By David Thun
Working from home can be rewarding for Notaries, but it has its distractions. Here are some things to avoid when working out of your home:
1. Don’t use your workspace for non-business activities. Keep your work area free of distractions. It may sound nice to be able to watch your favorite reality show while you catch up on paperwork, but you run the risk of veering away from your important tasks. If children, family members or pets are coming in and out of your work area, it’s even harder to get work done. Also, don’t forget that the IRS requires a home office to be used exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business or as a meeting place for clients and customers in order to be claimed as an income tax deduction. Letting other family members use your work space can potentially disqualify it for a deduction. Contact the IRS or a qualified tax professional for more information.
2. Don’t let family members use your work computers and mobile devices for recreational purposes. If you keep your financial and client information on an electronic device in your home work area, make sure that other family members understand that device is for business only. Failing to do this could lead to possible breaches of customer privacy, accidental deletion of important files or malware or viruses infecting your device. You also may want to consider a good encryption program for your business records.
3. Don’t keep pets in your work area if meeting clients at your home for notarizations. Remember, some clients may be allergic to or uncomfortable around animals. If meeting clients at your home, be sure that any pets are kept secure in a yard or another part of the home.
David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.