It used to be that working from home was only reserved for those days where something important was happening, and you HAD to be there for it to happen. It’s fair to say that working from home has gone from a luxury to the norm. In fact, it’s so popular now that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates that there’s been a 74% jump in people working from home over the last ten years, with it showing no signs in slowing down.
And while the luxury of never having to commute sounds like a dream, when your little home office isn’t as toasty as the office, you could see yourself wasting money having the heating on too much or spiking electric bills with a little heater.
So if you do work from home, what can you do to save energy and a little money off bills without having to spend your 9 to 5 huddled under a pile of blankets?
Here are some tips that I hope you find helpful.
Become a security guard and go check
As Celine Dion once famously belted out “Be sure before you close that door”. Having a downstairs office in a little space of its own, you might stick the heating on and think you’re all good. Truth be told, there’s a breeze coming in somewhere and you need to check it out.
You need to act like a security guard and do a full check of the house. You could encounter radiators on full throttle in rooms they shouldn’t be, doors left wide open for heat to escape, and the worst offender of all: the bathroom window left open after someone’s been in the shower. Homeowners often add pvc fences surrounding their property to increase the security of their homes while also staying on a budget.
Now you don’t need a hi-vis jacket to go around but treat yourself to one and really commit to the role if you like. Oh, and one more added benefit of doing a check is that you can see who in the family is leaving their devices on all day and wasting electricity. Every laptop plugged in, tablet left to charge and TV on standby are all sucking up electric. Start being vigilant and you might get a shock seeing the next electric bill go down.
Check all your valves
Do you live in a house where different rooms have different radiators? And do those radiators have various valves? It could be the case that if you have an older radiator in your home office, you’ll have a simple on/off valve…and that won’t work.
You need to be able to control your heating and getting a handy thermostatic radiator valve (the ones with the numbers) can help keep your little office at the right temperature rather than it feeling like your heating is constantly up high.
Get it timed perfectly
If you’re walking into your home office every morning and know you’ll have to start the working day waiting for the heating to get going, you’re doing it wrong.
It’s time to bite the bullet, and finally learn how to get the timer working. Sure the box may have only three buttons and a lack of instructions, but you can figure out how it all works. Even if you programme the heating to come on half an hour before you start working away, it’ll be the difference between happily checking your emails first thing and convincing yourself to stand in the kitchen and wait for the kettle to boil just because it’s a little warmer.
Going back to talking about things like the bathroom window being open, on days where the weather is absolutely miserable, and you can feel or even hear a draught coming in, it’s time to get stripping.
Yes, it’s time to take that big roll of weatherstrip you bought and start sticking it around the windows and doors you know are letting heat out. You can get a decent roll for around £10 on Amazon if you’re nowhere near a DIY store, and working from home, you’ll never have to worry about the delivery man slipping a note through the door.
Fiddle with your thermostat
Need the house warm throughout the door? Surely turning the thermostat all the way up will get the job done?
Well, of course, it will, but it’s also a big waste. Many of us are used to coming home in the evenings and having on full for a few hours, but if you’re working from home, you can become the unofficial thermostat master and see if turning the temperature down ever so slightly has any significant impact.
If you can manage to get your temperature down by at least five degrees, you’ll be saving a lot of energy without feeling any change in your little office.
Are you thinking of working from home, or anywhere really?
Then read some posts from the blog on flexible work here.