Energy price increases send remote workers back to the office
Energy price hikes may pose a greater challenge to people working from home, forcing a return to the office. In the UK, 45% of hybrid employees are considering commuting to work to save money on utilities (Instantprint, 2022). These expenses can be particularly pronounced in cities like London – where household energy bills for people going into the office full-time could hit £492 ($560) next January, compared to £683 ($777) for those working from home (Bloomberg, 2022).
Some remote workers may opt to skip town altogether. But as the lights on tourist attractions in Berlin and Paris are being dimmed to conserve energy, Northern European cities aren't likely to be popular travel destinations. UK agency TravelTime World recently launched its 'energy tourism' campaign The Heat is On to encourage Europeans to fly south, arguing that long-stay holidays in warm locales will be cheaper than heating bills in northern climes.
This won’t be an option for everyone, however, including the cash-strapped households we mention in our reporting for members, Cost-of-Living Crisis: Feeding Families. Instead, consumers are turning to cheaper solutions like portable electric heaters, with two Swiss retailers seeing a 300% increase in demand, compared to last year (Business Insider, 2022). Slashing essential costs is a new priority for consumers, and tips on staying warm without turning the heating on are being circulated online.
However, despite current anxieties, there’s reason to believe that home working is here to stay, with lifestyle factors being a greater determinant of remote work’s longevity than short-term cost increases. Still, companies would do well to consider the financial stressors of lower-income employees who are disproportionately affected by rising utility bills.