He writes: “Many of the world’s largest companies set September as the deadline for employees to start returning — at least more consistently — to the office. Commuter trains in New York were packed this week following the Labor Day holiday. Office rents from London to Dubai are heading upwards again. And in Australia, the return to office has set off a child-care crisis. Firms have been trying to lure workers back for two years now. Wall Street banks have led the charge, in fits and starts. Employers like Apple have had to push back their RTO plans some half a dozen times in response to the ever-morphing pandemic.
“The results have been mixed. While many staffers have been heading into work daily for months, a recent study found that in the second quarter of this year, half of office visits globally happened just once a week. Employers are trying to formalize flexibility to give managers more certainty while not alienating staff. This means hybrid policies are becoming increasingly normalized (and, as of this month, enforced) at a time of stubbornly high inflation, increased commuting costs and fear of recession on the horizon.
“It’s a complicated puzzle for anyone trying to keep both their career and their finances on track. To get some insights on how to do this amid the current race to RTO, I emailed a few career and financial experts to ask for their best tips.”
Here’s what Marguerita Cheng said: Reexamine your benefits. Many corporate perks were geared around our old pre-pandemic lifestyles — think pre-tax commuting benefits or gym discounts. Now may be the time to refresh yourself on those policies. Marguerita Cheng, a financial adviser who runs Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said parents with young children or older, dependent relatives might want to look into their flexible spending accounts. The US is approaching open-enrollment season and making use of such accounts might help offset some of the expenses of caring for a dependent.