The Financial Benefits of Working Remotely (for Companies and Employees)
Fuel. Wear and tear on your vehicle. Astronomical monthly parking fees (shout out to San Francisco). Endless subway fares. The cost of new wardrobes. The list goes on, and on, and on.
The costs associated with doing business the way it has always been done, by physically relocating yourself to be near an office, and then doing whatever it takes to visit said office on a daily basis, are immense.
These costs are frequently seen as unavoidable by employees and employers alike, but in truth, both of those sects can reap massive financial benefits by embracing the connectivity modern society has afforded us.
If you’re still in need of a job that’s flexible enough to allow for remote working, check out this massive list of the 25 Best Sites for Finding Remote Jobs, that we’ve compiled.
As a manager or business owner, the line of thinking goes a bit like this: “We’re leasing this building, so we might as well put people in it.” Is that really the most efficient way to run a business? Isn’t it time we considered the costs of moving millions of people in and out of arbitrary pieces of real estate each day?
I’ve been fortunate to have worked remotely, or at least partially so, for nearly a decade. I’ve done my time in a conventional cubical, and I’ve managed teams of 30 from tiny rocks scattered about the South Pacific.
I’ve lived in both universes, and I can confidently say that the remote working world is far more preferred. I penned Living The Remote Dream to detail my process of transitioning to a remote position, but I wanted to focus this post on one benefit of this lifestyle in particular: the impact on your wallet.
1. Commute Savings.
For those camped out in suburbia, the daily slog to the office is not only taxing on the soul, but equally taxing on one’s budget. If you drive yourself to work, you’re adding miles to your car every single day, in turn decreasing its value, slowly but surely. You’re spending money on fuel, paying more for auto insurance. If your significant other has a job, you’re probably putting yourself in a position where you have to own and maintain more than one vehicle.
Each case is different, but ditching that daily commute alone can save road commuters well over $100 monthly. It doesn’t take the world’s greatest mathematician to figure out that an extra $100 socked away into a 401(k) or investment account each month would go a long way to getting you closer to retirement.
For city dwellers, the savings can add up even more. If you’re able to ditch car ownership altogether and scale back on what you’re paying to your local metro, you could easily reclaim a few hundred dollars each month.
2. The Time Value of Money.
We’ve all heard it, either in real conversations or in works of cinema, “time is money.” This is particularly true when you start to add up the time one loses commuting. The American Community Survey found that the average full-time American worker spends around 26 minutes commuting each way to work. If you spend an hour each day traveling to and from work, that’s five hours per week. Or, 260 hours per year. If you’re really looking to make your stomach turn, think of it as squandering a whopping 32.5 days — yes, days — of your year.
One of the best ways to increase your income is to start a side business. Whether that’s trying your hand at freelance writing, photography, set design, catering, floral arrangements, or whatever else fits your passion, one very valuable resource is absolutely vital to getting it going and keeping it up: time.
Believe it or not, 5 hours per week is plenty to start a small side business. In fact, most commuters will reclaim even more than 5 hours per week by ditching their daily haul. Even if you value your time at the nation’s minimum wage, that’s $36 or so that should be yours each week. If you start your own side project, you can earn even more.
Check this resource out if you want some ideas on great side businesses you can start while keeping your day job.
3. Retirement Acceleration.
You may love what you do and the people you work with, but let’s get real with one another: you probably don’t want to work for the rest of your life.
The best way to gain control of your financial future is to start yourself on a slow and steady march to financial independence. Planning for a windfall is a fool’s errand, but socking away small amounts now can mean years of bonus retirement time later in life.
Even at a conservative savings rate of 6 percent, saving an extra $1,000 annually in a 401(k) would net you over $64,000 in 30 years. Depending on your lifestyle, that could enable you to free yourself from the workplace between a couple of years earlier than if you didn’t save that money.
To boot, that savings can grow further if you start a side project with your newfound time, and create additional cash flow along the way.
4. Relocation and Recruitment Savings.
While the financial benefits of working remotely are numerous for the employee, let’s not overlook the benefits for the employer. By enabling a fully remote workforce – a workforce that relies on tools such as Slack, Skype, phones, and email to stay in touch and push projects to completion – an employer can save tens of thousands of dollars annually.
Global Workplace Analytics even found that over 1 in 3 employees it surveyed would choose the ability to telecommute over getting a raise. Granted, not every business is engineered to operate with a distributed workforce, but for many in the design, marketing, and content sectors, there’s no reason not to try.
Ditching that expensive office in New York City? Thousands back in the bank each month, ready and waiting to be reinvested in hiring more people or scaling your business. Doing away with cross-country relocation packages? Thousands in overhead that you won’t have to spend. Nixing the location requirement on your job listings? Untold savings from being able to hire folks with lower costs of living, and immediate ROI from having them onboard and in the (virtual) office from the very first day.
Working remotely isn’t only about saving money and bringing home additional funds each month, but for those looking for a way to broach the topic with their employer, it’s great to have these figures at the ready.
For employers looking to give more to their employees without making yet another dent in the bottom line, consider the option for remote work. You’ll save, the employee gains, and everyone shows up to work happier and more engaged.
Check out my upcoming class, Work Remotely: Thrive in a Job from Home right here on CreativeLive.
How to Persuade Your Boss to Let You Work Remotely
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