Photo credit: Jessica Beaushene
Recently it was brought up that I might want to work in an office, instead of at home. Doing so would mean that all my equipment would be in the office and that my reimbursement for phone/internet would stop. Even if I only spent one day a week in the office.
There are a lot of factors involved. One of which is which building are they talking about? There are four in the city my boss mentioned – and some have pros, others have cons. Most of those one can’t put a value on but I will in a future post – face time, interaction with peers, getting out of the house, better networking, etc.
There are several factors one can put a number on. I was surprised that a quick google search didn’t yield much in the way of what line items to review, to help ensure I was inclusive. I did this on a monthly basis, then extrapolated to a year. The end result was I would need an additional $10,000+ or 20% raise to still bring home the same amount as I am now. That doesn’t include if gas goes (back) up – but then that would be for everyone and shouldn’t be included in projections.
Note: This is all hypothetical and to maintain my current lifestyle/income.
Gas would be an additional 4 tanks of gas a month, averaging $30 a piece. If I use one tank of gas a month now, then it would be easy to speculate that I would do 5 (based on milage, commuting miles, and the extra miles at lunch time) if working in an office.
Travel time is the time I would spend getting to the office and waiting for my computer to boot up to be able to clock in, shutting down after clocking out and driving home. This would be one hour a day, times my hourly rate, times 20 work days a month. Right now I boot the computer then go take a shower or eat breakfast and have a commute time of 30 seconds or less. My time is valuable – might as well value it at the same rate I am being paid for it. 😉
Networking lunches would be both a pro and con. It is not possible to do a networking lunch right now as I am too far away from anyone to make it worth the time and energy to drive to meet them, eat, and get back within an hour. (Aka, there are none right now.) Networking lunches are good to build relationships, maintain relationships, and learn – and they cost. I built a conservative $80/month estimating 2 lunches a week at $10 a piece which is average when doing fast food in this area. Plus there is the fact that I eat out for lunch once a month now – so doing more lunches out, with coworkers, friends, clients, etc will be an added expense compared to my current situation.
Phone/Internet is partially reimbursed right now since I work from home. If I worked part time in an office (or full time) I would lose this reimbursement. Therefore I would be paying more out of pocket for this – and still be required to have it for business continuity plans.
Car milage is a factor since I have a leased vehicle. I figured out how much I drive on average now versus what I would drive if going into the office daily. I then figured out how much over the miles/year agreement this would cost me. In fact, I leased instead of bought because I was under the impression I would have low mileage by working from home. Had I known I would be going into the office – even the closer of two offices – I would have either bought or gotten a higher miles/year contract. (Hind sight, eh?)
Clothes are important, especially when my last office was business casual but the potential new office is professional dress. Building in extra to add to my wardrobe and maintain it is essential. The amount projected here is jokingly low balled.
Miscellaneous is the important category. This is the value I gave to things such as sleeping in late and showering during my lunch break, swearing at my computer over a dumb email, the fact I didn’t call in because a 30 second walk is a big difference than a 20 minute drive when one is sick – and one can lie down in between calls to reserve strength, the ease of getting a snack/lunch/drink of water because I live at home, doing laundry in between calls/cases (or emptying the dishwasher or writing holiday cards), easily making calls for appointments on my other land line or cell phone, having cell reception to call and text, and easily utilizing my laptop to multitask and keep things like reading my Google reader off of the work computer. You know, that infamous work life balance. I again low balled this at $10/day (times 20 work days a month.)
That is pretty impressive when one considers the benefits of working from home. Not entirely surprising either since the additional $10k would place me as an accurate comparable salary for my position and area (thank you, salary.com!) and that last year 40% of employees surveyed said they would take a pay cut to telecommute. Can you think of any other items that should be on that list? Do you agree with the method to obtain the numbers?
I’m working on a part two that shows the benefits of going into the office, which when merged with this data will paint a more complete picture.