The Cost Savings Benefits of Working from Home
When you think about the benefits of working from home, a few obvious ones come to mind: flexible hours, a comfortable work environment, and plenty of opportunities for work-life balance. But what you may not think about is how much money you're saving by not having to go into the office every morning.
Saving Money by Staying Home
It may seem counterintuitive, but working in an office can actually be bad for your financial health. Sure, you're putting in the hours and earning a salary. But how much of what you earn gets spent on commuting costs, daily lattes from your favorite coffee shop, and lunches out with coworkers? Factor in office-appropriate clothes, and you're looking at thousands of dollars a year.
When you work from home, you eliminate a lot of those expenses. You may not necessarily want to work in your pajamas all day, but you can dress less formally than you would in the office so that you don't need to shell out for work-specific outfits. Instead of buying a coffee every morning, you can buy a bag of beans and grind them at home, or stock up on tea if that's your preferred form of caffeine.
You can also cut down on buying meals. Since you won't be tempted by your favorite eatery down the block — or a sense of FOMO when your coworkers dine out without you — it'll be easier to save money by preparing your own meals come lunchtime. Depending on how often you dine out for lunch, you could save more than $2,000 a year just by eating at home.
You'll save on commuting costs as well. Not only will you need to get gas less frequently, but you'll also reduce the amount of wear and tear on your car. Less driving also means less frequent oil changes. In an analysis of 10 different cities, workers could save between $481 and $555 in commuting costs by going 100 percent remote. Even a 50 percent reduction in commute led to savings of $240 to $277, depending on location.
However, you may not eliminate these costs entirely. Working from home can feel isolating without a break, so you may want to budget for when you work from a coffee shop a few times a month or for occasionally meeting colleagues for lunch. But you'll spend significantly less than you would if those outings were still part of your daily routine.
Pitching Your Employer on Work-from-Home Policies
Not all companies support work-from-home arrangements. If your employer is reluctant to experiment with remote work, be sure to highlight how it might help the company.
Two-thirds of workers surveyed said they want to work from home, and 37 percent said they would accept a 10 percent salary decrease for remote work opportunities, so it's a matter of employee happiness. Research shows that remote work set-ups also lead to increased longevity and fewer absences. When people can work from home, they can structure their days around family needs and obligations, and they'll feel less pressure to call out when minor emergencies come up. Remote work policies increase productivity and save businesses substantial amounts in overhead costs as well.
If your employer doesn't want to implement a full-time, work-from-home option, ask for a trial period. Find out their concerns and work together to address them. Establish clear guidelines for how you'll communicate and the hours during which you'll be available for calls and virtual meetings. Knowing they can reach you and exactly how the arrangement will work might ease some of their anxieties.
Most importantly, emphasize that the benefits of working from home extend to both employer and employees because increased worker satisfaction and productivity will help the company thrive.