Is it cheaper to work in the office or from home?

Cover your working costs with an unsecured loan from Simple Fast Loans…


2020 completely changed the way that many people work. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused chaos for employment. Many jobs have been lost, other people are on furlough, and others are working at home – many for the very first time.

But now, an estimated 57% of people want to be able to continue working from home, either all or part of the time, if they are given the choice. One of the main reasons for this is to avoid commuting and gain more time to spend with the family and do other activities.

It does appear that many businesses are now open to making remote working a normal practice. So when lockdown is over, if you get the choice should you work from the office or from home?

As well as taking into consideration the practical aspects of your decision, you also need to weigh up the costs. Is it cheaper to work in the office or from home? Interestingly, there is a different set of costs for both environments. 

Let’s take a look at five of each.


Five costs of working in an office

1. Commuting

This has got to be the main expense, as well as probably taking a huge chunk of your time. Unless you live very near to your office, so can either walk or cycle, you are going to have to pay either for public transport or for petrol and car parking – plus maintenance and wear and tear on your car. Either way, commuting doesn’t come cheap.

2. Food and drink

No matter all good intentions about taking your own coffee and lunch into work, there will be days when you end up buying food and drink from cafes and takeaways. The cost of this may not seem much at the time, but it really does add up. For example, if you bought three coffees at around £2 each for 46-47 weeks of the year that would cost almost £300.

3. Clothes

When you are working from home you can wear whatever you like, apart from the odd Zoom top from time to time perhaps. But when you are in the office there are certain dress codes to adhere to, and you end up buying work clothes to keep up. Even one item a month soon starts adding up.

4. Domestic help

If you are away from home on a regular basis, it is likely to mean that you need others to help you take care of some of your domestic responsibilities. Whether this is childcare, dog walking or help with cleaning or domestic errands, you will end up paying someone else to do it.

5. Socialising

One of the reasons we enjoy working in an office is that we are social beings. It is one of the things that many people have missed during lockdown. And if you go back to the office you will soon get swept up in its social world again. Birthday cakes, after work drinks, baby gifts, sponsoring people, games and competitions . . . it all adds up.


Five costs of working from home

1. Home office

During lockdown you may have found a quiet corner somewhere to work, or just used the kitchen table. But if you are going to be working from home regularly in future, it makes sense to set up a proper home office. Whether this is a spare room, an outdoor building, or part of a bedroom, you are likely to need furniture and equipment to get it kitted up.

2. Stationery

When you work in an office, everything is there that you need. And if it’s not, then someone will organise it for you. Whether it’s printer paper, plastic wallets, staples, labels, post-it-notes etc it’s all there somewhere. But when you are working at home you need to build up a supply of these essentials, and it’s surprising how much that can all cost.

3. Technology

When you decide to work from home long term, you may well need better quality broadband connection and computer equipment than you currently have. Whilst it is worth upgrading what you have, it will almost certainly cost you more money.

4. Utility bills

You may already have noticed that your utility bills – particularly the winter ones – are higher than the same time last year. If you were previously out of the home most days, but are now there, you will be using more energy than you were before. No matter how economical you try to be during the working day, this is definitely an inevitable cost of home working.

5. Food and drink

We also mentioned this as a cost of working in the office, but it applies in different ways to both environments. When you are working from home, you don’t have the temptation to buy takeaway food and drink. But you do have food in the fridge and cupboards, and it can be all too easy to eat far more than you need to. Which pushes your shopping bill higher. You need to find a way of distinguishing work days from weekend days, and plan your food and drink to fit your circumstances.


So we can see that there are costs of both working in an office and working from home. 

The good news for those working from home is that there are sources of financial help available. For example, your employer may be able to help with the costs of office furniture or equipment, stationery supplies, broadband and phone bills. 

You can also claim tax relief if your bills and other expenses increase as a result of working from home. You can find more details about this, and how to apply, on the Gov UK website.

But whether you work in the office or from home, there may be times when you need some additional short term financial help. For example you might want to set up a really nice home office that could double up as a den for the family. Or, if you are going back to the office after a long period of time you may decide to replace your car or to revamp your image and invest in a new set of office clothes.

Either way, if you need some help getting the money together to do this, then it may be worth considering an unsecured loan from Simple Fast Loans. This would enable you to get things sorted when you need to, ready to work at your best – whether home or office based.


Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Simple Fast Loans.