Credit Inspired by: Sherylle Bates
From the aftermath of the 2020 pandemic, companies are pushing employees to return to the office rather than work remotely. Consistent news notifications are hitting up from our phones about companies drawing the line for the employees to return to the onsite work environment.
Organizations set in offices insist on working in this environment raises productivity, collaboration, and a sense of community. “It is vital to consider the costs to employees may not be fully acknowledged,” Shelly Bates expressed. “As we navigate this transition back to the office, we will examine the conversations happening at the kitchen table of the actual costs employees may face due to returning to in-person work.”
Bates expressed that one of the significant costs associated with an employee returning to work is the time and energy required for employees to commute to and from work. “In many cases, employees may need to wake up an hour earlier to prepare for work and travel an hour each way, adding at least 3 hours back into their daily calendar that’s technically an 11 - 12 hour day,” Bates said. “More than 45% of an employee’s day is spent on work-related activities, including the commuting time that is often unpaid.”
Bates spoke about the expense of commuting: whether it’s the cost of gas for their vehicle, public transportation fees, or parking. These expenses can quickly add up and impact employees’ finances. For example, the cost of eating out as it was when preparing meals at home might no longer be an option. “With less time due to the commute and the demands of in-person work, employees may be less likely to have the time or energy to prepare meals at home, leading to an increased likelihood of eating out,” Bates said. “This can be a significant expense for many employees, particularly if they are used to the cost savings associated with home-cooked meals.”
The pandemic has impacted every aspect of a person’s life, including personal values, and one of the changes was a shift of priorities.
“As the pandemic disrupted daily routines and forced many to spend more time at home, people began to focus more on their relationships with family and friends,” Bates said. “A greater emphasis on self-care and mental health. This self-reflection has impacted how people perceive time and has given a new perspective on what truly matters in life.”
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