When thinking about the cost benefits and detriments of working at home instead of in an office with a manager and other employees, the first thing that comes to mind is the money saved on not having to commute to work.
There is certainly something to be said for the time (possibly up to two hours in traffic) saved, as well as money on gas or public transportation saved by working from a home office. A certain efficiency can be found in working at home that cannot be achieved elsewhere.
On the other hand, though, working from home can be dangerous to an individuals bank account for several unexpected reasons. These unanticipated costs can easily be preempted and cut down.
Below are some helpful ideas on how to reduce spending and to live more affordably while working from home.
1. All Day Grazing
One of the biggest pitfalls of individuals working from a home office is that they have all their food and beverages within arms reach. They are also not being closely monitored, so running out quickly to grab a coffee or fast food is simple.
Working in an office means some type of routine, whether it means packing a lunch from home or eating at the same lunch place during designated lunch breaks every day. Eating at home, however, is a complete free-for-all. Employees who work at home can quickly fall subject to constantly having a snack in their hand, prompting them to quickly run out of food and buy more. At that point, they might then begin to plan for this “all day grazing” and start to purchase more snack foods to munch on throughout the day.
This ultimately leads to more and more spending on unnecessary snack foods to get through the workday. One way to cut down on this is to continue to keep a designated lunch hour during the day. This way, the temptation may arise to grab a snack from the kitchen, but the snacks will not be touched until the designated lunch hour. This may be difficult to commit to at first, but over time it will get easier and easier to adhere to a typical work-day routine despite the lack of an overseer or manager on site.
2. Utility Cost
Despite the decrease in transportation costs to commute to and from work, there must now be added the cost of heating or cooling a home throughout the day. As the home is occupied constantly, rather than dormant during the work day, heat and cooling costs can rise, as can electricity. Using technology all day for work including the computer, phone, lights, and possibly a printer or scanner can cause the electricity bill to skyrocket.
There are a few simple ways to cut down on these costs. The first is to utilize blankets and dress for cold weather to cut down on the heating bill. Brewing a cup of warm tea can be a great way to stay warm without blasting the heat.
This is the same with the air conditioning. Opening a window to let a little breeze through, or utilizing a fan can save an incredible amount of money on the air conditioning bill. Preparing cold beverages like lemonade or iced tea can also help to stay cool in the hot weather.
One way to save money on electricity is to, whenever possible, charge up devices in a public place like a library or coffee shop. Electricity used to light the house can also be lessened to save money by setting up the work area in a room with a lot of natural light. If such a room is not available, focusing the light so that fewer switches have to be on to light up the space is an efficient way to significantly decrease the amount of money spent on an electricity bill.
One benefit that employees who work in an office receive is the access to technology and the ability to speak in person with coworkers. When working from home, it is sometimes necessary (in order to share information or speak with coworkers or clients) to meet in person.
In order to save on transportation and wardrobe costs, utilizing free programs like Google Docs, Drop Box, and Skype can increase and streamline communication so that conversations can be had in the most efficient, effective way possible. No time or money is wasted on a commute, and information can be delivered quickly and efficiently.
Sometimes more expensive programs can also cut costs over time on communication and can convey a level of professionalism beyond what these free programs do. For work-from-home employees or those working on startups, they should perhaps consider how a personal loan could help them afford systems that may cost a lot up front, but which will save them money over time. Reading some reviews, like an Avant personal loans review can assist at-home employees and self-employed individuals in finding the right loan to help them spruce up their home office.