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How Much Does It Cost You to Go to Work?

Updated Feb 21, 2023

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  • Employee expenses have traditionally included work-related costs such as commuting, lunch, coffee and apparel. Other common expenses, such as child and pet care, arise outside of work but are still due to employment.
  • Remote work can save employees thousands of dollars per year, especially on commuting and child care.
  • Employers can also save tens of thousands of dollars per employee per year if they shift to half remote and half in person.
  • This article is for business leaders and employees interested in how remote work arrangements save money.

The National Bureau of Economic Research has found that 37% of American jobs can feasibly be done remotely. Location flexibility can be a boon for employees, since staying home can save them money on commuting, child care and more. Employers also stand to benefit: Although they might have less control over a physically distant team, remote arrangements can save them money too. Here’s what employees and employers alike should know.

How much money remote workers save

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to drastic increases in work-from-home arrangements – and opportunities to assess how much money former commuters can save. 

Near the start of the pandemic, Zippia found that remote work could cut employee expenses by $4,600 annually across all categories. A 2021 LendingTree study also found that shifting to remote work helped the average American reduce their debt. Around the same time, Bankrate found that nearly 60% of remote employees discovered that working from home improved their financial situation.

Did You Know?Did you know

An Upwork survey released six months into the pandemic found that shifting to remote work had already saved the average American $2,000 on commuting. Now that the pandemic has lasted over two years, COVID-era remote work may have saved people $8,000 on commuting.

Employers benefit from work-from-home arrangements as well. A fully remote team eliminates the need for an office and all the overhead that comes with it. Even companies that keep their offices but switch to half-remote, half-in-person arrangements can reduce costs. According to Global Workplace Analytics, this arrangement can save a small business owner $11,000 per employee per year. That’s money you can pour back into your team.

Max Freedman contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. 

Chad Brooks
Staff Writer at
Chad Brooks is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of media of experience. He has been with Business News Daily and for the past decade, having written and edited content focused specifically on small businesses and entrepreneurship. Chad spearheads coverage of small business communication services, including business phone systems, video conferencing services and conference call solutions. His work has appeared on The Huffington Post,,, Live Science, IT Tech News Daily, Tech News Daily, Security News Daily and Laptop Mag. Chad's first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.
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