10 July 2020

Tech Perspective #12: The True Cost of Working from Home


Prevailing circumstances have forced millions of employees to leave their offices and to work in the comfort of their homes. Industry giants, such as Shopify, Facebook, and Twitter announced that their employees would continue to work from home even after the pandemic. Without a hitch, remote work is becoming a part of “the new normal”.

You have probably seen numerous articles discussing the benefits of remote work, as well as guides on how to effectively manage a remote team. The businesses seemed to go into raptures about the advantages of this solution, not only for the employers but also for the employees. However, this remote work craze seemed to ignore one particularly problematic issue – the cost of working from home.

Working from home, despite its obvious pros, is a burden on the household budget. After a few months of remote work, the employees started “feeling the pinch”. What additional costs are generated by working remotely? And how to forecast them? Let’s find out.

Costs of working from home

Working from home can save some money. There’s no need to pay for commuting; neither for public transport nor for petrol. Tempted to buy some overpriced snack at work? No longer a problem, there’s always something in the fridge. However, that’s the end of potential savings, and the number of additional costs is overwhelming.

First of all, more time at home equals more consumed energy. Water, heating, electricity- be prepared to pay for a double consumption. And it can cost a lot. According to The Telegraph, the potential additional cost per month equals £52.

Moreover, employees can’t risk having unreliable broadband. After all, they usually have to attend videoconferences, make calls, and keep in touch with co-workers or clients. Seamless access to email and communication platforms is a minimum necessary.

This brings us to the topic of equipment. Most companies provide their employees with necessary devices, such as work laptops or mobile phones. However, it’s less likely for every employee to get their printer or copier. The same applies to ergonomic chairs and desks- the employees will probably have to take care of that themselves.

And all the coffee and tea that drank in the office? Well, now it’s the individual cost.

How to calculate the real cost of working from home?

In the case of long-term homebound employees, employers may seek to compensate them for increased consumption. However, how to calculate the cost of an employee working from home?

The best possible option would be to use an app calculating all the additional costs incurred by the employees. Such the app would estimate and determine potential costs and compare them. The calculation could be performed by a percentage calculation of energy, water, gas, and internet consumption during working hours. As a result, it would be way easier to draw a clearer cost-picture for businesses and create accurate cost reports.

Moreover, the app could not only be used for calculations; it could streamline the process of compensation for the expenses. The information about costs could go straight to the employers who would be able to easily and efficiently reimburse the costs.

Cost estimation may also help assess the financial feasibility of either keeping all employees at home or requesting their return to offices. It may aid in keeping a positive balance and making the best decision regarding the model of work.

Is it profitable to work remotely?

Even though working from home seems to be a great opportunity both for the employees and the employers, it’s advisable to calculate all the costs before deciding to switch to full-time remote work.

Creating an app calculating and comparing the expenses would be an amazing solution ensuring seamless reimbursements of the costs to the employees.

In the long run, it could also help the businesses to decide whether it’s more profitable to keep the employees at homes or to request their return to the offices.

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Marcin Bartoszuk
Chief Operating Officer

With Microsoft technologies related since 2005. He graduated from the Computer Science Faculty of the Bialystok University of Technology where he was the leader of the .NET Group and the Microsoft Student Partner. Four times finalist of the national stage of the Imagine Cup competition, and later the mentor and the jury member of the contest. Co-founder of the Bialystok .NET Group. He lectured .NET development at the Bialystok University of Technology. Microsoft MVP in the Client Application Development category in 2008-2010, when he actively participated in the IT community. Constant new technology enthusiast and IT consultant.