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

  • If every homeworker went to the office one day a week, it would save Britons an estimated £21 million a week on their energy bills[1]

  • Running just one extra dishwasher cycle at home adds £5 million to weekly bills, while electric heaters in home offices can cost an additional £4 million[1]

  • The most popular day for homeworkers to return to the office is 16 August[2] — but a fifth of employees don’t plan to go back for more than 18 months[3]

  • The number of people working from home five days a week is set to drop by 41%[4] when all restrictions are lifted

  • The ideal work-from-home combination is three days at home, two days in the  office[5] - which would cut bills by £42 million a week[3] 

  • Brighton is the UK’s WFH capital, one of three cities where employees spend more than half their time at home[6]

  • Uswitch offers tips on how to reduce your energy bill while working from home. 

If every homeworker returned to the office for one day a week, it would save an estimated £21 million on weekly energy bills[1], according to new research from Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service. 

Workers are cautious about returning to the office, with most planning to return on 16th August[2] — almost a month after ‘freedom day’ of 19th July. 

A significant number of people have no plans to head back to the workplace in the short term, with a fifth of employees (20%) saying they don’t plan to return to their offices for more than 18 months[3]. 

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[1]. Boiling a kettle an extra four times a week would cost just £0.07 — saving only £3.78 over a whole year of homeworking[1].

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[6]. 

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. In an interesting sign of the changing times, Newcastle residents plan to increase their time at home[6].

More than 16 months on from the first lockdown restrictions, almost a quarter (24%) of employees are still working from home five days a week[7].

However, the number of people working from home every day is expected to fall by over two-fifths (42%) once restrictions are lifted[4]. Employees prefer splitting their time between home and the office, and seven in ten workers (70%) are hoping to spend at least three days working from home in the future[5].

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.

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.”

Find Uswitch’s full list of tips to help save money on your energy bills here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Rianna York
Phone: 07817 083 280
Email: rianna.york@rvu.co.uk
Twitter: @UswitchPR

Notes to editors:
Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,000 UK adults from the 28th May to 1st June 2021. Results were weighted to reflect a nationally representative criteria. 
1. Respondents were asked: ‘How many times a week do you do the following during work hours?’ with answers including using the kettle, make lunch using an oven, make lunch using the microwave, run dishwasher, have heating on, use electric heater, leave radio on, leave TV on. Uswitch used desk research to estimate the average energy use in kWh for each item. Average cost of energy while working from home = £5.58 a week. £5.58/5 = £1.12 a day. There are 32,487,000 people employed in the UK. 58% of people have worked from home. 58% of 32,487,000 = 18,842,460. 18,842,460 X £1.12 = £21,103,555.2
2. Respondents were asked: ‘When do you expect to return to the office?’ Average calculated to be August 16. 
3. Respondents were asked: ‘When do you expect to return to the office?’ 20% said not before 2023.
4. Respondents were asked ‘How many days a week have you worked from home/do you expect to work from home in the future?’ 24% said they worked from home 5 days a week now, and 14% said they expect to work from home 5 days a week in the future. Percentage decrease from 24% to 14% = 41%. 
5. Respondents were asked ‘How many days a week have you worked from home/do you expect to work from home in the future?’ 70% of those who have worked from home say they expect to work 3 days or more at home in the future. 
6. See table in release.
7. Respondents were asked ‘How many days a week have you worked from home/do you expect to work from home in the future?’ 24% said they worked from home 5 days a week now. 

About Uswitch 

Uswitch is one of the UK’s top comparison websites for home services switching, including energy, broadband and mobiles. 

More people go to Uswitch to switch their energy, broadband and mobile than any other site, and we have saved consumers over £2.7 billion off their bills since we launched in September 2000.

Free mobile app Utrack also helps households manage their home energy usage and make potential savings. 

Uswitch is part of RVU, a group of online brands with a mission to empower consumers to make more confident home services, insurance and financial decisions.