The Covid-19 Pandemic has seen more and more people working from home as businesses have been forced to find new ways to operate during lockdowns. In the UK alone, the number of people working remotely rose from 21% to 24% in just the six months between March and September of 2020.
While there are savings to be made in not having to commute to work and not eating out for lunch, many British remote workers have been surprised about how much they are spending while working at home. In fact, the UK rates in the top ten countries in the world for people working at home. But are there hidden costs when telecommuting? In this article, we will look at the costs of working from home in the UK.
1. Broadband Fees
Working from home has only become common in recent years due to the availability of fast, reliable broadband. Particularly during the pandemic, the importance of this has become clear as many businesses are using programs like Zoom for staff meetings and conference calls and this software needs a solid internet connection. As can be seen in a study carried out by Compare the Market Australia, the average cost of a fixed-line broadband package in the UK is $35.71 a month which helped push the UK up to 9th in the world for most expensive working from home costs.
2. Heating Costs
As well as high broadband fees, the cost of heating in the UK is incredibly high, and this has been a big political issue for some time now. The British remote worker spends on average $339.84 a month to heat the house all day in order to work from home. This is a huge outlay, especially because the UK’s notoriously bad weather means that many homes still need heating way into Spring.
3. Electricity Bills
Electricity bills in the UK are another reason why it is such an expensive place to work from home. It costs $0.18 cents per kWh for electricity in the UK, and while this may not be too dissimilar from other countries in Western Europe, it is significantly more than the $0.13 that households pay on average for electricity in the US. Working from home requires a lot of electricity for computers and other equipment and these costs can really start to add up.
4. Cost of Computer and Other Necessary Equipment
In addition to the cost of running computers and other work-related technology, the equipment itself is very expensive in the UK. While the UK government may have temporarily reduced the rate of VAT to encourage consumer spending during the pandemic, the standard rate in the UK is 20%, with expectations that this will rise post-Covid-19 to pay off the deficit. This means that goods and services in the UK are very expensive so unless remote workers use a company computer, they will have to fork out a lot of sterling just to do their job.
With remote working only likely to become more common in the future, knowing how much it will cost to work from home is vital. While remote workers may save money on transport and other work-related costs, the cost of staying home to work in the UK means that British workers may not feel the benefits of those savings.