How working from home because of coronavirus could cost you more

Linda J. Dodson

The tens of thousands of employees who have recently switched to working from home are likely to see the effects reflected in their bank accounts next month.

The average Brit is saving approximately £55 each week by not socialising or doing leisure activities while in lockdown, according to research by price comparison site Workers also expect to cut down their spending by an extra £45 per week by not commuting or buying lunch. But are they right? 

Although some may make savings by not travelling to work, others are finding they forking out extra now that their home has become their office. Telegraph Money has crunched the numbers with wealth manager Hargreaves Lansdown on what you’ll spend and what you’ll save. 

Energy bills 

Potential cost per month: £52 

Being at home all day is likely to push up your energy usage – and your bill along with it. Prices are now capped at £1,162 a year, of which £1,006 is spent on usage. The rest is a standing charge which is the cost of having an energy supplier.

Minus weekends and 28 days of holiday – the legal minimum – most people work 226 days a year. Working from home for 226 days and being at home for double the usual time on those days would add £624 to your annual cost, or £52 a month.

Sarah Coles of Hargreaves Lansdown suggested those having to work remotely use the opportunity to review how much they pay on their energy bills.

Research by Look After My Bills, an automatic energy provider switching service, showed that the average loyal customer pays £169 more than the average new customer.


Potential cost per month: £25 

Employees working from home cannot afford to have unreliable broadband. Opting for a fibre or cable connection, which is better quality, could mean paying an extra £25 a month or even more.

You can get a standard connection (11 Mb) with Plusnet for £19.95 a month, for example, while some of its deals on fibre connections offering 36 Mb would set you back £31.99 – a difference of around £12 a month.

Employees should also consider changing their broadband provider if they find they’re paying through the nose. The Telegraph has previously reported that households who fail to switch to a better internet deal pay up to £700 extra a year than those that do. 

Phone contract

Potential cost per month: £134 

Even a standard call on a landline can cost up to 16p per minute and many providers also charge a 23p connection charge. Making 10 calls a day lasting three minutes each, for example, would cost around £134 a month. 

People working from home could save money by upgrading their landline to unlimited calls. Most packages cost between £15 and £35 a month. They could also shave their bill by taking out a SIM-only mobile phone contract with unlimited calls. These can be purchased from around £5 per month. 


Potential saving per month: £146

The average commuter spends £146 a month on their commute, according to online jobs board Totaljobs. However, this number will vary wildly depending on your journey. 

A monthly travel card covering zones 1 to 4 of London’s public transport network will set you back just under £200,  while a standard monthly season ticket from Guildford to London costs around £368.

Those who have already purchased a season ticket should be able to apply to the train company to get their money back if they are unable to use it – however many are finding they are being shortchanged on refunds. 


Potential saving per month: £38 

Buying food and drink while out and about is often more expensive than cooking at home. A typical sandwich and coffee from a café costs between £5 and £6. Assuming you spend £2 less per day on food working from home, you could be saving £38 a month.

Total cost/saving

Based on these calculations the average employee would end up spending an extra £27 a month to work from home. However, those who take the opportunity to review their bills and find better deals may find they cut down their spending not just while they work from home, but permanently.

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