Working From Home Costs Money, You Should Claim It – Dutch Workers Paid Extra €2 Per Day For Coffee & Toilet Paper

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Oct 12 2020
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Working from home may sound like a great idea, especially during the present Coronavirus climate. To employees or workers, they could avoid the commute, get more sleep, be more productive and live a happier and more balance work-life. To employers or companies, they could cut office space, save on office supplies and snacks, and increase staff loyalty, among others.


A couple of days ago, Microsoft told its employees that they will have the option of working from home “permanently”, subject to manager’s approval. It was a copycat move after tech giant Facebook and Twitter said remote work would be a permanent option. According to the Office of National Statistics, as of April, more than 46% employees were doing some work from home.


Of course, you still can find 100 reasons why working from home is a horrible idea. For example, Microsoft’s own chief executive Satya Nadella said the lack of division between private life and work life meant “it sometimes feels like you are sleeping at work”. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic still alive and kicking – both employees and employers – have to at least try the idea.

Working From Home

But if you thought working from home was going to save you a truckload of money, think again. Working from home actually costs money. Sure, you could save on commuting-related expenses, laundry bills, or even cheaper food at home. Unfortunately, electricity bills, water bills, phone bills, stationery supplies and even sewerage bills are some hidden expenses that need to be paid.


Yes, who is going to pay for toilet paper and coffee while working from home? One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Depending on your country of employment and your employer, you may want to claim back those expenses. In the Netherlands, the Dutch government says your boss should pay for the extra expenses incurred while workers are forced to work from home.


Based on a study done by Dutch family finances institution NIBUD, working from home costs every staff an average €2 (US$2.36; £1.81; RM9.80) extra per day – about €43.30 (US$51.10; £39.20; RM212) per month for a 5-day working week. The costs were meant to cover not only coffee and toilet papers, but also electricity and water bills, gas usage and depreciation of desk and chair.

Sweden Cashless Country - Toilet

The calculation included 2.5 cents (US$0.03) a day for toilet paper, and 70 cents (US$0.83) for hot drinks, €1.20 for gas and electricity, as well as 0.01 cents a day “depreciation” of a person’s desk and chair through wear and tear. The formula was based on a worker who works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and consumes 6 cups of coffee or tea per working day.


In total, a worker should be paid €440 (US$520; £398; RM2,154) on an annual basis for working remotely, according to NIBUD (National Institute for Family Finance Information). The cost does not cover new furniture, computers, phones, or other equipment which NIBUD says employees should receive from their employers. But is this just a fantasy?


Not at all. In fact, Dutch authorities have already started paying civil servants based on NIBUD’s research and demands from trade unions. Civil servants have been paid €363 (US$429; £328; RM1,777) extra on an annual basis for working from home. The figure is slightly lower because civil servants work 36 hours a week, rather than 40 hours.

Netherlands Amsterdam

Still, the Dutch Trade Union Confederation finds the amount calculated by the NIBUD to be too low. It argued that 4 in 5 workers incur more than €2 in expenses while working from home. While Coronavirus has led to an increase in people working from home, four in five workers cannot do so due to the limitation of the jobs available.


But not all bosses were impressed with the demand for the compensations, especially in the current challenging time when the Coronavirus has destroyed the economy. Dutch employers’ association AWVN spokesman Jannes van der Velde said the NIBUD calculations did not reflect all the benefits home workers were enjoying.


Jannes said – “This call from unions for everybody to get compensation because people are now making their own coffee at home – one might observe that workers are also getting a lot of free time in exchange. It won’t be the case that people, pretty much anywhere, are going to get an extra ‘bonus’ on top of their salary – definitely not during an economic recession.”

Netherlands Coronavirus


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