Why Your Hybrid Work Arrangement Could End Up Costing You

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Here’s a sneaky side effect of hybrid labor you should know about.


Key points

  • In the wake of the pandemic, many people are now working part-time in offices.
  • These hybrid arrangements can be convenient, but they can also be expensive.

Before the pandemic started, working from home was something that many people couldn’t do. But once the outbreak hit, many companies were forced to close their offices and allow workers to do their jobs remotely.

Now that the number of COVID-19 cases is down and guidelines have changed in an effort to help the public coexist with the virus rather than constantly flee from it, many companies are bringing workers back to the office. But many are more flexible in this regard, allowing workers to do their jobs on a hybrid schedule – a schedule that involves working from home and a few days of in-person work.

Hybrid arrangements can be good for employees from a work-life balance perspective. Being in the office allows workers to interact with their colleagues, spend time with their bosses, and take a break from looking at the same walls day after day.

Meanwhile, commuting to work from home for part of the week makes it easier for workers to maintain their homes. And for those with pets or children, that could mean spending less on paid care.

But while you may think hybrid work is a great option, it’s important to be clear about how you’re paying for travel expenses.

Are you properly managing your travel expenses?

Travel is a big expense for workers, especially these days when gas prices are higher. But to some extent, hybrid work arrangements could lead to less profitable travel.

Imagine that you take a train to get to work. A monthly pass can cost $200, while a daily return ticket can cost $20. In this case, you pay a lot more on a daily basis because you are a hybrid.

The same may apply if you have to pay for parking. If a monthly spot costs $300 but it also costs $30 a day to park all at once, you could be spending more daily under a hybrid setup.

That’s why it’s important to run these numbers as you settle into your hybrid routine. In some cases, it may make sense to purchase a monthly transit or parking pass, even if you don’t come into the office every day.

Let’s go back to our first example. Suppose you plan to go to the office two days a week at a cost of $20 per day for a total of eight days per month. In this case, you’re looking at spending $160 on public transit, which is less than the $200 a monthly train pass might cost. But if your hybrid arrangement lets you go three days a week or 12 times a month, a $200 monthly pass will still make more sense than paying the daily rate, which will cost you $240.

Run these numbers

A hybrid work plan might be the perfect setup for you, but you’ll want to make sure you manage the numbers and find a way to spend as little as possible on your travels. Incidentally, the same applies if you drive to work every day. With gas prices being so high, it’s worth considering carpooling if it means saving less money on your credit card at the pump. This might mean coordinating your hybrid schedule to match those of your colleagues, but it’s worth mixing it up if it saves you money.

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