Get back to the office

In another desperate attempt to protect their property values, the favourable media is now using the huge hikes in energy cost as a reason why people will be ‘forced’ to go back to the office. The claim is that people will be unable to afford the cost of working from home and will need to go to their former workplaces to stay warm and be able to drink tea and coffee.

Not that the stability of the office rental sector is unimportant, it underpins a lot of our pension funds after all, but the stories are utter rubbish.

The protestations have pointed out the expected cost of running a household, with such fear mongering as that the boiler will cost £3.60 an hour to run and boiling the kettle will cost £10p. I have no way of knowing if these figures are accurate but there must be a lot of assumptions. For example, if you live in a house with someone one else, it is likely that the heating will be on anyway and therefore the additional cost would be marginal. The assumption is that the heating is running constantly, which it won’t be. Also the boiling of a kettle depends a lot upon how much water is in it.

The articles have two glaring omissions though. Firstly they ignore the cost and inconvenience of travelling into the office. Transport relies upon energy and so it is inevitable that these costs will also rise, swinging the argument in favour of staying at home. Also there are the additional costs, such as that cup of coffee for the trip, which again will rise in cost and are significantly more than the cost of boiling that kettle.

The fact that energy costs for businesses will also rise has been ignored. There is no cap on business bills and so they are likely to rise even further than domestic bills. Indeed, this may cause businesses to request people to work from home to save energy costs from their potentially wasteful and expensive offices.

Don’t fall for it. There  should be no argument about home versus office. You should go and work where you can add the most value. Sometimes that will be with colleagues in your office, sometimes it will be at home and sometimes it will be somewhere else entirely.

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