The Hidden Cost of Working at Home: 8 Unexpected Expenses Telecommuters Face
October 7, 2021
When the telecommuting revolution first got underway, many experts predicted that workers would save enormous amounts of money. After all, it just stood to reason that eliminating the cost of the daily commute and the need for an extensive work wardrobe would have a positive impact on employee wallets, and on the companies themselves.
Now that the dust has settled, a strange thing has happened. While businesses are indeed spend less on things like office space and electricity, many of them are spending far more on IT support, network security and other types of infrastructure. And for the employees themselves, many of them are spending more, not less, for the privilege of working from home. Here are eight of the hidden costs of working from, and some of the unexpected expenses telecommuters are now facing.
With so many telecommuters working on their smartphones, some are finding that the cost of their data is rising exponentially. As a result, telecommuters often need to switch data plans, paying more for their service in the process.
2. Office supplies
When you are working in a cubicle, the copy paper and pens are just a short walk away. But when you work from home, you may need to buy those supplies, and the costs can really add up. Telecommuters should ask their companies about office supply allowances and other types of expense reimbursement.
Even if their home Wi-Fi network is fine for basic web surfing and video streaming, it may not be able to handle the additional burden of daily video calls and ongoing file transfers. Telecommuters may need to upgrade their networks, adding new equipment like repeaters and range extenders.
While many employers offer virtual private network (VPN) software to their home-based workers, this is not the case for all companies. Some telecommuters have had to purchase their own VPN solution so they can work efficiently and privately.
5. Increased energy usage
Many workers are used to setting their thermostats back when they leave for the office. Some have even installed automated systems to adjust the temperature based on time of day and household schedules. Now that those schedules have been upended, some are seeing a troublesome spike in their utility bills, often enough to negate the supposed savings working from home was supposed to provide.
6. Increased grocery costs
Many telecommuters expect their food budgets to go down; after all there will be no more working lunches at local restaurants. Even so, many new at-home workers have actually seen an increase in their grocery bills as they stock their pantry with healthy, and not-so-healthy snacks. Working at home may also mean that leftovers get used up more quickly, further increasing the cost of keeping food on the table.
7. Social activities
When you work face to face in an office, social interaction is built into the equation, but when the office comes home isolation can set in pretty quickly. As a result, many telecommuters find themselves spending more, not less, on social activities, including impromptu lunches with their fellow home-based workers and weekend getaway with their friends.
8. Startup costs
Getting a home office up and running is not any easy, or an inexpensive, thing to do. You may not have much time to get the desk, chair and bookcases you need to get started, and you might end up spending more as a result. Even if you are lucky enough to have some of the components already, you will certainly have to make additional purchases as your home office comes together.
It is easy to think of telecommuting as a win for employee and employer alike, and the benefits of working from home have long been touted by workers and the companies that employ them. But there is an expensive dark side to working from home, one that every would-be telecommuter should be aware of. The eight hidden costs of working from home should not be discounted, and it is important for all home-based workers to budget accordingly.
Our representatives are waiting to help you Mon - Fri 7:00 am to 6:00 pm CST
Sat 10:00 am to 3:00 pm CST