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Nikita Lvov
Nikita Lvov

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How much are you paying to work remotely?

Every month its becomes more and more popular to work remotely. Especially right now during the pandemic time. But do you even thought that you are trading your comfortability of working remotely for the employer's additional profit?

Working remotely mean that you will spent 1 hour of you commuting time + 8 hours of your working day at home. The catch there in the running costs that you have to maintain additionally now, which are:

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Heating/Cooling
  • Coffee, fruits, cookies (which are usually nowadays free at the office)

Next things to be consider is the expenses for:

  • Telecommunication (Phone & Internet)
  • Office supplies (Printer paper, ink, pens, etc)
  • Software licenses (if not provided)

Let's compare the expense cases for a month for 3 countries: Germany (Berlin), USA (New York), Russia (Moscow):

If you are using some mid-range laptop we will guess that it consume about 65W. We would not of course forget about our eyes and will use the lights if necessary. So 2-3 LED bulbs with total of 10W turned on for few hours will be enough. Additionally we would use some other devices which require electricity (microwave, coffee machine, electric kettle, phone charger, etc). Then we will have spent about 1 Kwh additionally for each working day. There are 21 working days in a month on average. 1 Kwh * 21 = 21 kWh.
The expenses would be then:

New York (0.20$ per Kwh) 0.20$ * 21 = 4.2$
Berlin (0.35$ per Kwh) 0.35$ * 21 = 7.35$
Moscow (0.08$ per Kwh) 0.08$ * 21 = 1.68$

With water it's harder to calculate. Assuming that now you are spending at home another 1/3 of the day we will just add
(1 / 3) * (5 working days / 7 in a week) * 100% = 23%
to the average bill of water expenses:

New York (40$ on average) 40$ * 0,23 = 9.2$
Berlin (12$ on average) 12$ * 0,23 = 2.76$
Moscow (18.14$ on average) 18.14$ * 0.23 = 4.17$

If with the cooling can be completely optional then the heating we should turn on for at least 3 months per year. Before we could save some money by decreasing the heating power while being at work. Taking into account the previous calculation of water usage we would have use the heater 23% more often. For easier calculation let's take the same electrical heater with 120 Kwh monthly consuming. Then it will result:

New York (0.20$ per Kwh) 0.20$ * 120 * 0.23 = 5.52$
Berlin (0.35$ per Kwh) 0.35$ * 120 * 0.23 = 9.66$
Moscow (0.08$ per Kwh) 0.08$ * 120 * 0.23 = 2.21$

Right now is the common practice to supply the employers with the coffee/tea, fruits and cookies. We would assume that you are drinking 3 cups of coffee per day and eat up some fruits and cookies each time you are at the office. The costs for such expenses would probably be not be higher than 10$ in any location.

Phone calls can be optional for your work but you have to be sure in the stable internet connection to not miss any important online meeting or deadline of pushing the code to the repository. So we would choose the more expensive and good provider (+ 25% over average internet price).

New York (50$ on average) 50$ * 0.25 = 12.5$
Berlin (50$ on average) 50$ * 0.25 = 12.5$
Moscow (18.14$ on average) 10$ * 0.25 = 2.5$

Pens, papers, ink for the printer would be another 5$ expense in our monthly budget.

Even if there is some software required we love open-source and can always find some alternative, right? :) So we would cross out that expense.

Then the total the additional monthly expenses would be:

Expense item / City New York Berlin Moscow
Electricity 4.2$ 7.35$ 1.68$
Water 9.2$ 2.76$ 4.17$
Cooling/Heating 5.52$ 9.66$ 2.21$
Coffee, cookies, fruits 10$ 10$ 10$
Phone & Internet 12.5$ 12.5$ 12.5$
Office supplies (optional) 5$ 5$ 5$
Total 46.42$ 47.27$ 35.56$

Of course it's a minimum approximated costs. The real numbers can be much higher. But even on this example you can see that you can loose about 500$ yearly.

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