A day in-office hybrid worker costs about $51 when meals and transportation are accounted for, according to new research from Owl Labs, a video conferencing hardware company. An Owl Labs survey of 2,300 full-time American workers found that the small costs of in-person work total $863 a month, nearly double the $432 a month they find the costs of telecommuting.
Per day, those costs break down to $15.11 for transportation, $14.25 for lunch, $8.46 for breakfast or coffee, and $13.59 for dinner, according to data provided by Owl Labs. luck. Additionally, pet workers spend an average of $16.39 per day on daytime walking and care. And this doesn’t even affect workers who flaunt their new work wardrobe.
Interestingly, all of these costs are slightly cheaper than the costs reported by full-time office workers, which total $45 for meals and transportation. It’s an interesting gap, says Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs. “One reason may be that hybrid workers often buy food because it is not part of their daily routine, and may not benefit from monthly commute cards or parking permits,” he adds.
Either way, these numbers are no surprise: they are complementary to the high rate of inflation in nearly every category, especially gas. In July, food costs alone rose 10.9% year over year – the most since 1979 – and one cup of coffee now costs about $5. As a result of inflation, according to a recent GoBankingRates survey, more than half of Americans are concerned about unaffordable monthly expenses and living costs.
Often lost in the remote work versus in-person debate is the fact that either party’s salaries are likely to keep pace with the current economy, which has made increases moot. In addition, less than a third of Americans have received a cost-of-living adjustment.
Home may not be better
While the thought of paying to go to work sounds silly, working from home may not provide much comfort either. In the first four months of this year, Americans spent about $23 on electric and gas bills compared to 2019, according to data provided to luck From payments company Doxo. And don’t forget the internet costs – $120 a month on average this year – which many companies don’t cover.
Of course, whether working from home or the office is more cost-effective depends on the situation as well. Office workers can reasonably go to work every morning and use the coffee machine there, count on a good old lunch, or have dinner when they get home. And remote workers who live alone may not use as much electricity or gas as shared homes, which leads to lower cost bills.
In both cases, only existing costs are accrued. Perhaps the corporate takeaway is that it is now more necessary than ever to pay workers a fair wage and allow them to lead the way when it comes to deciding where to work. As expected, most people choose to work from home, at least for a while.
“Companies that want to bring workers back to their desks this fall may try to offer stipend, free lunch or pre-tax travel benefits to help offset these in-office costs,” Weishaupt says.
And maybe they should let the dogs come to work, too.