Since the peak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, millions of Americans have worked remotely to prevent the spread of the virus. As organizations and employers actively adjust to the ever changing restrictions, they are evaluating the advantages and disadvantages that impact their customers, employees, and their bottom line. Even as business resumes, many organizations are beginning to reopen their doors, but some are still working remotely and even face the potential of long-term remote work. For this reason, it’s important to understand some of the hidden costs of working remotely, as well as some tips to save on expenses.
- Computers and Laptops. Today, more than ever, we rely on technology to complete our daily work, conduct effective meetings, and stay connected with teams.
Tip: Depending on your situation, you may be provided with a computer or laptop by your employer, and in this case, it’s important to understand your organizations policies for technology, equipment, and security. Your IT team will likely require you to complete regular system and software updates to ensure the latest updates are installed. Should you be required to use your own computer or laptop, be sure to install the latest antivirus software and complete any system or software updates as needed.
- High-Speed Internet. If your internet is too slow, it can impact your productivity and ability to quickly access web-based programs. Upgrading your internet speed can be costly, but may be necessary, especially if you have family members who are connected at the same time.
Tip: Consider buying your own router or modem to avoid paying a rental fee every month. A purchase of your current or latest compatible modem could pay for itself in less than three months.*
- Work Supplies. Many companies provide remote workers with basic supplies, such as: notebooks, sticky notes, binders, paperclips, etc.; however, it may be necessary for you to purchase a desk, chair, or printer to ensure you have a proper workspace environment.
Tip: Shop a nearby consignment or resale store to find gently used items. To print and make copies, visit your local office supplies store or library. Remember to keep an eye on the per-page and full-color costs as these add up quickly.
- Utilities and Shared Office Spaces. If you work remotely from your home, you can expect your utility bills to increase as you are using more electricity, gas, and water.
Tip: With your employer’s permission, you can find a shared office space to use a few times a week to cut costs. On days you work from home, be mindful of what’s on and turn off any unused appliances to help you reduce costs.
- Meals. It’s easy to assume you’ll eat out less when you work remotely because you’ll have access to a fully stocked kitchen. The key is keeping your kitchen fully stocked.
Tip: Stick to a budget and plan your meals and snacks for the week so you don’t resort to overindulging or ordering takeout.
Working remotely has its perks, yet there are aspects to be aware of before you make the switch. It’s important to evaluate all the tools and resources to be productive and stay within a healthy budget.
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*U.S. News 4 Strategies to Lower Your Internet Bill