Working in an office can cost £1,715 a year, survey finds

January 6, 2020 12:01:00 AM

The cost of working in an office can amount to as much as £1,715 a year – excluding paying for lunch and transport – a survey suggests.

As people return to work following the Christmas break, Nationwide Building Society said the cost of being in an office over a working lifetime of four decades could equate to around £68,600.

This is more than two years’ take-home pay, based on the UK average salary of £30,420.

Nationwide surveyed more than 2,000 office staff about their typical spending on work-related outgoings such as clothing, treats, technology, work parties and gifts for colleagues.

The survey also revealed resentment about the amount of cash workers feel they are expected to fork out.

One in six (15%) do not like spending money on charity requests from colleagues, and nearly a quarter (23%) feel pressurised into financially contributing when co-workers come asking.

Nearly a fifth (19%) are also unhappy about buying teas and coffees for their colleagues.

Nearly a third (32%) of office workers have borrowed money from colleagues, with men (38%) more likely to do so than women (28%).

Many borrowers needed the money to chip in for something but had no cash on them, and some needed their colleagues’ help to make their finances stretch until pay day.

But not all money borrowed in the workplace is returned – as more than one in 10 (11%) admitted to not paying the money back.

This is most likely to happen among workers aged 16 to 24 (18%).

On the bright side, more than half (54%) of office workers say they are happy to put money in for a colleague’s leaving card or present, while the same percentage (54%) are happy to contribute on a co-worker’s birthday.

Many of those surveyed count their work colleagues among their friends.

Nearly four-fifths (79%) of office workers say they go out with colleagues after work, rising to 87% of 16 to 24-year-olds and 85% of 25 to 34-year-olds.

Guy Simmonds, head of current account customer management at Nationwide, said: “On the basis we spend so much time in and out of the office with colleagues, it is perhaps unsurprising that we pay out so much.

“Yet, enjoying the camaraderie of working in a team can put pressure on the purse strings throughout the year, which is why it is important not to feel pressured and only put in what you can afford.

“We would recommend putting some money aside each pay day to ensure you have enough for yourself before you have to deal with the myriad of birthdays, charity requests, coffee rounds and nights out.”

Here is how office-related spending typically adds up annually, according to Nationwide Building Society:

– Drinks, parties and nights out – £292.32.

– Clothes and bags, £154.44.

– Technology (tablet, phone, mouse, calculator), £115.68.

– Sweets and treats, £115.44.

– Coffees and teas, £114.96.

– Birthdays (cards and presents), £108.60.

– Colleague leaving presents and cards, £97.32.

– Comfort items (tissues, tablets, anti-bacterial sprays), £95.16.

– Stationery, £93.48.

– Retirements (cards and gifts), £92.40.

– Charity and sponsorship requests, £91.20.

– Weddings (cards and gifts), £89.04.

– Births of colleagues’ children (cards and gifts), £87.24.

– Other equipment (pens, staplers, highlighters), £87.72.

– Bereavements (cards and gifts), £80.52.

– Total, £1,715.52.

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