Setting up to work remotely

There are a range of free online tools and resources to help you set up your business at home and connect with employees.

Many online collaboration tools provide audio/video conferencing, chat functions, desktop sharing and the ability to share files.

Take a look at the Australian Business Continuity website to find options for:

  • remote communications
  • collaboration tools
  • workforce management
  • video conferencing

Find free tools and resources to help you work from home.

Going digital with your business

With the impacts of coronavirus, you may be looking to take your business online. We’ve got information to help you set up, including:

Protecting your customers' information

If you collect and store your customers’ personal information, you must comply with privacy laws. These laws detail how a business must handle personal information, especially as it relates to direct marketing purposes.

Use the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner checklist to help you determine whether you need to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles.

Find out how to protect your customer’s information.

Government help to go digital

Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) Digital Solutions

ASBAS Digital Solutions offers small businesses low cost, high quality advice on a range of digital solutions to meet their business needs.

If you’re a sole trader or have less than 20 full-time equivalent employees, ASBAS Digital Solutions can help take your business online. They can provide low-cost advice on:

  • creating a website
  • selling online
  • social media and digital marketing
  • using small business software
  • online security and data privacy

To support businesses through the coronavirus pandemic, ASBAS Digital Solutions are also now offering general business advice. 

Small Business Digital Champions

The Small Business Digital Champions Project recently provided 100 small businesses with funding to digitally transform their business. See first-hand accounts of how going online can be good for business.

In addition, through funding under the Small Business Digital Champions Project, 15 Australian Industry Associations will be providing digital advisory services to their members. They’ll:

  • provide sector specific advice, free of charge
  • demonstrate the benefits of going digital to their members

Working securely online

Make sure you’ve considered the security of any online systems you use when working remotely.

If you're planning on using web conferencing (online collaboration tools) to communicate with your staff, the Australian Cyber Security Centre has information on how to select a system and use it securely.

Read about protecting your cyber security when web conferencing.

Learn more about protecting your small business digitally during COVID-19.

Coronavirus scams

There’s currently a number of coronavirus scams exploiting businesses and individuals. Scammers are sending emails and text messages that claim to provide official information about the coronavirus, but are attempts to get your personal or business information. Know how to recognise potential scams and avoid the risks to your business.

Find out about protecting your business from coronavirus scams.

Learn more about cybersecurity.

Home-based businesses

Your obligations

Running a business from home is no different from running a business based in an office. You still have certain obligations. Depending on your type of business, you will still have:

  • tax obligations
  • insurance considerations
  • licencing and registration obligations

Find out more about home-based businesses and your obligations when working from home.

Work health and safety requirements

Be mindful that Australia’s Work Health and Safety laws still apply when working from home. There are a number of things you can do to minimise both the physical and psychological risks to you and any employees. You might also need to review your existing policies and procedures in light of working from home.

Find information on COVID-19 and work and safety when working from home.

Update your policies, procedures and processes

If you’ve changed to a home-based business due to COVID-19, you might need to review your existing policies and procedures to make sure they fit with the current work environment for you and your staff.

Learn more about updating your operating standards.

Tax deductions

From 1 March to 30 June 2020, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is simplifying home office deduction rules so you can claim up to 80 cents per hour you work from home.

To claim a deduction for working from home, all of the following must apply:

  • you must have spent the money
  • the expense must be directly related to earning your income
  • you must have a record to prove it

You cannot claim a deduction for items provided by your employer or if you have been reimbursed for the expense.

If you're not reimbursed by your employer, but instead receive an allowance from them to cover your expenses when you work from home, you:

  • must include this allowance as income in your tax return
  • can claim a deduction as outlined in this fact sheet

Find out more about the expenses you can and cannot claim while working from home.

Read next

Learn how you and your employees can take care of your mental health.

Follow our guide to getting started online.