Closing offices could cost employees up to £300 a month

Research shows major businesses closing offices in the UK could cost some staff up to £300 per month as they seek out hiring their own desk spaces post-pandemic.

With closing offices and the UK edging out of lockdown and firms like British Airways and Capita announcing a permanent shift to home-based working for most employees, new data shows employees could be forking out up to £300 a month and £3600 a year to hire their own desk working space and escape their home working setup.

The analysis of search data, from employment lawyers at Richard Nelson LLP, found the top cities where employees can expect to pay the most for their own coworking space, with workers in Northampton and Peterborough paying above the average for their desks.

The data, taken from coworker, showed how much employees will be spending on hiring desk spaces per month/year if their employer decides on closing its offices to staff and doesn’t offer paid flexible workspaces in place of this.

City Price per month of hiring a desk Price per year of hiring a desk
Northampton £300 £3,600
Peterborough £300 £3,600
London £252 £3,024
Southampton £246 £2,952
Wolverhampton £240 £2,880
Nottingham £219 £2,628
Manchester £184 £2,208
Bangor £175 £2,100
Blackpool £175 £2,100
Reading £172 £2,064
Bristol £166 £1,992
Leicester £159 £1,908
Plymouth £155 £1,860
Edinburgh £149 £1,788
Preston £145 £1,740
Swansea £133 £1,596
Birmingham £129 £1,548
Portsmouth £129 £1,548
Glasgow £123 £1,476
Sheffield £123 £1,476
Liverpool £122 £1,464
Cardiff £119 £1,428
Newcastle £111 £1,332
Birkenhead £109 £1,308
Belfast £102 £1,224
Leeds £102 £1,224
Norwich £100 £1,200
Coventry £87 £1,044
Bradford £86 £1,032
Stoke-on-Trent £18 £216

Commenting on the research, Jayne Harrison, Head of Employment Law at Richard Nelson LLP said:

“As the government continues to lift restrictions and workers start to trickle back into the office, many are happy to be back behind their desk as a year of working from home has taken a toll on their mental health. Working remotely can be lonely for employees, with many feeling isolated from their colleagues and family if they live alone.”

While some predict working life may return to normal once offices reopen, many businesses are now opting to close their offices to save costs and shift towards a new, more local hybrid way of working.

“With some companies closing their headquarters, we are predicting an increase in employees hiring their own coworking space to ensure they can still get a feel for an office environment. As the data shows, this can end up being a significant cost to employees, with prices upwards of £2000 a year for a large number of cities in the UK.”

Employees in Stoke-on-Trent, Bradford and Coventry benefit from the cheapest costs per year, with the price of hiring a desk for a year amounting to just £216 for workers in Stoke-on-Trent. In Northampton and Peterborough, employees are paying more than this amount per month, as the price of hiring a desk reaches an average of £300 each month.

Julie Lock, Commercial Director at workforce management firm Mitrefinch added:

“We have seen an evolution in the industry as office employees were forced to work from home during the pandemic. Now, many employees are keen to remain working from home three or four days a week as they have adjusted to a hybrid way of working which eliminates the need for commuting and early morning starts. For a lot of employees, remote working has meant a better work-life balance.

“With a large number of corporations announcing the closure of their offices, employers will be looking to facilitate their employees’ needs with the necessary tools and processes for a more flexible working environment. For employees, they may be seeking support in securing a remote working space and in setting up their equipment for a longer-term and more practical way of working. ”