Remote work = extra bills. What expenses should my employer pay if I work from home?
Written by: Hrishikesh Pardeshi, Founder at Flexiple, buildd & Remote Tools.
Last updated: Jan 19, 2023
Have you wondered 'What expenses should my employer pay if I work from home?' If yes, then do check out the below argument on who should pay for extra bills incurred while working remotely.
All I need to work remotely is a laptop and a working internet connection!
Now that may sound like an exaggeration, particularly if you are working long-term for a remote company. The truth is far more complex.
Today though, I want to touch upon only the extra housing costs that remote workers incur and are assumed to pay for on their own.
Remote workers spend more on rent & housing costs
I recently came across this interesting research paper which examines the cost of remote working. The primary argument is that the housing choices & needs for remote workers differ significantly from non-remote workers.
How so? The paper analyses data from 2013 to 2017 and concludes that remote households are 5-7% more spacious compared to non-remote households.
Why? Because remote workers need more space to set up a proper home office/workspace.
Naturally, need for more space ⟹ increased housing costs.
How much more do remote workers spend? On average, 7% more of their income on housing compared to their counterparts who commute to office!
Where does the problem lie and what expenses should my employer pay if I work from home?
Now the primary assumption in the paper is that remote workers still live in the same area/city where their in-office counterparts stay. The problem drastically reduces if remote workers relocate to less expensive areas, which in fact is supposed to be an advantage of remote working.
But the core problem lies with hybrid becoming the norm & future of work. When you expect your employees to travel to office few days a week & work remotely for the rest, you are restricting people to stay back where they are. In turn, this means they have to look for more spacious homes in the same expensive area.
Companies are still saving on office space rent but it is the employees who have to pay extra for the housing costs.
Allowing to work from anywhere is the best solution
The moment companies don't restrict relocation for employees, the cost savings for both companies & employees increases drastically. However, if companies are adamant on only embracing hybrid remote & restricting employees to staying within a certain distance of an allocated office (Google hinted at this few months back), companies must also provide for the additional housing cost.