The unexpected benefits of working from home

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Date: 8 September 2020

A male employee counts up how much he has saved while working from home

Employees are not only more productive when they work from home, they are also financially better off, according to new research.

Employees who have been able to keep their jobs and work from home during the pandemic have found themselves hundreds of pounds better off per month, according to a study by health and safety software specialist Protecting.co.uk.

Its findings show that those who work from home are, on average, £500 better off a month because they have spent significantly less on travel, food and clothes.

"Working from home has the unexpected benefit of saving people a lot of money because they aren't having to pay travel costs to go anywhere or splash out on expensive coffees and lunches," said Mark Hall of Protecting.co.uk.

"And now that staff have proved to employers that they can work efficiently at home, travelling into an office may seem like nothing more than an expensive commute."

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average person has saved £495 a month because of working from home.

Protecting's online poll of workers has found that while some people have managed to save for deposits on a house and for holidays, others have incurred additional expenses such as takeaways and online purchases.

Even so, it's clear that many working Brits have been able to save money during lockdown. A survey commissioned by Eskenzi PR has found that 73% of British workers are better off financially since lockdown. Of over the 1,000 people surveyed, 30% said they saved on lunches by working from home, 60% of people saved money by not going out and 50% saved on commuting costs.

The study also found that almost 90% of those employed in the financial sector reported savings. Similarly, those in IT, legal, HR and education also managed to increase their savings during the months of lockdown. Even key workers were able to save, despite still having to commute to work.

Food has been a major factor, with 30% of respondents citing this as one of the main reasons they were able to save money. Workers managed to save an average of £820 over the six-month lockdown period just by making lunch at home. Government schemes such as Eat Out to Help Out also helped.

Although spending is starting to increase as people go back into their workplaces, 75% of respondents said that their employers will allow flexible working, enabling them to continue saving.

"It all comes down to the employers now - will most of them allow their staff the freedom to work flexibly?" said Yvonne Eskenzi, co-founder of Eskenzi PR . "My gut feeling is that it's going to happen whether employers like it or not as a revolution has happened right under our noses."

Employers may well be swayed by evidence that employees are more productive when they work from home. A poll of 1,000 office workers currently working from home, conducted by Utility Bidder, has found that 45% of workers said their personal productivity had improved, while another 22% said their team's productivity had improved.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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