Employees who have been lucky enough to keep their jobs and working from home during the pandemic have found themselves hundreds of pounds better off per month, simply because they’re not leaving the house.
With working from home the new normal for 49% of working adults in the UK, one UK company has found that there’s an unexpected financial benefit for ex-commuters who have swapped their office desk for the dining room table.*
UK based health and safety software specialists Protecting.co.uk have found on average that office workers were £500 better off a month just by working at home, just by cutting down on travel, food, and clothing expenses.
“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,” says company spokesperson Mark Hall.
“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.”
“It’s like a pay rise without getting a pay rise”
The Office for National Statistics has revealed that collectively the UK has saved £157billion over the three months of lockdown**, with the average person saving £495 a month.
Hall: “It’s no surprise that people are saving more when they’ve been stuck at home, there were no pubs, shops or restaurants open to spend in, and no need to fork out on clothing when we’ve all been lounging around in our comfy gear at home”.
Health and safety experts Protecting.co.uk asked people online if they have been able to save during the lockdown period, and it’s safe to say that not everyone has felt financially better off.
- Sarah, Leeds: “I’ve saved so much money by not going out for lunches with the girls in the office or going to staff drinks on a Friday, that I can afford a holiday when all of this is over. It’s definitely made me realise that I can save money if I cut out some of my habits.”
- Aaron, St. Albans: “I started a help-to-buy ISA last summer, but now I’m not paying for the train I’ve managed to put enough money together for a house deposit – I was definitely not expecting to leave lockdown this well off, it’s like a pay rise without getting a pay rise!”
- Shamika, Bristol: “There’s no such thing as saving money when you’ve got kids to entertain, especially since they haven’t been able to go to school. I would never usually spend this much on books, games and food to keep them busy.”
- David, Fleet: “Technically I’m £500 up a month from saving on rail and food expenses, but I’ve probably spent more than that on boredom buys online. Who knew I’d need a new pizza oven?”
- Charlie, Fife: “Saving money? Are you kidding? I’ve spent more on takeaways in the last few months than I would normally spend on my rail card – not being able to see my friends and family has felt really isolating.”
“It definitely varies depending on individual circumstance, but working from home does have its financial benefits,” says spokesman Mark Hall.
“For example, I stay in pyjama bottoms and just chuck on a shirt for any online meetings, so I’m saving myself money by only having to buy half an outfit!”
What to do with this extra cash
Now you’re quids in, you have a lot of options of what to do with your money, so here are a few ideas Protecting.co.uk have put together for you to consider:
- Save it – think about things you want to save up for in the future, be it a house or a holiday, and work towards it. Besides, it’s also a good idea to make sure you have a few months’ worth of money stored away just in case.
- Invest it – Investing money might seem like something your grandparents did back in the day, but if you play your cards right you might make a nice return on your cash that can kick start a saving pot.
- Splash it – If you’ve got nothing you want to save for and you’ve managed to squirrel plenty of money way, why not treat yourself after a miserable few months and enjoy the money you’ve been piling up.
- Share it – There are millions of people suffering financial hardship during lockdown. Give to your local foodbank or a charity of your choice. It’s nice to be nice.
- Pay off your debts – Possibly the most sensible idea on the list, but think about it, if you’re not paying towards debts every month then you’re going to be much better off in the long run!
Hall: “Ultimately, just make the most of it. Nobody knows how long this cash boost will last, so enjoy it whilst it lasts and find a way to make your money work for you.”
Protecting.co.uk have provided a free to use COVID 19 risk assessment that can be completed online or downloaded and adapted https://protecting.co.uk/covid-19-risk-assessment/