WITH the energy price cap set to be revisited in October and again in January, fuel bills are set to soar. So, many people are questioning whether the flexibility that working from home affords will become less affordable. Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd shares some essential tips that can make a difference this winter.
Rethink your workspace. Your small dark bedroom may not be the place you would choose to spend the day, but it is more energy efficient to heat one room than the whole house all day. What’s more, if there is more than one of you working from home, consider sharing your workspace.
We tend to keep our homes warmer than the office, so consider dropping the thermostat by a degree or two and dig out that old company hoodie you were given when you joined. It will keep you warm and you will be ‘on brand’ during those Zoom or Teams calls.
Avoid electric fires. The cost to run a 1,500-watt electric heater for six hours a day, five days a week is over £8. However, once you heat your workspace, don’t forget to shut the door to keep it warm.
Don’t keep your devices on charge. Keeping mobile phones and laptops on permanent charge isn’t good for long-term battery life. But the cost of running these devices is surprisingly low at less than £1 per year to charge a phone and less than £15 to run a laptop. That is why coffee shops are happy for you to plug in, especially when you are paying over £3 for a latte. However, they can also be great places to be productive for an hour or two.
If you need to charge your phone in the car, do not fear. Whilst the fuel prices at the pumps are also at record levels the cost to top up your device battery is negligible.
Also, check out the battery setting on your laptop as some (such as Lenovo ThinkPad’s) can ensure your laptop charges optimally to reduce stress on the battery and optimise power usage. Just don’t forget to shut down at the end of the day.
Use one screen. Many of us have become accustomed to using two monitors at our desks but is it necessity or habit? Switch one off and save around £25 a year.
Keep your printer switched on. We are often told not to use standby, but most home printers now switch to highly efficient low power and sleep modes which use as little as 0.5W of electricity. Just remember to use duplex printing (double sided) where possible to save paper and select a lighter print option to extend the life of your toner cartridges.
Turn the lights off. When at home it can be tempting to keep all the lights on, especially during the long winter nights, but only switch on what you need. If you haven’t already made the switch to LED bulbs, now is the perfect time. An LED bulb costs in the region of £19 to run over its lifetime, whilst the equivalent incandescent bulb costs in the region of £150.
Only boil the water you need. Use a rapid boiling kettle to heat only what you need or fill a large thermos with your preferred beverage and save on visits to the kitchen and the biscuit tin! If you are a coffee drinker, think about reaching to the back of the cupboard for the cafetiere, which is far cheaper, more environmentally friendly and your garden will thank you for the used grounds.
Cut down on the oven at lunchtime. If you are at home alone it can be tempting to turn on the power-hungry oven for a pizza. Microwave some healthy soup (it costs in the region of 13p to run for two and a half minutes), a sandwich, or good old beans on toast, then head out for some fresh air before it gets dark.
Check your tax relief eligibility. If you work from home as you live far away from your office, or your employer does not have an office it may be possible to claim £6 per week for certain expenses. Check if you can claim.
Chief Revenue Officer at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd, Mark Ash, stated: “Working from home is a choice for some and essential for others. However, we can all make small changes that will have an immediate impact on our pockets as well as reduce our energy consumption, which will have a positive environmental impact.” Ash adds, “Fuel prices are set to get worse before they get better, but a well-managed home-office can continue to be an efficient, affordable and productive place to work.”