Why Your Hybrid Work Arrangement Could End Up Costing You

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

Key points

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

Before the start of the pandemic, 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 COVID-19 case numbers have dropped and guidelines have changed in an effort to help the public coexist with the virus rather than constantly flee from it, many businesses are bringing workers back into the office. But many 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 their colleagues, enjoy face-to-face time with their bosses, and take a break from staring at the same walls day in and day out.

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

But while you may think hybrid work is a great solution, it’s important to understand how you pay for transportation costs.

Are you managing your travel costs the right way?

Commuting is a big expense for workers, especially these days with higher gas prices. But up to a point, hybrid work arrangements could result in less profitable travel.

Let’s imagine you take a train to go to work. A monthly pass can cost $200, while a daily round trip ticket can cost $20. In that case, you’re paying a lot more on a daily basis by virtue of being a hybrid.

The same could apply if you have to pay for parking. If a monthly spot costs $300 but it also costs $30 a day to park on a one-time basis, you might spend more on a daily basis with a hybrid setup.

That’s why it’s important to run those numbers as you adjust to your hybrid routine. In some cases, it might make sense to buy a monthly transit or parking pass, even if you don’t go to the office every day.

Let’s go back to our first example. Let’s say 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 that case, you’re considering spending $160 on transit, which is less than the $200 a monthly rail pass might cost. But if your hybrid arrangement has you running three days a week, or 12 times a month, then a $200 monthly pass will make more sense than paying the $240 daily fee.

run those numbers

A hybrid work arrangement might be the ideal setup for you, but you’ll want to make sure you run the numbers and find a way to spend as little as possible on your trip. By the way, the same is true if you drive to work every day. With gas prices so high, carpooling is worth looking into if doing so means spending less than a credit card bill at the pump. That might mean coordinating your hybrid schedule to match your colleagues’, but it’s worth switching if it saves you some money.

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