted heater to warm your home, try dressing in warm clothing and draping an electric heated throw rug over your knees instead.
3. Heat and cool your space at the right temperature
Setting your heat to 18-20°C is another simple way to reduce your energy use. Each degree over 20°C uses around 10% more energy. When it comes to cooling your home office, the ideal temperature to set your air-con to is 24°C or higher. Each degree under uses 5% more energy.
4. Check you’re on the best energy plan
If you haven’t updated your plan in a while, head over to our Compare Plans page to check you’re on the best deal that suits your needs. Switching to another plan could save you money.
5. Heat the hub, not the whole house
If you’re using a heating or cooling system in your home office during the day, try heating or cooling only the area you’re working in. Close doors, use curtains, blinds and draft stoppers to limit your office energy use to a single room.
6. Track your usage
If you have a smart meter, you can track your usage in our app, so that you can see what you’re using and when. Download our app on Google Play or in the App Store. You can also keep an eye on your energy usage in My Account. If you don’t already have access, you can register right here.
7. Practice those master chef skills
If you’re handy in the kitchen, try slow-cooking your dinner while you work. Slow-cookers are versatile and use less energy than standard ovens.
8. Remember to save those receipts
Working from home opens up some pretty interesting tax benefits and challenges. You should be able to make deductions against operating costs such as equipment & services; however there are a few rules that apply:
- You must have spent the money.
- The expense must be directly related to earning your income.
- You must have a record to prove it.
If you’re currently working from home due to recent events such as COVID-19 (coronavirus), bush fire and drought there are some deductions you can make related to additional running expenses. Here are the 3 options:
- shortcut method ─ claim a rate of 80 cents per work hour for all additional running expenses (only available if you’re working from home due to COVID-19, up until 30 June 2020 at this stage)
- fixed rate method ─ claim all of these:
- a rate of 52 cents per work hour for heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the decline in value of office furniture,
- the work-related portion of your actual costs of phone and internet expenses, computer consumables, stationery, and
- the work-related portion of the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.
- actual cost method ─ claim the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which you need to calculate on a reasonable basis.
if you’re looking into what else you may be able to claim, we’ve collected a few extra tax time tips to help you manage the new working from home environment.
It’s always wise to seek out the advice of your accountant and chat with the ATO for specific guidance relating to your situation.
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