3 Ways Long-Term Remote Work Might Cost You Money

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  • A lot of people will be working remotely for the long haul in the wake of the pandemic.
  • While you'll save money by not having to commute, you might lose money in other ways, including not getting a promotion.

Not going back to the office? It could impact your finances for the worse.

When the COVID-19 outbreak first erupted in early 2020, many workers were told to pack up their desks and prepare to work remotely for a period of time. Little did we know back then that "a period of time" would, for many people, evolve into a two-year run and counting.

At this point, some companies are finally calling workers back to the office. But many are allowing their employees to work remotely on a long-term basis.

If you're in that boat, you might consider it a good thing. Not having to report to an office could mean getting more flexibility in your schedule and attaining a better work-life balance.

And there's potential savings to be reaped, too. Not commuting means not having to pay for a train pass, a parking spot, or continuous car fill-ups. And given gas prices today, that's significant.

On the other hand, working remotely could cost you money on a long-term basis. Here's how.

1. You may need a larger living space

To thrive in a remote work environment, it generally helps to have a dedicated space you can use for work purposes. Or, to put it another way, it's probably best you not bust out your laptop on your bed and call that your office.

But if you maintain a long-term remote work arrangement, you may feel compelled to stick with a larger living space when downsizing might otherwise be possible. The result? A higher rent or mortgage payment.

2. Your utility costs could soar

When you work out of an office, you don't need to run the heat, air conditioning, or lights all day at home. But if you'll be working remotely on a long-term basis, you could end up spending a lot more money on utility bills.

3. You might lose out on a promotion -- and the chance to boost your earnings

Working remotely does not automatically mean you'll never climb the ranks or get a raise. But if you don't get face time with your manager or team, it could end up stunting your career growth -- especially if you have colleagues who are working from the office while you're still logging in remotely. And if you don't manage to get promoted, you might lose out on the chance to grow your earnings.

Is long-term remote work right for you?

There are certainly opportunities to save money via long-term remote work. On the flipside, that arrangement might actually cost you, so you'll need to weigh the pros against the cons.

Just as importantly, you'll need to make sure remote work is an arrangement you're happy with. Some people thrive on collaboration and in-person interaction. And so you may reach a point where working remotely causes you to feel stifled and isolated. If that's the case, you might consider a hybrid arrangement where you work remotely part of the week and go into the office the rest of the week. It might truly give you the best of both worlds.

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