Savvy Britons shun working from home to save on huge heating bills

As energy bills soar, Britons are opting to stay warm in the office rather than working from home and having to pay

Maira Butt
Tuesday 24 October 2023 22:57 BST
<p>One in five workers said free heating at their workplace encouraged them to commute </p>

One in five workers said free heating at their workplace encouraged them to commute

Winter is coming and so is the two-year anniversary of the cost of living crisis.

Now, a recent survey suggests savvy Brits are opting to commute to the office rather than work from home to save money on their energy bills.

The latest Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index reports one in five workers said free heating at their workplace encouraged them to commute with the number rising to 24 percent for those aged 65 and over.

Covid changes to working patterns meant 46 per cent of the workforce were working from home in April 2020 compared to only 5 per cent in January of the same year. Employees welcomed the convenience and flexibility and workplaces rallied to meet new expectations.

But household energy bills began to soar shortly after, reaching a high of 54 percent last year. For some workers, working from home is now a luxury they can’t afford.

Working from home, once the employee holy grail, is getting too expensive for some workers to keep up with

While inflation remained steady, the cost of living crisis has continued to affect Britons.

Chris O’Shea, chief executive of Centrica which owns British Gas and is the UK’s largest household energy supplies, fears “the worst is yet to come” as Ofgem revealed consumer energy debt had reached a record £2.6 billion - the highest ever.

Analysts at Cornwall Insight forecast bills could reach almost £1,900 over the coldest months of winter under the UK government’s energy price cap with some experts suggesting they could reach a high of £2,000 early next year.

Jo Bertram, managing director of Virgin Media O2 Business, said: “Our data shows increasing numbers of UK workers heading into the office — with free heating and the promise of stronger working relationships deemed more valuable as businesses continue to shape a balanced hybrid future of work.”

Ms Bertram added that workers were “also increasingly looking to make the most of cheaper transport options, with many turning to public transport and walking to save costs”.

Other findings from the survey reveal just under one fifth of workers used public transport with forty-four per cent citing cost savings as the biggest factor for using it more often.

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