The WFH vs. return-to-office debate has been raging for months now with little give from either side. Yet it may not be the office remote workers dread, but everything else. Namely:
- Spending money
- Getting there
It adds up
Employees say they’re spending up to $45 more per day they go into the office, per Insider. Consider:
- Office clothes: Refreshing a business-casual wardrobe costs more than wearing your favorite sweats all day.
- Coffee and lunch: You can prep ahead — supposing you have time or don’t feel pressured to join co-workers for meals, coffee, or happy hours.
- Child care, which can eat up 8%-19.3% of a family’s median income per child, per the US Department of Labor.
- Commuting: Gas, car maintenance, public transit fare, etc.
Speaking of commuting…
… It’s a serious gripe. Most workers don’t get paid for their commute and it can be pretty stressful.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Farhad Manjoo noted that numerous surveys have found commuting to be the biggest return-to-office pain point.
Americans yet to return to their daily commutes are saving 60m hours per day collectively, which they spend on fulfilling tasks while experiencing record-high job satisfaction.
That’s also fewer cars on the road — a positive for traffic and the environment.
Bottom line: We may need to rethink the way offices are set up if bosses want people back in them. Of course, that would take an overhaul of some pretty big systems and infrastructure — roads, public transit, child care — so, uh… good luck, bosses.
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