After a year and a half of working from home, Brits are starting to reevaluate the pros and cons of giving up commuting. A survey by Real Business Rescue found that some people are missing the office, but also found that many are very happy about all the time and money saved by being able to work from home.
What the numbers say
Only 14% of Brits are still working from home full-time, with most having a hybrid schedule and 42% back to commuting five days a week. For those working from home, one of the biggest savings is time. According to Real Business Rescue, the average work commute takes 46 minutes each day. This adds up to 11,667 minutes in commuting time every year – the equivalent of eight days.
While many are enjoying the extra ‘found’ days, others admit they actually miss the commute to work. This is because many Brits are using commute time as ‘me’ time. About 35% use that time to listen to music, while 32% just enjoy the drive and 9% catch up on their reading.
Financially, working from home is much cheaper
The average Brit spends £126 a month commuting, according to Real Business Rescue. This means working from home will result in £1,500 a year in savings. But the savings are even bigger for certain groups. For example, 16-24-year-olds have monthly commute costs of £191, while 25-34 olds spend £169 a month.
Those taking the train spend much more at an average of £70 per week plus parking costs near the train station. In fact, according to research by Confused.com Brits are spending as much as £544 for their monthly commute once you add costs like lunch and snacks, social activities, and items bought during breaks at work.
The numbers look good for drivers too. Confused.com research says the average daily commute to work is 21 miles. Less driving not only means less money spent on petrol but also a potential reduction in car insurance premiums because of reduced mileage.
Where the savings are going
About 15% of people are using the money they’re saving by working from home to treat themselves. But a much larger percentage are looking to use that money better by saving or investing it.
Savings of £1,500 could be used to set up an emergency fund or start savings towards a bigger purchase in the future. You could also look into opening a cash ISA, which stretches further because any interest earned in a cash ISA account is tax free.
Other ways to make the most of those savings
- Use them to pay off high-interest debt. If you end up accruing credit card debt during the pandemic, it could be a good time to clear that up while you’re working from home.
- Review your retirement account options and see whether you can contribute additional money to your long-term future.
- Figure out your savings goals and see where your money could work better for you. If you’re thinking long term, investing in the stock market might be a better option than holding the money in a savings account.