The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional way we work. Workers tend to go to the office, sit down at their desk, and start working. However, with the pandemic causing office closures, the remote way of working has become a new normal. Many companies are taking the remote working approach by transitioning to fully operational work from home platforms. While it has its benefits, remote working also has its challenges, one of which is the associated costs. In this long-form blog post, we will discuss the various costs associated with working remotely, how to manage them, and how to remain productive while working from home.
Costs of Remote Working
One of the most significant costs associated with remote working is equipment. Many remote workers require a desktop computer or laptop to perform their work remotely. Also, remote workers may require other specialized equipment such as web cameras, headsets, and microphones. While some employers may provide their employees with some of this equipment or a stipend toward purchasing the equipment, in many cases, employees have to buy their own equipment. These expenses may add up quickly and can significantly affect the worker’s wellbeing.
Another significant expense related to remote work is the cost of internet service. Many remote workers require broadband internet access to perform their job functions efficiently. While many households have an internet connection that can provide basic browsing capability and emailing, working from home may necessitate a higher-speed or more reliable connection. Employees may have to upgrade their internet package or purchase a faster router or network extender to ensure reliability when working from home. These extra expenses can be expensive and may put a strain on workers who are solely working from home.
Working from home can also increase utility bills. As a remote worker spends more time at home, utility bills may increase due to higher consumption of electricity, water, and other resources. The extra consumption of these resources can soon affect remote workers’ financial status and leave many workers feeling discouraged or financially burdened.
Remote workers who do not have a dedicated workspace in their home may need to create one. This might require purchasing a desk, chair, and other office supplies, which can significantly affect one’s financial stability. Working from the comfort of your bed or sofa will not be satisfactory when you require a dedicated workspace for remote work. Purchasing furniture to create a workspace may also be expensive and may add to your total expenses.
Managing the Costs
Negotiate with Employers
Some employers offer a remote allowance to cover expenses like equipment, internet access, and utility bills for remote workers. Speak with your employer to see if they provide these benefits. If not, consider negotiating for them. Also, provide a list of expenses to your employer and see if they can assist in covering some of the costs related to remote work.
Choose the Right Internet Package
Research the options available and choose the internet package that meets your needs. Consider the number of people using the internet at the same time and the type of work you are doing. For instance, if you’re only sending a few emails and opening low-resolution documents from your employer, you’re unlikely to need high-speed internet. If you’re a graphic designer or developer, you will require high-speed internet to perform your job. Take into consideration these factors when choosing an internet package.
Reduce Utility Costs
To reduce utility bills, consider turning off unnecessary lights, setting the thermostat at an appropriate temperature, and reducing water consumption. Many remote workers can work with natural light, and by doing so, they can help save on energy costs during the day. Ensure that all electronic devices are switched off and unplugged when not in use to conserve energy.
When you are purchasing equipment or office supplies, look for sales and discounts. Also, consider buying used or refurbished items, which may be significantly cheaper than new ones. Many online retailers such as Amazon and eBay offer a variety of options for office equipment, so it’s always practical to research various options before purchasing.
If you cannot create a dedicated workspace in your home or do not have a comfortable work environment, consider renting a co-working space or serviced office. Co-working spaces are an excellent way to save money and still have access to a professional workspace.
Establish a Routine
Establish a routine for your workday and stick to it. This habit will help you stay accountable and ensure you are setting aside time to get your work done. Set times to start and end your workday and be consistent from day to day.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
Creating a dedicated workspace helps maintain focus and signals to others that you are working. Try to create a workspace that is comfortable, well-lit, and conducive to productivity. Avoid lounging on the couch or working in bed, as these locations are not ideal for working efficiently.
Taking regular breaks can help boost productivity. Schedule regular breaks throughout the day to refresh your mind and increase focus. Walk around your house or apartment, stretch, or do some exercises to loosen up your muscles. Taking breaks allows you to regroup your thoughts and improve your focus.
Working remotely can be isolating. It’s important to stay connected with colleagues and friends. Schedule regular check-ins with colleagues and consider joining online communities related to your work. This habit will help you stay motivated, inspired and enable you to learn something new.
Working from home can be a significant shift for many people, and time management is crucial. Prioritize tasks and ensure that you set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Work on urgent tasks first and ensure that deadlines are met. Developing excellent time management skills can help you become more productive and ensure that you perform your work efficiently.
Remote working has many advantages, including allowing for flexible work hours, reducing commuting costs, and allowing for better work-life balance. However, there are also significant costs associated with working remotely that employees and their employers need to consider. Managing the costs associated with working remotely involves negotiating with employers, choosing the right internet package, reducing utility costs, shopping smartly, and considering renting a workspace. Staying productive while working remotely involves maintaining a regular schedule, creating a dedicated workspace, taking breaks, staying connected, and practicing excellent time management skills. By managing costs and staying productive, remote work can be an affordable and productive option for employees, employers, and companies.