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My workplace has embraced hot desking. I have to work at home regularly because there aren’t enough desks for everyone in the office. (Which is great.) But through the winter I’ve had the heating on and the lights. Can I claim these on my expenses?
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This week Kerry Howard, portfolio people director at HR experts People Puzzles, helps a dad who wants to know if he’s entitled to some cash for heating his house when he works from home.
Working from home, for whatever reason, can be a great experience and research shows that it can make you feel more engaged and productive as well as promoting a better work life balance. That said, there are some logistical matters that you also need to consider.
If you work from home, even for some of the time, your employer should conduct a risk assessment to check that your home is suitable for homeworking, including lighting, ventilation, desk, chair, PC/workstation and flooring. Anything that comes from this risk assessment would need to be rectified by you, apart from anything supplied by your employer, and then they would need to fix that. This may seem like overkill but it is a requirement and many are not aware of it.
Then there are the additional costs of lighting and heating as you ask in your question.
In my experience, if would be rare that an employer would compensate you for this as their view would be that you save in terms of your commute to work and any parking costs etc as well as saving your time commuting. However, you can potentially claim tax back (through HMRC) on additional costs that you have incurred as a direct result of working from home, such as gas and electricity and business calls (but not things that you would also use personally, such as broadband). The current rate that you can claim is £4 per week or £18 per month. You would claim this online and would need a government gateway account to do so. This is easy to set up using your NI number and a recent payslip, P60 or UK passport.
So far, so good……however, you can only claim these if you have to work from home, not if you choose to. In your case, if your employer has no space for you in the office and have asked you to work from home, then you are good to claim, but if you have volunteered or if you were offered the choice, you are not able to claim from HMRC. You can ask your employer if they would pay you, if this is the case, and see if it is something they would be willing to do.