Economics/Business

Home Office Costs/Reducing home office costs/for employees

Home office costs are considerably lower for the company compared to face-to-face work, which is why this model is so advantageous. From the employee’s point of view, although there is an increase in certain expenses, the benefits are even greater.

In recent decades, many changes have affected the job market, but none have had as many impacts as the covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, changes in labor legislation, incorporation of new technologies into the business world and increased expenses with the maintenance of corporate spaces made the costs of the home office very attractive and accelerated the adoption of this model.

Due to these and other factors, remote work – which was a trend for the future – is increasingly present in the daily lives of organizations and is already part of the routine of many workers. 

What about your company, does it already enjoy the benefits of the home office ? Do you know how it can help reduce costs, increase productivity and attract talent to the business? 

The difficulties of face-to-face work

The competitive market requires companies to produce more and better, but at reduced costs, especially in large cities.

Just think about some very common situations: renting or buying a square meter in commercial areas is extremely expensive , out of the question for many companies that are starting out.

The very maintenance of employees in these spaces entails expenses with energy, telephone and services. 

If, on the one hand, keeping employees in an environment increases expenses, the company also finds it difficult to increase its productivity expectations. 

Negative impacts for professionals

Traffic and the inefficiency of public transport require a long time to travel and cause discomfort that negatively impacts the performance of employees . 

On the part of professionals, there is also a search for other alternatives. Many of them have already realized how difficult it is to achieve a good level of quality of life when stuck in a job that requires daily presence at a branch. 

As a result, many organizations lose talent . A large group of highly qualified professionals simply does not accept proposals that demand full-time work in a specific location, every day of the week. 

To solve these problems, remote work has proved to be a smart option. 

Therefore, it is estimated that by 2020 about 90% of companies will offer some type of remote work for their employees. 

Although it cannot be applied to functions that require production that depends on certain machines or face-to-face customer service, the model can be applied to bureaucratic, commercial and strategic functions to great advantage.

The benefits of remote work

One of the main benefits of remote working, which has been highlighted by a number of organizations, is its ability to attract and retain talent. 

One of the attractive factors for millennials is precisely the possibility of reconciling professional success and quality of life. 

This is very difficult when you think that commuting between home and work can be the equivalent of part-time.

The home office becomes a good alternative, as it allows the employee to carry out their activities wherever they are. 

Some companies ask to attend only certain meetings or certain days of the week

With this facility, the organization is able to retain talent that it would have already lost if it adopted the 100% face-to-face model.

These employees do not exchange a routine in which they can have quality of life for apparently more profitable proposals, but which would sacrifice their time, the possibility of being close to their family and dedicating a few hours to self-care. 

Another point in favor is that not always the professional with the profile that the company wants lives in the same city or region where it is headquartered. 

Remote work is the chance to capture them, as long as their role can be performed remotely. 

Productivity and quality in deliveries

Productivity and quality are also among the benefits observed in adopting the home office . 

Employees know that the maintenance of the model depends on how much it enables the company to achieve its goals and they strive to achieve it.

In addition, just the fact that they save time and energy in commuting is enough to positively impact productivity. 

The home environment, without so much possibility of distraction, contributes to the quality and good performance. 

We could not fail to conclude this topic by talking about the end of presenteeism . 

This problem happens in many organizations where the employee, even with a “present body”, earns little and does not produce according to expectations.

Remote work changes this working relationship. It is now based not on mere presence, but on a performance evaluation based on the results. 

And it’s these numbers — not just the number of hours in an office — that make the difference in a company’s success. 

Reducing home office costs

The aspect that we would really like to highlight in this post is the cost reduction of the home office and the benefits that remote work makes possible. 

This is the factor that has aroused great interest in the subject and accelerated its implementation.

Check out how the home office contributes to cost reduction.

1. Reduction of infrastructure expenses

We have already mentioned that the maintenance of a commercial building can generate a very high expense . Renting or purchasing in appropriate areas usually consumes considerable value. 

When the company adopts the home office system, it maintains only the minimum space necessary to receive its customers — if this is really essential for carrying out its activities. 

Employee space, corporate furniture, meeting rooms, and service spaces — this entire structure can be greatly reduced. 

The home office also eliminates expenses with the conservation and maintenance of these environments.

2. Reduction of operating expenses

Keeping the team working within an office or headquarters also entails other expenses. 

They range from paying water, electricity and telephone bills to coffee that is served daily. 

There are many costs involved, from the acquisition of raw materials to the hiring of employees to support this staff. Cleaning and pantry services are among them. 

3. Reduction of transportation expenses

By law, employees are entitled to receive transportation vouchers for their commute from home to work. 

As the maximum discount must be 6% of the worker’s salary, the difference is borne by the company . 

When the organization adopts remote work, the decrease in this value is significant, especially when a large percentage of its employees use this benefit. 

In the end, some experiments reached impressive numbers. They show that the employee who works from home represents an increase of up to 15% in productivity, while generating savings of around 17%. 

Therefore, whenever possible, the home office is an interesting alternative to reduce costs and increase productivity — exactly what companies need to establish a competitive edge and stand out from the competition. 

Home office costs for employees

With the adoption of remote work, have the costs of the home office become the responsibility of employees? Well, not quite.

The pandemic accelerated the almost mass deployment of telework, a modality contemplated by labor legislation and commonly confused with home office.

However, most organizations were still not prepared and well structured for such a huge change in processes and culture.

Over time, several doubts began to arise, among them the question of the costs of working from home. After all, should employers pay an allowance for professionals?

As we have already mentioned, this remote modality allows the elimination of expenses with transport vouchers, but there are other costs of the home office that involve infrastructure, such as:

  • Internet;
  • electricity;
  • other expenses directly related to the execution of activities.

That is, the costs that were previously the company’s responsibility become the employee’s. For this reason, there must be an alignment between the parties involved in the labor relationship .

How to make the agreement between the parties

Before defining how much and how to pay the home office allowance, it is necessary to make an agreement with the employees.

If professionals do not yet have an employment contract signed within the telework rules, this change must be provided immediately.

It is in this document that the rules for reimbursement of values ​​related to infrastructure will be found.

How to calculate home office costs

The simplest way to calculate the amount corresponding to home office expenses is to list which inputs are needed to perform the professional’s activities and then determine the daily expenses.

internet costs

For employees who use the mobile internet, it is possible to calculate the average data consumption for each task. 

Adding these values, we arrive at the total spent by the professional in his working day. 

Here are some examples of daily activities and their respective data expenditures:

  • access a web page: 300kb;
  • send an email: 5kb;
  • send an email with attachment: 350kb;
  • watch a one-minute video streaming: 13mb;
  • download an app: 15mb.

If the employee uses fixed internet, the calculation is a little different. It is necessary to consider the amount paid monthly for the service subscription and divide it by the hours worked. 

In this case, then, the company is responsible for paying the full amount of the internet during the working day . 

Let’s go to an example. If the internet plan costs R$ 100.00 per month and the speed is 100mb, the daily value is R$ 3.33. This corresponds to BRL 0.13 per hour.

Considering a journey of 8 hours a day, the value per day will be R$ 1.04. If the professional works 5 times a week, we have R$ 5.20 per week. In 20 working days, the employer must reimburse R$ 20.80 to the employee.

It is also possible to use consumption simulation tools to determine the exact value used to carry out the company’s activities.

In this way, compliance is strengthened and the company is able to pass on the correct value to the professional.

Electricity costs

One of the simplest ways to account for electricity costs is by listing the appliances that need to be used.

Then, see what is the power in watts of the equipment, transform the value into kilowatts (just divide by 1000) and multiply the result by the hours that the device is on.

Then multiply by the number of working days in the month. Once this is done, take the result and multiply it by the amount charged by the energy supplier per kilowatt.

Reimbursement of home office costs for professionals

With the tips we have given you, you will be able to calculate exactly the amount to be returned to employees for internet and energy expenses.

Some companies consider the expense related to the lamps that are on during work.

There is also the provision of equipment necessary to perform tasks at home, chairs to ensure ergonomics in the home office and other items depending on the activity performed.

Considering the pandemic scenario in which we are still living, the best way has been dialogue and individual negotiation between employees . 

It is therefore up to HR to understand the demands of employees, what was the degree of increase in home office expenses and how the company can act in the face of this – in case of reimbursement, this possibility must be described in the employment contract.

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