Britons working from home during the coronavirus lockdown have spent almost £2 BILLION

Britons working from home during the coronavirus lockdown have spent almost £2 BILLION on new desks, headphones, laptops and other office equipment, survey reveals

  • Seven million workers have spent £233 on average, according to Uswitch.com
  • And half a million are thought to have blown more than £500 on office essentials
  • Headphones were the most popular lockdown item, selling more than 2.2 million 

Britons working from home have forked out almost £2 billion on desks, laptops, printers and other equipment during lockdown, as they transform their living rooms and spare bedrooms into makeshift offices.

Of the more than 18 million people working from home, more than two fifths (seven million) have blown an estimated £233 each, while half a million have spent more than £500.

The shocking spending splurge was revealed in a survey by comparison website Uswitch.com, which asked office workers whether they had to spend more to prepare their homes for lockdown.

Almost seven million Britons have blown £233 on office equipment, it is thought, while half a million have spent more than £500 each

Their research revealed that headphones were the most-needed office essential, selling an estimated 2.2 million, followed by stationery, at 1.9 million, and laptops and desks, at 1.7 million each.

More than 1.5 million chairs are thought to have sold, alongside 1.3 million printers, and 1.1 million mobile phones.

‘As lockdown starts to lift, millions of employees plan to keep doing their job from home, with staff spending £233 on average in turning their home into a productive place of work,’ said Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch.com.

‘Employees are realising that having a stable broadband connection isn’t the only thing they need to work from home, with millions buying new equipment to create their own mini-offices.

‘When you’re purchasing office equipment, don’t be tempted to buy the first thing you spot online.

Headphones were the most popular office equipment, according to Uswitch's survey, followed by stationery and laptops

Headphones were the most popular office equipment, according to Uswitch’s survey, followed by stationery and laptops

‘Take time to shop around and compare what’s available out there, making sure that any deals include the cost of delivery, especially for bulky items like desks.’

In the survey, Uswitch.com talked to 2,004 adults between May 15 to 18 this year. They then weighted their results nationally to provide estimates for the UK.

Around 18.5 million adults are thought to be working from home during lockdown, and are likely to continue doing so until September.

Should my employer pay for office equipment that I purchased during lockdown? 

When lockdown was announced, government guidance said employers should ‘take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home’. 

They added that employers should do ‘what they can’ to facilitate working from home, whether that be by providing equipment or accepting less than ideal performance.

Legal firm Herbet Smith Freehills said employees would generally be expected to comply with a request to work from home ‘provided the employer puts in place suitable homeworking arrangements’.

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive has also said that employers may be required to provide a ‘fuller home workstation assessment’ on the environment’s safety, as workers face being asked to remain at home for significant periods of time.

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