To Employers: Should You Help Your Employees with Their Heating Bills This Winter?

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Employees working from home has become the new default for many companies over the past year. A recent study has revealed that 54% of UK workers are happy to continue work from home for as long as their employer requires them to.

Although every company is different, many companies have found that working from home has boosted productivity and that employee satisfaction has increased. Employers are also saving thousands on office expenses and utility bills because they no longer have to absorb the cost of keeping their workforce warm during the workday. This can be between £400-500 per desk per month in city-centre locations.

So, the question is, with employers saving money on rent, heating and office supplies, should remote working employees be offered some sort of compensation for no longer using an office space?

Employers are not obligated to offer this compensation but employee satisfaction should be factored into their decision. If an employer chooses to reimburse costs, they can make tax-free payments to help employees cover their reasonable additional expenses incurred while working from home. The employer can either pay a fixed amount (£26/month for monthly paid employees) or reimburse the actual additional costs the employee has reported.

If an employer chooses not to reimburse costs, you may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs here.

The problem with employers compensating employees is that every employee is different. With working from home becoming more common, the logistics of managing employees has become increasingly complicated. For example, if you work from home, your employer should conduct a risk assessment to check that your home is suitable for homeworking. (Many people are not aware of this!)

When it comes to heating, some employees may have it on all the time and some may barely use it. Others may be saving lots on commuting costs and parking fees. That makes it difficult to fairly compensate everyone. Employers must ensure they factor in individual circumstances when considering homeworking policies for their workforce.

The solution for employers is to offer the opportunity to reduce heating bills rather than to just offer compensation. Employers can pay for a service (or offer grants similar to the Green Homes Grant) to help employees make their heating more efficient and save money. This boosts employee satisfaction while reducing the carbon footprint of the whole company. ThermaFY Eco Solutions provides this service.

We offer a heating efficiency survey that employers can purchase for their employees as an opt-in service for analysing the energy efficiency of their home. We use cutting edge software to analyse thermal images of a heating system to identify any issues affecting the efficiency of a property.

We survey your heating system after which we recommend the work needed to solve any inefficiencies. Here we provide guidance on receiving grants and how you can get your employer to support you with installation costs. A second survey is done after the works have been completed to verify that the heating system is running more efficient and it will cost less to run.

We produce a ThermaFY energy efficiency report to quantify the energy usage and environmental impact of your heating before and after work has been done. It provides evidence to the employee that their heating bills have decreased and data on the reduction of environmental impact can be provided to the employer, keeping everyone happy.

To find out more, get in touch here.

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