Here’s a sneaky side effect of hybrid work you should know about.
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- In the wake of the pandemic, many people are now working from offices on a part-time basis.
- These hybrid arrangements may be convenient, but they can also be costly.
Before the start of the pandemic, working from home was something many people didn’t get to do. But once the outbreak hit, many companies were forced to close their offices and allow workers to do their jobs remotely.
Now that COVID-19 case numbers are down and guidelines have shifted in an effort to help the public coexist with the virus rather than constantly run from it, many companies are bringing workers back to the office. But a lot are being more flexible in that regard, allowing workers to do their jobs on a hybrid schedule — one that involves some work from home, and some days of in-person work.
Hybrid arrangements can be a great thing for employees from a work-life balance perspective. Being in the office makes it possible for workers to interact with colleagues, enjoy face time with their bosses, and get a break from staring at the same walls day in, day out.
Meanwhile, getting to work from home for part of the week makes it easier for workers to maintain their households. And for those with pets or kids, it could mean getting to spend less on paid care.
But while you might think that hybrid work is a great solution, it’s important to be savvy about the way you pay for commuting costs.
Are you managing your commuting costs the right way?
Commuting is a big expense for workers — especially these days, now that gas prices are higher. But to some degree, hybrid work arrangements could result in a less cost-effective commute.
Let’s imagine you take a train to work. A monthly pass might cost $200, whereas a daily round-trip ticket might cost $20. In that case, you’re paying a lot more on a daily basis by virtue of being a hybrid.
The same might apply if you have to pay for parking. If a monthly spot costs $300 but it also costs $30 a day to park as a one-time thing, you might spend more on a daily basis under a hybrid setup.
That’s why it’s important to run those numbers as you settle into your hybrid routine. In some cases, it could make sense to buy a monthly transit or parking pass, even if you’re not coming into the office every day.
Let’s go back to our first example. Say you plan to go into the office two days a week at a cost of $20 a day for a total of eight days a month. In that case, you’re looking at spending $160 on transit, which is less than the $200 a monthly train pass might cost. But if your hybrid arrangement has you going in three days a week, or 12 times a month, then a $200 monthly pass will still make more sense than paying the daily rate, which will cost you $240.
Run those numbers
A hybrid work arrangement could be the ideal setup for you, but you’ll want to make sure to run the numbers and find a way to spend as little as possible on your commute. Incidentally, the same holds true if you drive to work every day. With gas prices being so high, it pays to look at carpooling if doing so means running up less of a credit card tab at the pump. That could mean coordinating your hybrid schedule to match that of your colleagues, but it’s worth shuffling if it saves you some money.
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