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Notary Bulletin

3 Things To Avoid In Your Home Office

Home-OfficeV2-resized.jpgUpdated 4-24-18. Working from home can be rewarding for Notaries, but it's still a workspace, and you need to treat it that way. Here are three important 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. Remember, you are responsible for safeguarding your customers' sensitive information such as addresses, phone numbers and other private data. Letting family members use your work devices could give them access to this data, causing a possible breaches of customer privacy, or a relative might accidentally delete your important work files. Also, if a family member unintentionally infects your device with malware or viruses, your customer information could be stolen by hackers. You may want to consider a good encryption program for your business records as a precaution.

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.

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