Office workers 'spend £40,000 on tea and whip-rounds over course of careers'

The hot drinks, cards and highlighters all add up 

Will Worley
Monday 09 January 2017 12:15 GMT
Step away from the cake, warn dentists
Step away from the cake, warn dentists (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Office workers spend an average of £40,128 over the course of their careers on treats, traditions and equipment associated with the job, research has found.

The average employee spends £1,003.20 a year on expenses such as tea runs, after work drinks and leaving presents, according to the Nationwide Current Accounts survey of 2,000 people.

Added up across a 40 year career, the cost is roughly equivalent to around two years’ salary after tax for the average British worker.

The cost does not take into account commuting or daily meals.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Christmas time, with its tradition of drinks and gift giving, was the most expensive for workers, who spend around £138.36 on office festivities.

And the survey found employees on average spent more on hot drinks and sweets and treats, at £130.68, than they did on socialising on nights out with colleagues, on which they spent just £102.24.

Indeed, the average worker spent £66.36 on tea and coffee alone in a year.

Ten per cent of everyone surveyed socialised with colleagues at least once a week but far more – 35 per cent – admitted they didn’t enjoy going out with their co-workers.

But other, more menial costs, were also significant. The total average cost of stationary and other equipment, such as pens and highlighters, came to £79.08.

Office whip-rounds, too, were expensive. Employees spent £50.28 on leaving presents and cards for colleagues, £66.60 on birthday gifts, and £73.20 went towards retirements and bereavements, the total cost coming to nearly £200.

However, the majority of people said they were happy to contribute to a colleague’s card and present if they were leaving or having a birthday.

Alan Oliver, Nationwide’s Head of External Affairs, said: “Working in an office can be an expensive business, especially in big teams. While most people value the camaraderie of working in a team, birthdays, retirements and charity fundraisers can take their toll on our wallets and purses.

“We would recommend putting in only what you can afford. Developing a regular savings habit can also help in meeting many of life’s financial challenges.”

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