The Different Effects of Working from Home

working beside a window

The pandemic has opened the possibility that permanently working from home is viable. Even before it happened, companies and employees were already, to some extent, utilizing remote working, but COVID–19 has hastened the need to make it a reality for almost all staff. If you are in the service or hospitality industry, working from home doesn’t work for you, but many industries, such as legal, marketing, tech, and teaching, can be done remotely.

Even if the need to work from home was due to one of the worst reasons, many employees might have secretly welcomed the opportunity to be at home while working. There is a saving on time and money on travel and no need to dress for the office. However, working from home has proved to be more expensive for many employees.

Electricity

Those energy bills begin to rise, and all of a sudden, you start thinking that residential solar energy may be a good idea after all. According to The Mercury News, workers working from home are spending $121 extra on utilities a month. Though the article does not break down which ones are responsible, it’s not unreasonable to think that a large part of the rise is down to extra electricity use.

With you working on your desktop or laptop most of the day, and the kids possibly schooling online, it’s not surprising energy bills are up. Summer doesn’t make it easier with some areas requiring you to use the air conditioner more than you’d want to.

If you do like working at home and are thinking of making it your norm, you’ll have to get the energy bills under control. Solar is a solution, and changing your electrical applications to energy-efficient ones will make a difference. The initial outlay may indeed be steep, but if you are going to switch to permanently working from home, it might be worth it.

Groceries

holding grocery shopping bag with healthy vegetarian raw food

Yes, during any lockdown, people don’t go to the restaurant or coffee shops during their lunch break or for leisure after work. But according to the same article in The Mercury News, spending on groceries is up around $180. Other studies have the figure at closer to $150; either way, it does seem people are spending more. There are many ideas online as to why people are spending more, but some of the more plausible reasons are:

  • People are keeping their stocks full in case of rationing.
  • People are ordering food deliveries much more.
  • People may not have eaten well at work, and being at home makes them feel more relaxed and hungrier.
  • People want to cook better meals and are buying costlier ingredients.

Another reason people are spending more might be because food provides comfort. In unprecedented and challenging times, people may be turning to food for comfort. With so many outdoor venues closed or operating under strict and limited conditions, food is one way you can still enjoy yourself. Those with children may also be using food as a way to comfort or distract the kids.

Working from home was initially considered a temporary measure, and people may have been prepared to spend a little more, given the emergency. Remote working may lessen once some form of normality returns, and we all start going back to the office. However, if working from home does become the new norm for a large part of the workforce, we could find ourselves having to reassess the benefits of remote working.

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