CRA Extends Working From Home Reimbursements - What Does This Mean For You?
December 4th, 2020
It’s been almost a year now since everything started locking down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost twice as many workers are working remotely compared to before the pandemic, and still with no sign of a return to normalcy any time soon.
It is likely for this reason that the CRA has announced an extension to what employers can reimburse tax-free to their employees. According to The Financial Post, the CRA recently announced that not only can employers reimburse their employees for computer equipment, but for office furniture and equipment as well. Specifically, employers can reimburse their employees for up to $500 worth of office equipment tax-free. When asked if that would ever be increased or extended, the CRA said that they would be monitoring the pandemic situation.
This is good news for anyone who’s been working from home and has since started to feel burned out - which, according to the New York Times, is about 45% of people working from home. We believe that buying yourself office furniture and equipment can be a great way to prevent burnout and stress, and increase your productivity - here’s why.
When you’re working from home, it can sometimes feel as though you’re obliged to answer emails, finish projects, or otherwise be “on,” even when you’re not on the clock. Even little tasks like answering calls can add to your stress levels - it’s a sign of not creating strong boundaries between work and home! This can lead to higher stress levels, and quicker burnout when you find yourself worrying about tasks you need to do tomorrow, in the time you should be dedicating to rest and relaxation.
So how can you avoid work stress creeping into your relaxation time? Psychology Today says that it could be the difference between segmenting and integrating your work life and your home life. Segmenting includes creating set hours where you’re responding to work-related queries, having separate emails for work and for personal use, and, perhaps most importantly, having a separate space where you do work, and nothing else. (This has the added effect of keeping you more focused and productive while you’re working!). It’s been noted that segmentors tend to have lower stress levels than integrators.
So one has to wonder: how successfully are people segmenting?
The answer is, it doesn’t look good. Because of the suddenness of the pandemic, many workers who are currently working from home weren’t prepared to do so beforehand. According to Forbes, 72% of people working from home aren’t working from a dedicated office space at all. 40% of them don’t have a dedicated desk to work from, 20% of them are working from their living room, and almost 30% of people are working from the master bedroom. It’s no wonder that so many workers are experiencing burnout - how are you supposed to segment your work from your home life when you’re working in the same place you sleep at night? It seems this announcement from the CRA couldn’t come at a better time.
Another thing to keep in mind while choosing how to furnish your personal workspace is that it isn’t only segmentation that helps productivity: getting in exercise and movement during your day is one of the biggest factors for mental health and productivity. That’s why, if you’re planning to take advantage of the offered reimbursement, it’s best to spend it on furniture that will help in as many ways as possible.
We recommend getting not only a specific desk for work, but an adjustable desk, so you can switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. Studies show that alternating between sitting and standing helps improve your posture, decrease back pain, and, because you’re less distracted by physical discomfort, keeps you more productive throughout the day. A win-win, all around!