Benefits of working from home

Even before NZ entered Alert Level 4 as part of its response to combating covid-19, the organisation I work for starting mobilising employees to be able to work from home. Today was my second full day of working from home and already it’s starting to show the benefits.

The vast majority of what we spend on petrol is due to my commute. From the town we live in I commute about 20-25km each way to a nearby city for my job. So I drive about 50km a day. That means the majority of our $40 weekly petrol cost goes toward my commute (and it’s only that low because our car is a hybrid). So working from home during the lockdown is going to save us close to $80 a fortnight! Not small change. Technically it’s a bit lower than that as I’ve started carpooling recently.

But it doesn’t end there. No driving means no wear and tear on the car, so fewer maintenance costs. Even our WoF has been postponed due to the lockdown! Ultimately, if I actually worked from home permanently, it would really be debatable whether we even need to own a car. The cost of getting groceries delivered and taking the occasional taxi or bus as needed would be cheaper than paying for the regular servicing, registration, WoFs, parking, petrol, insurance and depreciation that we experience as vehicle owners. I’ve gone into detail about car costs here.

Of course it’s not just the monetary impact of working from home that we’re getting to enjoy. I’ve gained an hour a day with my family that I used to spend commuting. Additionally, I can spend my lunch, morning and afternoon breaks with my family, which is another hour all up. So that’s two hours a day with Mrs R2A and the kids that I didn’t used to have! A real blessing.

Of course working from home I’m not expected to be wearing a collared shirt, even for Skype meetings. If this were a permanent arrangement I’d be saving money on work clothes. But as it’s just temporary I’ll have to stick to enjoying the savings from having less washing to do as I don’t have to throw extra clothes in the wash when I get home from work.

There are some extra costs incurred obviously as we will use a tad more electricity with me working from home. No impact on internet as we’re already on an unlimited plan. If I were working from home on an ongoing basis I expect I’d receive some kind of compensation for this from my employer (it may even prove profitable), but as things are I’ll just have to enjoy the fact that I’m already coming out ahead due to transport costs.

Ultimately, as a team leader, it’s harder to do my job working from home. It’s easier for me to manage my team face-to-face and build rapport that way. However, there are admin tasks I have to do that I could probably do more effectively if I had a day a week working from home on a permanent basis in order to limit interruptions.

Obviously there are other financial benefits of the lockdown that aren’t related to working from home, such as the fact we can’t dine out or buy takeaways, go to the movies or do anything that costs money really! And I’m blessed to have a job where I’ll get paid even after we run out of work to do. Even our church has moved online so we don’t have to spend money on petrol on Sundays either for the time being.

How has the lockdown impacted your finances? Are you seeing any benefits?

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