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What You Need to Consider with an RTO Mandate


    RTO — the most dreaded three letters in a remote worker’s life. Standing for Return to Office, it stars in many corporate memos calling people back to in-person work.

    In-office mandates are becoming more popular, so too may your time as a work-from-home warrior be drawing to a close. 

    You have a lot to think about with this switch. After all, the change of location affects more than just your workday. With work-life balances and commuter costs in the mix, this change sets off a whole chain of financial events.

    Are you ready?

    Keep reading to learn more about what you need to consider in the lead-up to RTO.

    RTO Mandate

    Increased Costs

    Working out of your home saves you a lot of money. According to a FlexJobs survey, remote work savings are anywhere between $2,600 and $10,000 a year. That’s because remote work gives you the flexibility to say no to a lot of the typical workday things, like:

    • Commuting costs, such as a transit pass or fuel and parking

    • Maintenance costs for drivers, with added wear and tear on your vehicle.

    • Takeout lunches and vending machine snacks. 

    • Office-appropriate work attire. 

    By returning to the office, you have to begin budgeting for these expenses again. 

    Fewer Savings 

    Imagine your budget with an extra $10,000 in work-related expenses. This money has to come from somewhere, and it usually comes from savings. In order to cover your new RTO costs, you may not save as much as you want.

    Saving less means you will be less prepared for unexpected emergencies. If you hit an unlucky streak, you might withdraw from these established savings more than you can replace. Eventually, you may have to take out a personal loan to cover the next repair or expenses. 

    Are you already in this emergency? A personal line of credit might provide some relief. You can put your unexpected expense on credit and pay it off over time. Just make sure you always cover the minimum payment of your line of credit to avoid late fees.

    Work-life Balance

    Your commute steals time away from your day, leaving you with fewer hours to spend on yourself and your family. You also won’t be able to sneak in chores or appointments during breaks and lunches, so you’ll be playing catch-up on these tasks at night. 

    For people who value flexibility, this change in your work-life balance can be harder to handle than the financial consequences of an RTO mandate.

    Are You Ready for RTO?

    For some extroverted individuals, the RTO mandate is long overdue. But for others, it signals a big change in their schedule, finances, and commute. 

    If you value your time and money, you might take the time now to consider your future with your company. While many corporations are returning to the office, some are maintaining work-from-home options. 

    Take this opportunity to apply with these companies, even if you don’t want to change jobs. You can disclose a new offer to your current employers to see if they’re willing to increase your salary or maintain your work-from-home setup to keep you. You never know, you might get a better deal with a brand-new position. 

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