September marks the start of a new school year, and children who have learned from a distance will not be the only ones adapting to a new environment. Millions of employees are returning to work as companies reopen their physical offices. But many employees are reluctant to return to the office, either because of pandemic concerns or because they have discovered they prefer to work from home.
A survey by FlexJobs.com found that 58% of workers said they would look for a new job if they couldn’t continue working remotely in their current role. But before you give notice, there are steps you can take to navigate the changes in your workplace and in your budget.
If you want to continue working from home, you will need to negotiate this with your supervisor. But first, prepare talking points that highlight the benefits of working remotely for your employer, says Toni Frana, career coach at FlexJobs. Instead of explaining how working from home will help you, she says, focus on how it will increase your productivity.
Your employer may also be more receptive to an arrangement in which you work remotely part-time rather than full-time. In May, Google announced it would adopt a hybrid workweek, requiring in-person office work for just three out of five days starting in September. Other companies, especially in the technology sector, are also developing hybrid work models.
Yet while some companies are open to hybrid work schedules, others want their employees to return to the office full time. If your employer is in this group, leverage your bargaining power, says Alison Green, founder of the Ask a Manager website and author of Ask a manager: how to navigate ignorant coworkers, bosses who steal lunch, and other sticky situations at work. In an age when many companies struggle to fill vacancies, managers may be pressured to be more receptive to your concerns, she says.
Anticipate the evolution of the budget. Almost 60% of Americans who have worked from home at some point during the pandemic said it had a positive effect on their personal finances, according to a Bankrate.com survey. People who were able to work remotely saved money on expenses such as transportation, lunches, work clothes and childcare, says Ted Rossman, analyst at Bankrate. To reduce your return-to-work costs, ask your employer if they plan to offer (or reinstate) subsidies for parking or public transportation. If you have any unused funds in a pre-tax benefits account, be sure to use them. And now that you’ve learned how much money you can save cooking at home, you might be inspired to start bringing your lunch to work.