There’s no doubt that working from home has its perks. No commute, more flexible hours, and being able to work in your pyjamas or flip-flops are all major draws. But there are also some hidden costs of working from home to consider before you make the switch.
From the direct costs of setting up a home office to the impact on your personal relationships, here’s what you need to know about the hidden costs of working from home.
The dream of working from home in Spain
The dream of working from home (WFH) is a strong one. For many people, it conjures up images of increased productivity, better work/life balance, and more time spent with family and friends. And while there are certainly great benefits to working from home, there are also hidden costs that need to be considered before making the switch.
One of the biggest hidden costs of WFH is the impact it can have on your accommodation. If you’re used to your employer providing your office space, you’ll now need to factor in the cost of renting or buying a suitable home office. This can be a significant expense, particularly if you live in an expensive city. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure that your home office is set up in a way that promotes productivity and minimises distractions. This means investing in things like a comfortable chair, a good desk, and adequate lighting.
Another hidden cost of WFH is utilities. When you’re working in an office, your employer usually covers the cost of things like electricity and broadband. But when you’re working from home, those costs can squarely on your shoulders. This can add up quickly, particularly if you live in an area with high utility rates, and never more so than today.
There are also psychological costs associated with WFH that need to be considered. One of the biggest challenges can be setting and maintaining boundaries between work and life. It can be all too easy to start working longer hours when you’re not leaving the house to commute or attend meetings. This can lead to burnout and decreased productivity over time. Additionally, WFH can isolation from colleagues and social interaction which can take a toll on your mental health.
So while there are certainly some advantages to working from home, there are also hidden costs that need to be taken into account before making the switch. Weighing these pros and cons carefully will help you decide if WFH is right for you, and negotiate the right deal if you choose to go ahead.
The direct costs of working from home in Spain
When you work from home (WFH), there are costs that you may not have considered. The first is the cost of space. If you don’t have a dedicated home office, you may need to set up a workspace in your living room, bedroom, or kitchen. This can mean buying additional furniture, like a desk and chair, and making sure you have enough storage for all your work materials.
The second cost is equipment. If you don’t already have a laptop or computer that you can use for work, you’ll need to purchase one. And if you want to be able to print documents or scan/fax them, you’ll need to invest in a printer and scanner. All of this equipment can add up quickly.
If you have an employer who provides these tool then great, but you will also need to give some thought to securing and insuring them – is your employer’s laptop covered by your current home policy? How secure are your entry points? If anything requires an upgrade, it may be expensive.
The third cost is utilities. When you WFH, you may find yourself using more electricity, gas, and water than usual, if your home was typically empty for the day before that. Be sure to factor these increased costs into your budget, especially during the global energy crunch.
Working from home: the cost on your boundaries.
Working from home can have an impact on boundaries, both personal and professional. When working from home, it can be difficult to separate work life from home life. This can lead to problems with work/life balance. It is important to set boundaries and make sure that you are taking time for yourself.
It can also be difficult to maintain healthy relationships when working from home. When you are always available, it can be hard to say no to work demands. This can lead to burnout and resentment. It is important to set boundaries with your employer and communicate your needs.
If you have children, working from home can also be a challenge. It can be difficult to find child care, and working from home can make it hard to focus on work. You may need to get creative with your child care arrangements or find a place where you can focus on work during specific hours.
All of this is resolvable, but it takes attention and effort. I have written a whole book about boundaries when you work from home it if you want to go deeper, but the main thing is, you need to be aware and factor it all in.
Remember that working from home or working from the office need not be a binary choice, and you can encourage your employer to consider hybrid possibilities, or using a third space like a coworking if you have something nearby that suits.
Be sure to negotiate a fair deal when you work from home
When negotiating working from home arrangements with your employer, it is important to keep the hidden costs in mind. By being aware of the potential costs, you can ensure that you get a fair deal from your employer, one which compares directly with those of your colleagues who are in the office. Sure, they have their commute and coffees to consider, but don’t automatically assume that WFH will save you money!
Working from home has a number of hidden costs that can add up, including the cost of space, equipment, and utilities. If you are renting your place, you may be paying for an extra room every month, just to have a place to work – compare the same rentals with one fewer bedrooms, as a point of comparison. These costs can be significant, so it is important to factor them into your budget when negotiating working from home arrangements with your employer.
In addition to the financial costs of working from home, there are also the psychological costs to consider. Working from home can have an impact on personal and professional boundaries, work/life balance, and relationships. It is important to be aware of these potential costs and to set boundaries to avoid burnout.
By being aware of the potential hidden costs of working from home, you can ensure that you get a fair deal from your employer.
And once you sort it out, believe me you will love it!