Flexible workers are spending up to £2,000 a year on dedicated home office costs, according to a new report by global workplace organisation Regus.
The study shows that maintaining an office base at home is costing flexible workers more than they think, with average expenses for furnishings and running costs totalling around £45 a week or £2,000 a year. Regus surveyed 4,000 self-employed workers as part of the new study.
Freelance UK has urged contractors and freelancers to take advantage of legislation that allows them to claim a proportion of these expenses when using their home as an office, as HMRC’s suggested £4 a week allowance for recouping running costs is not sufficient.
Flexible staff are in a better position to claim these expenses than their fully-employed counterparts, as 65% of permanent employees admitted that their boss had not given them any money to furnish their home office.
Four in ten permanent employees said they are unhappy about this arrangement, as they believe their employers are forcing them to work from home to transfer the costs of working and a workspace onto the employee.
“The cost of furnishing a home office is substantial so if this expense is passed onto employees, companies could find themselves flouting health and safety laws as well as lacking the necessary insurance cover,” explained Regus UK CEO Richard Morris.
In contrast, the self-employed can claim for home office costs through tax relief on expenses such as broadband, telephone, electricity and stationary if the home office is used ‘wholly and exclusively’ for business.