Working from home saves UK drivers over quarter of a billion pounds in fuel

Lockdown restrictions and essential travel guidelines have saved the UK’s driving population £267 million in fuel costs during the COVID-19 outbreak

The sum, calculated by GoCompare, is based on the number of working days people have been in lockdown since 12 May (34), the number of people that drive to work each day (22,487,600) and the average fuel cost of a single working day (35p).

Annually, these figures amount to an average saving of just £80.50 per driver. However, a broader change in transport habits and working styles could indicate other differences once the lockdown is lifted.

More remote and flexible working is tipped to be introduced as employees have effectively proved to their employers that it is possible.

A survey by Tiger Recruitment also found that 74% of workers have been enjoying the time they have saved by not commuting during lockdown, and 73% said they appreciated the money they were saving.

At insurance broker The Plan Group, the entire workforce has been moved to remote work since May. This has required a lot of reassessment of the way things work by the group’s head of HR and performance Susie Wilson.

Speaking to HR magazine, Wilson said: “Working from home is definitely saving everyone time and money, some of our employees had season ticket loans and have managed to cancel their season tickets and repay these early, so they are definitely seeing the benefit there.”

Yet Wilson also acknowledged the positives of a commute. She added: “I quite liked the half an hour commute from the office to home to give me a chance to wind down. These days at 5.30pm I am straight into ‘mum’ duties without a break.”

As with current approaches to remote working and the return to work, commuting will have to be addressed from the specific needs of each individual employee.

Mark Greening, driving expert at GoCompare, told HR magazine: “The future of commuting all depends on the individual. Where the individual lives, the amount of transport links available to them, and most importantly, if they can work from home.

“The fact that so many of us have saved money on fuel during the pandemic really puts into perspective how much we are actually spending on going to work. It will also be interesting to see what the commuting statistics say after the virus passes, and how fuel prices look when everything starts going back to normal.”

Before COVID-19 The Plan Group was already in the process of setting up an alternative cycle to work scheme and Wilson admitted that they would be revisiting this once people return to the office.

She said: “A lot of our employees car-shared before, which I don’t think will be possible on our return, and ideally we won’t want employees using public transport if at all possible.

“One of the products we offer is cycle insurance and the employees that work on that product are all keen cyclists, so I hope to see them cycling into work and promoting this to other employees.”

Driving in the UK has reduced by 62% since the start of the year, public transport usage has declined by 81% and 61% fewer people are walking to get around.