The hidden costs of working from home you forget about

in general, there are many obvious ways working from home saves employees money, which Quartz breaks down in great detail today.

Every day when I leave my apartment, I turn my thermostat down, congratulating myself on saving money for the next ten hours or so I’ll be away from my apartment, working and commuting.

When I work from home, I’m aware that I’m not saving money, but at least it’s a trade-off. (To say nothing of the air conditioning blasting away during the summer months).


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But in general, there are many obvious ways working from home saves employees money, which Quartz breaks down in great detail today. The main factors are coffee, food, and commuting.

In general:

“Let’s say you live in Atlanta, typically grab a coffee each morning during your commute, and purchase your lunch four days of your work week on average. Transitioning into a fully remote job would save you $324 in coffee, $1,248 in meals, and $555 in commute costs each year. You’re looking at $2,127 in annual savings.”

Commuting is an extra-special super-savings because not only do you save on money, you save on time and stress.

Hidden costs of WFH

Still, not enough people talk about the costs of working from home. It’s not just the above-mentioned costs of keeping your house running, like heating and cooling.

It’s also the wear and tear on your personal computer (unless your company covers this expense), and the cost of high-speed Internet – and having to have a backup plan for when it goes down. Maybe you have to work from a coffee shop for four hours and – whoops! – spend money.

Working from home means your home is also an office, and needs certain things, like a good desk and chair. (Only slackers work from bed).

The Penny Hoarder mentions that there are other must-haves, like basic office supplies and ink cartridges. Some of these things you may ask your employer to pay for; they may or may not agree, but it never hurts to ask.

Another good point? The old “I’ll just save money on lunch” argument doesn’t always hold up when you’re working from home.

“Instead of saving money by packing a lunch, you can save money by opening your refrigerator. The problem? There has to be something in your refrigerator. Unless you stay on top of your grocery shopping and meal planning, you’re going to end up ordering takeout or heading to the nearest coffee shop for another $12 sandwich and $5 cappuccino.”

If you never go into an office, there are professional costs, which you’ll want to make up with by making sure to keep up with your coworkers socially, or taking the time to go to networking events. Some of these events cost money, while a few serendipitous happy hours with coworkers or people in your industry wouldn’t have been free.

In short, you have to plan the work-from-home life the same way you’d plan for working from the office. But of course it’s worth it for the productivity and the peace of mind, or at least until those noisy neighbors move in…


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Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.