It Costs More to Work from Home

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Chances are, if you've been working remotely during the pandemic, you weren't given much choice in the matter. The way we clock in has changed dramatically since COVID made offices largely unsafe, and many of us have had to adjust to working from home in a big way. There's a lot to love about the flexibility and comfort of remote work, but for employees, cost isn't necessarily one of them.


A new, early-stage paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research has some dispiriting news for struggling workers: We really do spend more cash on our work setup when we're working from home. This spans everything from renting extra space (or upgrading an apartment or home) to supplying your own standing desk to spending more on electricity and other utilities. Even more frustrating, it's far from the norm for employers to compensate those costs, leaving workers to shoulder the burden that a building manager or corporation normally would.

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With increased vaccine distribution on the horizon, the end may be in sight for pandemic conditions in the United States. COVID has radically altered how we think about office jobs, though, from the need for flexibility to the way salaries are determined. One thing remains consistent across most surveys, which is that Americans don't want to revert to the way things used to be. That means a conversation about increased pay or home office subsidies, at the very least. If individuals are going to support a system, that system would do well to help the individual out.