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Remote working and the spiralling cost of living

By 30 August 2022September 28th, 2022No Comments
Cost of living homeworking

What working from home really means for the environment as well as your bank balance.

Working from home has many benefits, but what will your energy bills look like as we approach winter and confront the spiralling cost of living?

How Many of Us Are Working from Home?

In April of 2020, more than half the people living in London (57.2%) did some work at home. In comparison, in January/February 2020, only 5.7% of UK workers worked exclusively from home, rising to 43.1% by April 2020, as reported by The Home Office Life. According to the Annual Population Survey, this means that of the 27.4 million people in work in England in 2020, 4.9 million were homeworkers. This equates to roughly 18% of the overall population of England. While the number of homeworkers in London is staggering, the highest rate can still be found rural areas. Since the COVID19 lockdowns, working from home remains increasingly common, even now that the risk of COVID19 has decreased.

As of 2021, 50 of the biggest UK employers have announced they have no plans to return all staff to the office in the near future. Many workers report improved work-life balances and data collected by official UK bodies suggests that working from home in some form is a likely reality for a large proportion of the workforce. Home and hybrid working routines differ greatly, but it is clear that for many of us, working from home to some extent will remain part of our futures.

But What About the Savings?

On average, according to Finder, workers opting to work remotely save £44.78 a week on expenses such as commuting and buying drinks and lunch out. With 23.9 million Brits working from home during COVID19, roughly £1.1 billion would have been saved each week on these expenses. These are likely the numbers we think of first when we consider the cost savings associated with remote working. Yet, when it comes to these sort of costs, there are few fixed costs, apart from transportation. Meal costs can be lowered by preparing food at home and many options exist for budgeting on the high street. While avoiding these costs can be a relief for your bank account, there are costs associated with working from home that should also be considered.

What is the Energy Crisis?

The costs that affect home workers the worst are those relating to energy. News of the upcoming energy crisis has been hard to miss. But what does it mean exactly and what will it mean for you, your working situation and your bills?

First, let’s understand why we are facing an energy crisis. With countries recovering from the pandemic, demand for gas increased, leading to a supply shortage. As gas prices began rising, energy suppliers in the UK went bust, with 28 major companies closing down. And most recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a lack of supplies, only further increasing prices, with prices rising by 25% in the first 2 weeks of war. With Russia supplying the EU with 40% of its gas in 2021, the future of energy prices and supply has become uncertain, according to Energy Saving Trust. By March of this year, European gas prices rose to 580% higher than a year before, as reported by Economics Observatory. These are massive changes and have and will affect Britain in ways we may not even anticipate.

But What Does This Mean For Me?

The question is, how will this affect us? With the UK experiencing an unusually warm summer, the reality of the energy crisis has yet to hit home. The unfortunate reality is that energy prices will be far more expensive than they have ever been before, while salaries are likely to remain the same.

Ofgem, an energy regulator, introduced an ‘energy price cap’ in the UK in January 2019 to address concerns of consumers who felt they were paying too much for their energy, according to Energy Saving Trust. Initially, this cap was reviewed twice a year and more recently every three months. The energy price is set to go up by 80% this October for 24 million people in Great Britain. For example, if you were paying £1,578 your energy bill would come out to £3,549. This is an unprecedented increase in price and the situation has widely been described as a ‘catastrophe’ for both Britain and Europe.

This will mean that leaving the lights on, heating your home, using the washing machine, running the kettle and other everyday activities we may not think long and hard about will have a serious and direct effect on your bill. For those of us who work from home and use these amenities day in and day out, the effect will become even more pronounced. This means we will have to be extra conscious when it comes to using energy. This will be even more important if you are a home worker and cannot rely on your employer to cover energy costs during work hours.

So, while homeworking has its benefits and does come with savings, the increase cost of domestic energy bills cannot be overlooked if you are a remote worker. As we approach winter, we may feel that something has to give. Whether companies will want staff to return to the office, help with energy bills or cancel office spaces altogether, is yet to be seen. While the government has plans to help the citizens of Great Britain with these prices, whether or not their help will be enough is not yet clear.

With more of us working from home, our individual energy bills will skyrocket. While you may not want to return to the office, you may also not want to deal with the increased energy bills of working from home. Striking the balance between emissions, energy costs and wellbeing will not be easy. However, to help you inform your decisions, why not try our free hybrid working calculator.

What You Can Do

At we recommend you take the matter into your own hands and educate yourself about your energy usage. Our free digital tool helps you better understand how hybrid and home working impacts the environment and what steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your bills. Also, if you have worked from home, you may be able to claim tax back from HMRC.

Connect with us today

Discuss how you and your employees can support each other in reducing carbon emissions and your bills at home.

At we are all about small actions leading to big impact. Use our free tool to calculate your working emissions, and see just how your everyday actions effect the environment. Generate a personalised report into your CO2 emissions and get a better look at how simple lifestyle changes can lead to big savings. If you find it useful, please share it with colleagues and your sustainability team.

Try our free hybrid emissions calculatorContact us