The financial benefits of reducing or eliminating entirely inner-city offices are clear for businesses. Global Workplace Analysis found that a typical employer will save $11,000 a year per employee that chooses to work remotely for half their working time, with a direct link to shrinking office square footage. Yet, hybrid working also looks set to benefit employees financially. With less time in the office and a changing office culture the savings start to add up, including items as diverse as the yearly Tube ticket, the office wardrobe and the mortgage.
We spend an average £135,000 on commuting in our lifetime
The loss of the daily commute has been the most noticeable change to the work day during the pandemic. According to TotalJobs, we spend an average £135,000 on commuting in our lifetime, with London commuters having it even worse at an eye-watering £197,377. Hybrid working does not promise to eradicate commuting costs. However, even if you worked from home two days a week, you would save on average £576 annually, travelling on public transport. If you drive to work, reduced mileage will have a direct impact on the amount you pay in car maintenance. The AAA calculates that each mile driven costs $0.09 - but given that average return commute is 30 miles, over a year, working remotely 2 days a week could still save you over £300.
Financial cost aside, the commute also costs time. Commuters spend 100 hours travelling and 41 hours stuck in traffic every year, according to the Auto Insurance Center. Those extra hours don’t just translate to road rage and stress about making it to work on time; a Stanford survey found that 35% of this new-found free time was spent on employees’ primary jobs, while about 60% was spent on other domestic work activities, e.g. childcare or housework. While getting the laundry done, or hoovering the house might not sound very exciting, for workers who usually employ cleaners or wrap-around childcare, this could translate into a significant yearly saving.
If you buy lunch out every day, you could save £40 a month by working remotely
Working remotely part of the time can also save you on lunches and coffees out. MoneySupermarket.com found that if you buy lunch out every day, you could save £40 a month by working remotely. Perhaps a more shocking statistic is that the average Briton spends £2160 a year on coffee. It highlights how even small changes to working habits can really make a difference to your bank balance at the end of the month.
With hybrid working, strict dress codes are also less applicable. Sonya Abrego, an NYC fashion and design historian, sees the pandemic as a watershed in how people approach office wear. While some business contexts will still demand us to get dressed up in our Sunday best, most predict that more casual office wear is here to stay. Glamour suggests that rather than return to the set fashions of office wear, it may be that the more fashionable-inclined among us, will take the opportunity to invigorate their office wardrobe with more of their own style. The change is not just cosmetic; buying a new office wardrobe can be a significant expense and a genuine difficulty for some. Changing fashions might not just save the majority of us money, but also increase accessibility by reducing upfront costs and peer pressure over what is appropriate.
Living in the suburbs means cheaper rents and mortgages
The biggest long-term benefit of hybrid working is location flexibility. Being able to choose to live in the suburbs or a smaller city, rather than big inner-cities means less expensive rents and mortgages. The average house price in London is £500,310.14, compared to the UK average of £256,405.17. Given that mortgage lenders are now willing to offer mortgages to ‘WorkFromAnywhere’ employees, hybrid working offers an opportunity in a housing market that demands increasingly more affluent buyers than in the 1990s. Not only are homes cheaper outside big metropolises, but the cost of living is also notably different. In London a single person has on average £373 of disposable income. In Reading, that figure is £1168.48.
Whether employees choose to spend the extra cash they’ve saved on more take-aways, home improvements or a fancy new car, hybrid can mean a real-term income rise - without businesses having to spend a penny more. Financial benefits are only the tip of the iceberg. Hybrid working done well can increase an employee's sense of belonging, satisfaction and the effort that they willing put into their role. It can also help to improve the inclusivity and diversity of the workplace, increasing your talent pool, team innovation and staff retention. The benefits of hybrid working are not just financial and they are not limited to the individual. Yet, what is clear is that hybrid working as a financial benefit will make the companies that offer it much more attractive to employees.