Homeworking and your finances

ended 13. February 2022

This morning, the Office for National Statistics published a major report examining the effect of homeworking on individual finances and people's spending habits since the beginning of the pandemic. We sought the views of small business owners:

11 responses from the Newspage community

"Homeworking has been great for those who can work remotely, saving money on morning coffees, transport and food rather than spending when they got to the office. Conversely, it’s been terrible for small independent businesses that used to serve those consumers. Homeworking's flexibility, especially with the dramatic rise in technology, is redefining business and will continue to do so. We’ve had a paradigm shift. Time will tell the consequences, both the good and the unintended."
"Homeworking has definitely helped me to save money, as it means less lunches out, and more time to meal prep and plan my supermarket shopping. But it has definitely made my energy bills rise. And making hot drinks at home rather than buying them is a big saver."
Homeworking is costing me a fortune in coffee, biscuits, heating and electricity.. Because where we live is so behind on broadband speed, we have lost a lot of opportunities in gaining potential clients for retail products because its such an intermittent service with any/all broadband providers. Constant, sometimes daily power cuts we experience also hampered opportunity for us, having "UK power networks" tell us its because a bird must have hit the power line is pathetic, especially considering the blinking pigeons are happy to have "rumpy pumpy" on the power lines without making it cut off.. Obviously the main part of our business is and was impossible to do from home, we were completely reliant of retail sales online, we did OK but unfortunately being in a rural community, technology let us down.
"I remember way back in lockdown one that, as a household, we tightened all our expenditure including all streaming services and anything 'extra' we felt we could live without while we understood how business would go and if we'd have a wage to cover basic living. As the pandemic went on and the worry became less stressful we returned to our old spending habits and picked up new habits with more subscription services, high priced items delivered straight to door and an overall acceptance that we'd have deliveries turning up all the time whereas pre-COVID we'd feel the need to explain to each other whenever an Amazon purchase turned up."
"We look after two distinct groups of people where the financial impact of homeworking and lockdown were significantly in their favour, namely working professionals and retirees. The experience for most working professionals was that they mainly stayed on the same earnings, felt like they've been much more efficient at their jobs and really couldn't spend any money apart from the conveyor belt of Amazon parcels to their front doors. For retirees, it was more around the travel plans they had to cancel or delay and some are now a little more fearful than they were to be adventurous, so may not head off on those trips."
"What homeworking has saved me in diesel costs for my car, I have very likely spent on charging my laptop, powering lights and heating my home. I also can't be the only one who is spending more on fancy scented candles and reed diffusers?"
"After working as a financial services regulatory consultant for 10 years flying all over the UK, remote working has been an absolute pleasure and provided the opportunity to develop a business giving advice to those who need it most. Best of all I've managed to see more of my family. Whilst there have been increased costs from higher bills, I've saved a vast amount in travel and other costs."
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Homeworking has been amazing not just for our finances but also for a better life as a family. All the money saved from soaring travel costs, unnecessary coffees and outside lunches and dinners has meant we have more to spend on quality experiences with our loved ones. The shift to homeworking is perhaps the best thing that has come out of the pandemic. Of course, none of this remote working would have been possible without technology, which has been a real crown jewel. There’s now more time to do other things than spend endless hours travelling. The Government should be investing more in tech rather than trying to urge people back to the office as that would be a huge step backwards."
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"As I'm self employed, I predominantly work from home, apart from markets. Working from home has been amazing for my finances. When I was commuting to work, I'd get myself a coffee as a reward, buy lunch and of course train tickets. Now I work from home I'm able to save more money that goes towards my bills and supplies for my company. My partner also worked from home during the pandemic and we managed to save more than we could have imagined. It was all going on lunches during workdays and petrol."
Our my business Propflo has saved a huge amount on office rent, which has really helped us to keep lean in these tough times. Personally, cheaper lunches, and using less petrol put more pounds in my pocket, but I have seen my utility bills go up given I'm at home all day. Overall, I think homeworking has had a net positive effect on the bank balance!
The pandemic enforced period of home-working shook up the family finances for the betterment of the bank account, if not for our mental health. In the original lockdown I used my car about 5 or 6 times and so one tank of fuel ended up lasting over 5 months. The biggest work-related costs savings were found in not spending money on coffee and food on the go or in the expense of attending meetings where I’d have to drive hundreds of miles ordinarily. By far the biggest cost savings were through not spending money on going on holiday, eating out, day trips or buying new clothes, but cooking for four people three times a day pushed up our food and energy expenditure hugely. The second lockdown in the middle of winter was a very grey and socially isolating time, and so, I have happily gone straight back to the office whenever I could between WFH directives.