Here’s a quick question: When you work from home, do you spend less money or do you spend more?
Some would say less, given that you probably see all the zeroes adding up during Circuit Breaker. If you really see zeroes adding up, can we be friends?
Others, though, are more cynical; yes, you save more, but you’re using more for work.
Electricity bills increase because you work for the company from home and you work longer hours, leading to a lower hourly rate.
Well, if you’ve always been wondering about this and arguing about it so much you almost broke up, you don’t have to wonder anymore.
Because in a country far away (the Netherlands), a professional institute decided to do the math for you.
Nibud (National Institute for Family Finance Information) is an independent foundation in the Netherlands that gives information and advice on financial matters relating to private households.
Seeing as how working from home (WFH) is practically linked to private households, these unlikely heroes set out on a quest.
The objective? To figure out how much extra an employee spends while WFH.
Here are the parameters used for their study.
They assume the employee to be someone who works from home for eight hours a day, five days a week.
Using mathematical skills you wished you had during your GCE O levels, the folks at Nibud calculated that a person spent an extra 2 Euro (~S$3.21) while working from home.
Here’s a breakdown:
- 2.5 cents (~S$0.04) a day for toilet paper
- 70 cents (~S$1.12) a day for hot drinks
- 0.01 cent (~S$0.00016) a day for depreciation of desk and chair
Other costs include higher electric, water and gas bills.
The cost, however, doesn’t include other costs that employers normally paid for, like travel, telephone costs and computer equipment.
If you’re thinking, that’s so trivial, think again.
It might be S$3.21 a day but when you calculated it by the year? It’s 440 Euros (~S$705.27).
Civil Servants Are Now Getting Paid That Extra Amount
By the way, this isn’t just theory.
Apparently, according to Business Insider, civil servants in the country are getting paid that extra amount.
It was reported on 29 Sep 2020 that trade unions in the Netherlands managed to fight for civil servants working from home to be paid an extra 363 euros (~S$581.85) per year.
It’s pretty much a milestone given how this is the first time an employer actually paid for the extra cost incurred from working at home.
S’pore Has A Similar (Unofficial) Study
This isn’t the first time such a topic was brought up and back in Apr 2020, SingSaver, a website dedicated to personal finance, went ahead to do a quick calculation on how much it costs for WFH here in Singapore.
According to their calculations (9 hours a day), the extra cost of WFH is $0.29 (excluding lunch since, well, you pay for that yourself even during work, anyway).
As for whether you should ask for the extra 29 cents or not:
By the way, erm, boss, you reading this?
GF Boss: Yeah. You want more peanuts?
… I mean, can I at least have that extra $3 in cash?
GF Boss: No. Take it or leave it.
That’s it. I-
GF Boss: Quit? Sure-
N-no, I’ll learn to love peanuts even more.
And that’s probably why most people here wouldn’t raise up the issue of getting that extra money. Maybe.
What do you think?
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