money·2 min read

What’s Better for Your Wallet: Returning to the Office or Working From Home?

accessibility, woman using laptop in office
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Jul 27, 2022

Since the start of the Great Resignation, salaries have been on the rise. Along with job openings. Which is great news for some job hunters.But before you decide whether or not you want to return to the office after COVID, seriously think about where you want to work. Literally: from home or from the office. Because your choice could cost you.

Should I return to work after COVID?

The answer to that question depends on your circumstances. For some people, remote work is easier on their budget. Because gas prices. Plus, given rising childcare costs, remote work is a good way for new parents to keep their family budget under control.

Got it. So returning to the office isn’t best for my finances?

That’s not necessarily true, either. Remote work might cut gas and childcare costs, but it also means spending more on energy costs at home.The Bureau of Labor Statistics says electricity costs are up by 13.7% in June versus a year ago. ICYMI, that’s the highest increase since 2006. Read: It can add a major strain to your budget when you (rather than your employer) have to cover those costs.

How do I know whether WFH or RTO works best for me?

Start by looking at your finances to decide if you should return to the office after COVID. If you’re thinking of RTO, is there room in your budget for childcare or consistent gas costs? If you’re leaning toward WFH, can you afford rising energy costs? The answers to these questions can be drastically different depending on where you live, too. Hint: Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama residents use energy a lot more than everyone else (hi, air conditioning).And gas prices tend to be highest on the West Coast.

Got any tips to help cut costs?

There are always ways to save, no matter where you choose to work from.Think: Carpooling or using gas apps to search for the best prices if you’re returning to in-person work. And if you’re gonna stick to working from home, you can always try to negotiate your bills for a lower rate on utilities.


Costs are rising for everyone across the board. Because inflation. Before you commit to returning to the office, it helps to review your budget and costs in your area. It might not be the best money move. 

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