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The Cost of Going Back to the Office

2022 was the year of return to office and this year it seems like every company is cracking down on their in office policy. Every day I speak to clients or friends who have now all entered that back to office slump. Let’s face it, we got used to life at home. We liked being able to do a load of laundry during the day, taking the dog for a walk, or making a real meal that wasn’t a Lean Cuisine.

But returning to office is more than just a change in routine. It’s expensive.  

Now between new clothes to wear to the office, the cost of gas or a commuter pass, and of course the cup of Starbucks we need to have to survive those coworkers it starts to add up. Oh, and don’t forget the time spent commuting plus the babysitter or daycare to cover the longer work day. Add on some inflation and talks of the impending recession and you have the perfect storm. 

Know that you aren’t alone in these frustrations. Fortune Magazine reported in a September 2022 article that going back to office is costing employees around $50 per day*. Many companies are doing 3-Day in the office policies which means $600 flying out the door each month.  

For those of you that rely on budgets (I know some people are very anti-budget), make sure you are factoring in these added costs. When looking back at last year especially in the early months your spending habits may be skewed if you weren’t going into the office as much.  

One of the other biggest costs is time. I am big advocate for spending your money on services that buy you back more time in your day. Maybe it makes sense to hire a laundry service, have the groceries delivered or maybe you need a full on house manager. You’re probably doing a double take that a financial planner just told you to spend money. I firmly believe that some things are just worth spending the money on. If you could hire someone to do your laundry and that meant you got to spend three more hours each week with your family or doing something you love, wouldn’t you think that’s a worthwhile investment? 

No matter where you are, in the return to the office journey, take a moment to give yourself grace. Just as it was a shock to work from home full time there’s also an adjustment period that comes with “the new normal”. During this time your routines will change, spending habits will fluctuate, but as always, you will come out on the other side better than before. 


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