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In the past 18 months, remote work has become the rule across most sectors. And even as we try to navigate work with vaccines and heightened safety precautions, remote work is still common.

According to the State of Remote Work 2021 report by Owl Labs, only 39% of employers are requiring employees to be in the office full-time. And as new variants spread across the globe, this number could decrease even further.

The same study found that 84% of surveyed employees said that working remotely after the pandemic is over would make them happier — and some were even willing to take a pay cut to do so.

Remote work delivers the flexibility employees need for true work/life balance. And productivity doesn’t seem to suffer. The Owl Labs report states that 90% of employees felt they were as productive or more productive working from home versus in the office.

These stats alone are enough for many businesses to start changing their workplace policies. Some are adopting hybrid policies while others are sending employees who can work remotely home indefinitely.

If you are one of those employees, we’re sure you’re no stranger to the unique challenges of remote work. After all, they’re plentiful, from ensuring your video conferencing software is up and running to controlling your ever-growing email inbox.

To help you succeed despite those challenges, we’ve put together several resources and tools you can use to maximize your efficiency and productivity while you do your best work (even in your pajamas).

Home video setup: What you need to look and sound professional

While joining a quick Zoom call on your phone may have been acceptable at the start of the pandemic, you may now be required to put together something more professional for permanent remote work.

But what exactly do you need? Is one of those professional-grade cameras really necessary? Should you drop your entire paycheck on studio-quality video tools? No and no. There are plenty of options out there that can help you look and sound more professional during meetings without breaking the bank.

In this guide, top TechRepublic contributor Jack Wallen discusses the things you need and the things you don’t, so you can make the most of every video call while working from home.


Home office deduction guide and checklist

Whether you’re working from a dedicated home office space, a dining room table or just a nook in your bedroom, there may be tax benefits available to you. The United States Tax Code allows some taxpayers to deduct expenses associated with their home offices. For example, you can deduct a percentage of your real estate taxes, rent and more.

However, calculating the deductions you’re entitled to can be complicated. There are certain requirements your home office space must meet. For example, the space you use for your home office must be exclusively used for business regularly.

To help you make sense of the deductions and what you can claim, we put together this simple guide and checklist you can pull out and use at tax time.


Feature comparison: Time tracking software and systems

Time tracking is critical for all aspects of business. For example, it helps employers understand how long it takes employees to create products or complete projects, which then helps them make critical business decisions.

In a remote work setting, time tracking becomes even more challenging. Manual timesheets via paper documents and spreadsheets aren’t effective in this setting. That’s why it’s critical for employers to use available tech tools such as automated time tracking software.

There are many options to choose from, however, and it can be difficult to understand which software is the best choice. Whether you’re an employer trying to understand your options or a remote employee wanting to test out a tool that could boost your productivity, this feature comparison guide can help.


6 easy tips for cleaning up your personal and professional inbox

As if your inbox wasn’t crazy enough prior to working remotely, more work now happens via email. You can’t run to the office next door or walk down the hall to get answers to work questions. And while some meetings will happen via Zoom, others will become email chains.

 Unfortunately, a cluttered email inbox doesn’t do anything for your productivity. Instead, you’ll spend critical time searching for important emails and the information you need to get work done.

 To combat email overwhelm, we put together this guide that outlines six easy tips you can use to clean up both your personal and professional inboxes.