Return to office could cut home energy bills by £21 million a week

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IF every homeworker returned to the office for one day a week, it would save an estimated £21 million on weekly energy bills.

Workers are cautious about returning to the office, with most planning to return on 16th August, almost a month after ‘freedom day’ of 19th July, according to Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service. 

A significant number of people have no plans to head back to the workplace in the short term, with a fifth of employees saying they don’t plan to return to their offices for more than 18 months.

work from home - Research News Scotland
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash. Last year’s lockdown has transformed the habits of millions of office-based staff, as many worked from home for the first time.

With workers saving time and money by not commuting, and many experiencing a better work-life balance, millions will continue to work at home for at least some of the week. 

However, those who decide to return to their workplace could make significant savings on their energy bills, according to Uswitch experts.

At-home workers have been using more energy in the past year by having the heating on, using the kettle more, cooking lunches and even having the TV or radio running in the background. 

Using electric heaters to warm up garages and outdoor sheds converted into offices could cost homeworkers an additional £4.7 million a week, while the need to use the dishwasher for an extra cycle could add a further £5.2 million to energy bills.

kettle  - Research News Scotland
Photo by yue su on Unsplash. Boiling a kettle an extra four times a week would cost just £0.07 — saving only £3.78 over a whole year of homeworking.

Brighton is the UK’s home-working capital, with employees spending more than 53% of their working week at home.

It is one of three cities where workers spend the majority of their time at home, with the other being London and Belfast. 

However, London is the city most likely to hang onto the work-from-home habit, with employees predicting they will spend 44% of their time at home once all restrictions are lifted.

Work from home - Research News Scotland
Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash. In an interesting sign of the changing times, Newcastle residents plan to increase their time at home.

More than 16 months on from the first lockdown restrictions, almost a quarter of employees are still working from home five days a week.

However, the number of people working from home every day is expected to fall by over two-fifths once restrictions are lifted.

Uswitch is offering consumers tips on how to save energy while working from home, including unplugging any unnecessary or unused devices, cooking with a microwave rather than the oven, and not overfilling the kettle.

work from home - Research News Scotland
Photo by Luke Peters on Unsplash. Employees prefer splitting their time between home and the office.

Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “It’s not long until freedom day, but a lot of workers still want to take it slowly when it comes to returning to the office.

“Millions of employees have enjoyed the changes to their work-life balance over the past year, so it’s not surprising that the vast majority plan to spend three days a week working from home.

“Those who return to the workplace for at least one day a week will save money on their energy bills, as they cook fewer meals, make fewer cups of tea and use the heating less.

“If you’re working from home, you can save energy by cooking using a microwave, unplugging any devices when they are not in use and only using enough water for the number of cups of tea you are making.”