Employees say returning to the office is breaking the bank. Here's what's costing them so much

As more employees transition back to in-person work after years of remote work, they are finding that the shift is taking a toll on their finances. Many are expressing their frustration about the costs associated with office attire, daily lunches, commuting expenses, and more, now that they are required to be in the office multiple times per week. 

Some workers, like Jessica Chou of the Wall Street Journal, have reported spending up to 30% of their paychecks since returning to the office. Aside from the expense of revamping their work wardrobe, Chou notes that meeting new colleagues over coffee and replenishing her makeup collection has also added up. As workers adjust to the new normal, they are keeping track of the various ways a day at the office can impact their wallets. 

TikTokers who've kept track of their spending throughout the day say they spend $30 to $45 on transportation, coffee, and lunch alone. For those who are required to work in person more than three days each week, the cost of going to the office can be more than $100 per week.

On Tuesday, Elon Musk described remote work as "morally wrong," and other industry execs are also moving away from policies that would allow employees to work from home.

According to Chou, making her own lunch and snacks is a small solution to the financial issue of in-person work. As for buying new clothes, there's a seven-day waiting period before she can go through with a purchase.

"To avoid buying lunch, I follow advice from a friend and make lunch for the week in advance. Sometimes it's just a pot of lentil soup, but it works," Chou wrote.

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