Returning to the office? Ways to beat rising costs

According to a new Cisco survey, 75% of respondents say they save money on food and entertainment through hybrid work schedules.

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Hybrid jobs are popular today for many reasons – and one of them is that they can save thousands of workers every year.

A new survey by tech firm Cisco – conducted this year among more than 6,000 respondents from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines – found that 86% of workers saved money by working part-time from home last year.

Average savings reached over $ 7,500 a year, with 85% Respondents say they believe they can sustain these savings in the long run through a hybrid work schedule.

That may be why “only 5% said they would like to return to office altogether,” said Bi Kheng Te, president of Cisco’s Southeast Asia.

The top category of savings

According to Cisco, the three areas in which hybrid workers have saved money are travel, food and social events.

About 88% of respondents said hybrid work saved them money on fuel and other travel costs, while 75% said they spent less on food and entertainment. In addition, 60% said they have saved on post-work life and social activities.

“Pre-epidemic: You used to go out with friends [after work], You’re going to see a movie … go get a drink. With the epidemic, we are all on high alert, “said Anupam Trehan, a Cisco man and community leader in the Asian region.

During the epidemic many people got pets to keep them company. Jenny Walden from DailyPay says taking care of pets as soon as you get back to work is a challenge.

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Jenny Walden, chief innovation officer at the American financial services company Delipe, added: “While we’ve been able to manage our food and shopping costs for food at home, getting back to work often means eating out.”

According to Cisco, hybrid work saves Southeast Asian workers about 14 144 a week. The survey showed that about 3 out of 4 survey respondents would consider these savings when considering a job change.

Walden points out another expense that is rising for people returning to the office: pet care.

“A high percentage of people got pets during the Covid so they could stay with them during the isolation,” he said. “Interestingly, when they return to work, they are being challenged to find ways to take care of their pets.”

Rover, a recent report from an online pet market, found that pet parents are becoming more expensive. According to the report, more than 70% of pet owners have spent more on food, treats, toys and veterinary inspections since the beginning of this year, and 73% are concerned about continued price increases.

If remote work is not an option

For workers returning to the office who are worried about inflation and spending like food and petrol, industry experts say there are ways to manage rising costs.

1. Go beyond compensation

As people spend more money at work, it is inevitable that their minds will turn to negotiations for more pay, Trehan said. But he suggested having a conversation “out of compensation” instead.

“What happens in the end is that the moment you start thinking about financial well-being, the conversation gets very derailed by compensation,” he said.

You may be surprised to learn that even without knowing it, you can probably save up to 300 per month from programs you haven’t signed up for.

Jenny Walden

Chief Innovation Officer, Daily

Walden agrees, saying employees can ask about the benefits available to them through the “employer-paid program”.

“There’s a lot you don’t know,” he said. “You really need to take a few hours and look at your company’s employee handbook and your benefit programs to see what they offer you.”

Many employers are also “increasing opportunities” to save money for employees, Walden said.

For example, some healthcare benefits provide financial incentives to stay fit or for a certain number of steps per day, he said. Workers can also take advantage of transportation stipends, he said, or choose to drink free coffee at work.

Jenny Walden of DailyPay says the top new amenities companies are offering include transportation credit and free meals in the office.

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“You’d be surprised that even without knowing it, you could probably save 300 per month from programs you haven’t signed up for,” Walden said. “If you spend $ 5 for a cup of coffee… which adds up very quickly.”

2. Do a salary analysis

However, if workers believe they should be paid more, the first thing to do is to ask for a pay analysis, Walden said.

Each HR team has a set of identifiers that determine how much employees should earn for how many years they have been in the job, he added.

“They could analyze a gap … internally, there could be adjustments.”

Those who are nervous or shy can also do their own research online, Walden suggests. For specific positions “you can go to Glassdoor… and see what the current market pay is”.

Walden noted that companies nowadays are also employing “creative” methods to retain workers, especially as the labor market heats up.

“If they can’t raise your salary, they can probably get a one-time bonus or they can look at setting up a promotion plan tied to the results,” he said. “There are a lot of options.”

3. Budget your money

Even for those who can get the highest salary, Walden says the budget is more important than ever.

He recommends “understanding how much money you have and creating a budget for basic needs.”

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