For freelancers, remote workers and creative professionals, there is literally no place like home. Home is not only where all the comforts are, but also where you can work from. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few options for setting up your home-office in Germany and working right from the comfort of your home.
In 2020 Germany has experienced a major pandemic-related home office boom all over the country. Before COVID19, there were several strict rules for working from home in Germany both for employers and employees. Post-Coronavirus, every 1 in 2 Germans has been forced to work from home by their employer with or without complying with the German home-office rules.
When working from home in Germany, you still need to follow some specific guidelines for tax purposes. This way you can make your work easy, efficient and effective for long term remote work in Germany.
Working From Your Home Office in Germany
Various businesses in Germany such as Microsoft have offered their employees an opportunity to work from home. For these remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs and creatives, working from home is a stress-free alternative to heading to the office for eight hours.
After all, who wants to pore over their computer all day long? An optimised home office not only results in better creativity and helps you unlock your potential but also channel it to your work.
Did you know that remote work is getting more and more popular in Germany? Companies such as Mindspace, Coworking, Satellite Office help freelancers rent office spaces at affordable prices.
But for those who cannot afford a co-working space more regularly, a good old home office is a great alternative. Working from home is all well and good but how do you make it professional and eliminate inefficiencies and the goofing off that may creep in?
Here are some tips to help you in setting up your home office in Germany.
Make Sure it Qualifies for Tax Deduction
In Germany, your home office can be regarded as an expense and therefore used as tax deductions. However, for you to enjoy this benefit, the office should be a proper room with a door and walls. A desk in the corner of your living area or an office doubling as a guest room won’t cut!
If you are remotely working in Germany, your employer should give you a letter that attests to your need for an office.
Therefore, before you set up the office, make sure you have complied with these conditions. There is no limit on deductions if your home office is the centre of your work and located inside your apartment.
List Everything You Need
Make a list of all your essential home office needs! It will give you an idea of how big of a space you need, the amount you need to budget for and other factors to take into account. These basic needs could vary from business to business. All offices need at least a desk, a comfy office chair, storage for paperwork, a computer, various stationery items and creative space.
High-Speed Internet Access is a must-have for many remote workers. Depending on the line of your work you may also need other items like Paper Shredder, Fire-Safe Box, Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), Backup Drive or Personal Server, Printer or Multipurpose printer/ scanner, Network Router, Software, and Telephone and/or VoIP etc.
Make it as Ergonomic as Possible
Once you have an idea of what you need, go ahead and set up your office. Employers in Germany are required to ensure a functional design for their remote or home office workers. You home office in Germany needs to fulfil certain criteria like the size of the table, ergonomic chair, anti-glare monitor for you to be allowed to work there.
But this is essential not just for the sake of your employers but also for you! If you are a full-time freelancer who is working from home in Germany, then it makes sense to invest in ergonomic office furniture. Sitting in a poorly designed chair for prolonged periods of time leads to long term issues with your spine and back.
As a general guideline, you should pay particular attention to the following when choosing the optimal chair and desk for your home office:
- Seat height corresponds to the height of the kneeler
- Firm contact with the backrest and at least two finger widths of space from the front edge of the seat to the back of the knee
- Armrest corresponds to the elbow height above the seat
- Backrest supports the back and follows every movement
- At least 72 cm high
- Work surface size of about 160 x 80 cm
- Printers and other vibrating devices should be placed on a different table
- adequate legroom
- anti-reflective surface
- inclinable if necessary
The ideal room temperature for humans is about 22° C. You should also air the room regularly to ensure that there is sufficient fresh air in the room.
The laptop or desktop screen should be set to 400 to 600 lux. Plenty of daylight also ensures that your eyes are not as strained as with artificial light.
Organise Your Home Office In Germany
For better efficiency and productivity, ensure that your desk remains clear and not cluttered. This should also be strictly professional without personal items littering the space and becoming distractions. You can ensure your space is clutter-free by grouping similar items together using organisers.
Tools, papers, writing materials, equipment, and electronics should all be separate from each other. Manage electrical cords neatly. Be creative, especially with storage space and you will have a clear desk and organised space to work from efficiently.
According to Entrepreneur.com, keeping your home-office free from clutter helps you think more clearly, which produces better results. Home office clutter can quickly accumulate over time, so the fewer unnecessary items in your office, the better for your productivity.
Read Also: Related: Where to find work from home jobs in Germany
Setting up a good home office makes work from home in Germany (or anywhere else) much easier. After all, you need to make it a comfy and practical space where you can focus and be productive for several hours each day. Hopefully, the above tips will be useful when setting up your home office in Germany.
Do you work from home in Germany? If you already have a home office in Germany, how did you set it up? Tell us about your experiences in setting up your home office and using it for tax deductions, I’m curious!