Maxwell Stephens

The implications of working from home during the energy crisis

For most of us, the recent sharp rise in energy prices has certainly been a cause for concern, but for those who work from home this increase in energy costs may be causing more worry than for those who spend their working life in the office. Numerous publications and studies have highlighted the possible impact to living costs for home workers. Recently the MailOnline reported that those working from home could end up paying an additional £139 in November, worsening as we enter the colder months, seeing costs rise to £142 in December and then as much as a  £191 increase in January. The telegraph reported that employees choosing to work from home may end up paying £209 more per month! 

According to USwitch, those working from home are estimated to use 75% more gas and 25% more electricity than somebody who works in the office – assuming that those working from home would use their central heating for 24 hours per day and those who work in the office use theirs for 14 hours of the day. Although these alarming figures may be quite pessimistic in some cases (and straight up just clickbait or scaremongering in others), it’s still a real and present consideration for those spending the majority of their time in their own homes. The situation may not be as dire as you think, and may just require a bit of an adjustment to behaviour and mindset to help through these tough times.

Dress for work

This may seem like it goes without saying, but getting properly dressed for the workday is one of the single most important changes you can make to help cut down on your energy usage when working from home. During the pandemic lockdown, a YouGov poll suggested that over a third of people worked from home in their pyjamas (with around 10% not even putting on trousers!). Obviously the weather may have had a part to play in this more ‘relaxed’ work attire but studies suggest that even in the colder weather people will choose to go for the thermostat before going for the jumper. Getting properly dressed has the double-edged advantage of not only keeping you warm, but also helps you to get into ‘work mode’ and keep a clear distinction between your work and home life – something which is particularly important for those who work from home.

Strategic Heating

You need to start being much more strategic about where and when you use your central heating. If you’re going to be the only one at home during the day and you’re sticking to one room in the house, turn off all the other radiators in the house. Also, by simply turning your heating down by 1°C, you can save up to £80 per year, so knock it down a few more degrees and put a jumper on to really see some savings.

Look for other workspace options

By far the best way to save energy when working from home is very simple, just don’t work from home! With the considerable increase of remote working following the tumultuous events of the past several years, there has been a significant increase in shared office spaces available. Even if going into a shared office isn’t for you, have a look for local coffee shops, libraries, or anywhere you can go to take advantage of some free lighting, heating and wifi. If it’s local, have a walk there and save on the commute as well. Not only does reduce costs but getting out of the house and working else-where can boost mental wellbeing and has been shown to significantly improve productivity. 

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