Many of us have worked from home over the last 2 years and are now facing returning to the office and the daily commute.
We have saved money whilst at home yet inflation has increased food costs, fuel and other travel costs. People returning to their offices are now saying that they can’t afford it, “Incomes of all types, particularly wages, are just not keeping up with inflation,” says James Smith, research director at London think-tank Resolution Foundation.
Claire, a manager at a business events company in London, is certainly far more conscious now of how much she’s spending on her days in the office. When she worked from home during the pandemic, she put the money she usually spent on transport, takeaway lunches, office wear and after-work drinks into a savings pot. “I think I saved something crazy like £6,000 in six months,” she says. But when her employers reinstituted office days, the sudden change in her outgoings came as a shock.
To make matters worse, her return train ticket to work has risen from £35 pre-pandemic to almost £50. “Having a mortgage, the rise in utility bills, council tax, income tax and the rising train fares, it’s just becoming impossible,” she says. Claire’s employer has upped salaries to meet market rates but, says Claire, “it’s really not enough”.
These rising costs mean that workers who can do their jobs from home are understandably reluctant to head to the office unless they absolutely need to.
We often forget that there is a social cost to commuting the author spent 20 years commuting into London and missed their children in the evenings only being able to spend weekend time with them.
The obvious advantages are travel and subsistence costs but there are other benefits too.
Did you know that there are tax advantages to home working?
Workers who had to work from home during the pandemic can now claim the working from home allowance for the 2021/22 tax year.
The allowance gives workers £6 a week to cover any working from home costs and can be applied for any time after the new tax year.
The allowance covers additional tax-deductible costs for employees working from home to cover; additional heating, electricity and business phone calls.
The maximum amount reimbursed was previously £4 a week, until April 5th, and £6 per week after April 5th.
The £6 per week working from home allowance is worth £62 for basic rate (20%) taxpayers; £125 for higher rate (40%) taxpayers and £140 for additional rate (45%) taxpayers or the 2021/22 tax year.
HMRC commented that people could claim the working from home allowance for the entire 2021/22 tax year if they had worked from home for just one day because of the coronavirus restrictions preventing them from attending their place of work.
HMRC confirmed the new working from home allowance rules on April 6th and those who haven’t claimed this allowance for the previous tax year 2020/21 can also claim this allowance at the same time as the current tax year.
A fantastic way to separate home from work is a Garden Office. You then have the discipline of going to a place of work but a commute of only a few feet. Working remotely in a garden building office space is less stressful, decorated to your taste and is on your doorstep.
Dunster House manufacturer high quality Log Cabins and Garden Offices at very competitive prices. They can be supplied fully insulated so that you are warm in the winter and cool in the summer and therefore get year round use.
So instead of getting up at 6.30am and rushing to the Station to get that crowded expensive train you could instead be having a lazy relaxed breakfast, a little yoga perhaps to stretch out the muscles and relax the mind then the short walk to work. All the while keeping in mind the savings you are accruing.
The rising cost of travel has caused many workers to reconsider commuting to the office, although things may change in the winter because of high heating bills, new research suggests. A survey of 500 UK workers indicated that almost half plan to stay away from offices because of the high cost of commuting. A study of thousands of employees in several other countries, including the United States, Australia and France, found similar results.
The average season ticket to London is nearly £5000 and will continue to rise, a Dunster House Severn Log Cabin 7m x3m (21sq m) is under this price (as of 5th May 2022). You gain a valuable addition to your home that your rail fare has paid for!
Did you know you may be eligible to claim tax relief on your Garden Office depending on your circumstances?
The issues and legislation surrounding claiming tax back on your Garden Office can be quite complicated, so we highly recommend you consult an accountant or lawyer about your individual circumstances beforehand.
So before committing to a return to the office consider again the advantages of remote working, the savings both visible and invisible as well as the quality time saved to spend with family and friends Dunster House Log cabins are ideal spaces to use as an office with stylish good looks and an enviable range to suit all tastes.
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