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Are There Any Upsides to the COVID Pandemic?

November 18, 2020

Whilst we all know that the switch to working from home rather than commuting to the office offers some savings.  Two documents briefly captured my attention today that illustrate just how much better off employers and employees can be going forward.

Tax Relief is available for working at home

The first was a note from HMRC advising that employees can claim £312 per year in tax relief on additional household expenses incurred when working from home.  This is in addition to any savings incurred through not commuting, buying coffees, lunches, work clothes, etc.

For employers I came across this list of expenses that can be reduced or eliminated if we switch to home working:

  1. Rent
  2. Business rates
  3. Water and sewage charges
  4. Estate maintenance
  5. Building maintenance
  6. Window cleaning
  7. Office cleaning
  8. Building insurance
  9. Energy charges
  10. Air conditioning maintenance
  11. Security service charge
  12. Fire detection maintenance
  13. Electrical testing portable and fixed line
  14. Telecom leased lines
  15. Telephone system maintenance
  16. Gas safety certification
  17. Toilet cleaning, maintenance and consumables
  18. Kitchen and vending provision
  19. Refuse management and disposal
  20. Health and safety compliance
  21. Water testing
  22. Pest control
  23. Reception
  24. Dilapidations at end of lease
  25. Office re-fit

Whilst the financial savings are attractive and quantifiable it is less easy to measure the cost of not being able to have ‘water cooler’ conversations with colleagues:

  • Fewer problems are solved through an informal chat
  • News travels erratically, not all of it true
  • Trust takes longer to build but can erode faster
  • People feel isolated
  • Our shared sense of purpose fades
  • Domestic challenges can’t be escaped and encroach more on performance
  • We don’t feel part of a team as we used to, studies suggest this can trigger the same responses in the brain as physical pain

Organisations therefore need to:

Budget for activities that rejuvenate a sense of belonging in their staff

Improve meeting protocols to build relationships and generate ideas

Train their managers to support remote workers

Fresh Tracks can help in all of these areas, get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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