Monday, 14 June 2021 12:49

How to furnish your workspace and look your best in video calls before tax time

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As more employees continue to work remotely, the necessary pieces of lighting equipment for office use are now a must. Ring lights, microphones, and having a suitable backdrop are now mandatory to look professional and productive.

The pandemic has completely changed the way we work, and the transition has not always been easy. Despite a rough start, a new research states that almost three quarter (72%) of Australians hope to continue working from home in some capacity.

With tax time fast approaching, now is the opportune time to revamp your home office space with tax deductible home office equipment. With Zoom calls now the norm, accountant Adrian Raftery, aka Mr. Taxman, says equipment which enhances the quality of video calls for work purposes—from speakers and headsets, right through to video bars and ring lights—could fall under work expense category when it comes to tax time.

“When it comes to claiming a tax deduction, the rules are clear: any items claimed need to be used for work purposes. The pandemic has changed what work looks like. Employees and business owners alike are conducting their business via video conferencing, so any equipment that enhances your clarity and professional image can arguably be considered a tax-deductible expense, subject to personal usage and depreciation rules,” explains Raftery.

“Of course, every case is unique so for anyone working from home—whether as an employee or business owner—should speak to their accountant about what will or won’t be tax deductible before making an end of financial year (EOFY) purchase,” he adds.

Rob Ranoa, founder of Hypop, a specialist photography equipment store, saw a significant increase in the number of remote workers and business owners who have invested in professional lighting for work purposes over the last year.

“Home offices are often not very well lit when compared with traditional offices, and webcams are so small they don’t capture much light, which means remote workers often appear dark, grainy and unflattering on video calls,” he says.

The pandemic caused a surge of demand for lighting equipment. “Over the last year we have received a spike in inquiries from remote workers looking for ring lights or conference lighting kits in order to improve their appearance and look more professional on conference calls—particularly for more professional settings, such as giving a presentation or liaising with clients,” he says.

Ranoa gives tips on how to look best on video calls. “The best ways to improve your appearance is to be in a well-lit room, and ensure the background is clean and free of distraction. Position your webcam so it’s slightly above you to capture your best angle.”

Some of Hypop’s pieces of equipment include:

Hypop's 10-inch Opalexe USB LED ring light (RRP $99.99) can fit your workspace. It can be adjusted 180° front and back, and it offers ten steps of brightness and is equipped with a smartphone holder that can be rotated and manoeuvred so users can get the right light and angle. It also features colour temperature adjustability with three different light modes. Compatible with several USB devices the light can be powered through USB chargers, computers, laptops or any compatible devices with USB ports.

Most webcams are small and do not capture much light. Hypop's Skype Video Conferencing Desk Lighting Kit (RRP $239.99)—which works with Zoom, Google Hangouts, and any other video conferencing app—gives users professional lighting to improve the quality of your video calls.

The Boya BY-PM700 USB condenser microphone (RRP $199.99) is compatible with both Windows and Mac Computers, and is designed for conference calls and interviews, recording podcasts and more. Just plug and play and capture quality audio in up to 16 bit/48 kHz resolution.

For social media managers, content creators or even restaurant owners, you can turn your home office into a studio with this set of textured backdrops (backdrop flatlay set: RRP $89.99) that look like wood, marble, and concrete.


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Kenn Anthony Mendoza

Kenn Anthony Mendoza is the newest member of the iTWire team. Kenn is also a contributing writer for South China Morning Post Style, and has written stories on Korean entertainment, Asian and European royalty, Millionaires and Billionaires, and LGBTQIA+ issues. He has been published in Philippine newspapers, magazines, and online sites: Tatler PhilippinesManila BulletinCNN Philippines LifePhilippine StarManila Times, and The Daily Tribune. Kenn now covers all aspects of technology news for iTWire.com.

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