59% of UK workers say they prefer a hybrid model of working to the traditional 9-5 in the office. With so many of us working from home at least one day a week, it’s important to keep an eye on how that is impacting our bills.
The current cost of living crisis is hitting all of us, so it’s more important than ever to track how every single penny is being spent. Here’s how to stay on top of costs of working from home.
Be efficient with energy usage
We’re all aware of the current issues regarding our energy bills. Whether you’re powering a large business property or just a home office, you’ll see payments rise as we move through the winter. There are some steps you can take to mitigate these increases and ensure your home office is as efficient as possible.
First, if you’re home alone while working, then make sure you’re only using the energy that you need. Turn off all appliances that are in use elsewhere - that means turning them off completely. Energy Saving Trust estimate you can save up to £65 per year by switching off standby mode.
Once you’ve made sure you’re only using the necessary appliances, consider your heating setup. It goes without saying that you should avoid heating rooms that you aren’t going to be spending any time in. In fact, if possible, you can keep the heating off altogether and simply wrap up warm with the aid of a hot water bottle in your home work space.
When the temperatures outside start to really drop and heating is essential, make sure you’re using it in the smartest way. Draught proof the rooms you’re keeping warm to avoid any lost energy. Set an alert on your phone to remind you the heating is on. Once you’re nice and cosy it can be easy to forget to switch back off!
Take advantage of job expenses
You might be able to claim tax relief on household costs in certain circumstances. This isn’t applicable to everyone, so we’d recommend looking at the latest government advice to be sure. At the time of writing, you can claim tax relief while working from home if your job requires you to live far away from the office. Or, if there isn’t actually an office for you to go to.
Business phone calls and energy bills are the most common claimed expenses. You cannot make any claims for items that you use all the time, like your internet connection. You also aren’t eligible to claim these expenses if you’ve made the choice to work from home as part of your employment contract.
Monitor costs 24/7
Busy workdays can distract us from what’s happening around us. A tight deadline might take your attention away from the lights you accidentally left on in the house or the energy that’s being used by other family members.
Keeping costs down is a daily task that should be treated with the same importance as anything else you might have on your to-do list that day. If possible, have a smart meter installed that allows you to keep an eye on your usage. That way, you’ll know if someone has their tv, computer, laptop and games console all plugged in at once!
If you share a house or must keep an eye on the kids, try and do so in the same space. It’s much more efficient to light and heat one room than two. It might be tricky to concentrate with someone else nearby, but you will keep costs down.
It’s important to work out what’s best for your specific situation. It might even be that, once we really enter the colder months, it’s actually more cost effective to go into the office for a few days per week.
We realise that’s not possible for everyone due to childcare commitments or transport limitations but it’s worth considering. Could you share a ride to the office with a colleague? Whatever your situation, it’s your responsibility to work out what’s the best option for you.
With Christmas fast approaching, it’s vital you take action now to try and stay on top of your working from home costs. Energy Saving Trust have compiled a list of quick tips you can follow to cut costs around the house. Everything from shorter showers to effective insulation can make a big difference and help you keep bills down.
Click here to visit the Energy Saving Trust site for more tips and advice.