The COVID-19 pandemic made working from home the norm for many people across all kinds of industries. But as the pandemic wanes, more companies are requiring their employees to return to the office and resume stressful and costly daily commutes.
New research published by videoconferencing company Owl Labs broke down just how much people are paying to go into the office every day. In 2023, 66 percent of workers say they’re now in the office five days a week, marking a staggering jump from the 41 percent who were in office full-time in 2022. Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 26 percent of workers are hybrid this year, while just 7 percent work fully remote.
It turns out that it costs the average worker more than $50 a day just to come into the office. This includes a daily average of $16 spent on lunch, $14 on commuting, $13 on breakfast and coffee, and $8 on parking. Pet owners also have to cough up an average of $20 a day on animal care. In total, full-time office workers spend about $1,020 a month to show up to the office, while hybrid workers spend approximately $408 a month to sit in their cubicles.
Owl Labs CEO Frank Weishaupt acknowledged “there’s no question” going into the office is “wildly more expensive” today than it was in the pre-COVID era.
As for how to get more people to come into the office—and be happier about it—respondents offered several solutions. The most common one with 38 percent was to have the company cover commuting costs to get them into the office in the morning and back home at the end of the day. Other responses included having greater privacy at the office (34 percent), a way of knowing when others will be there (34 percent), free or subsidized food and drinks (28 percent), childcare and eldercare subsidies or onsite alternatives (28 percent), and relaxed dress codes (24 percent).
If you’re still working from home full-time, consider yourself a part of the lucky minority.