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These are the hidden costs and benefits of working from home

Posted at 6:59 AM, Sep 09, 2021

(WXYZ) — While the convenience of working from home is clear, the cost may be hidden.

Kirk Cassidy is a financial educator at the Retirement Education Foundation. He says when you consider working from home, understand you'll see added personal expenses.

"The cost of setting up a home office to do it properly and efficiently is expensive," he said.

A survey by flexjobs.com finds that 90% of workers say they spend their own money on their home offices.

Additionally, your utilities will go up, too. You're using electricity, water and power to heat and cool your home. If your bosses aren't paying, you are.

A study by Tufts University says business energy use dropped by 15%, while residential energy use rose 10% with an average cost as much as $600 a year.

But the big expense may be less face time with the bosses. It's a social cost that could add up to big money.

So, is working from home worth it?

Damon Tooles said he has more flexibility with two young children, and he's saving time it takes to get to work. That's time he didn't spend commuting or on gas.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average time Americans spent commuting fell from an hour and 12 minutes a day in 2019 to just 47 minutes in 2020, fueled by a near doubling in the number of Americans working from home.

So what are we doing with this newly freed time? We're relaxing.

Average time spent in leisure and sports activity jumped 32 minutes a day in 2020. Leisure time increased by an average of 37 minutes for men and 27 minutes from women.

And there's another way to make the most of working from home; personal balance sheets and savings/checking accounts are the highest they've ever been right now.

Cassidy says to add up the costs and benefits of working from home and invest your savings. That way, you come out ahead now and in the future.