Many states have been in lockdown in recent months, which has meant that numerous businesses have been forced to continue walking from home. 

With many Australian businesses doing it tough during this pandemic, saving money where you can has become even more vital. 

If you’ve been forced to work from home, there are some ways you can help save energy and keep costs down. 

Turn off your office

If your business is in lockdown with your employees working from home, make sure you’re not still using unnecessary energy at your work premises. 

If your office is empty then you should turn off the power to un-used equipment. This includes lighting, heating and cooling systems, office equipment and fridges. Having these continue to run while no one is there, is a waste of energy and money. 

Also check that office equipment hasn’t been left in standby mode, as this can still use up a significant amount of power, and make sure things are turned off at the powerpoint. 

Tax benefits & government rebates

When working from home you and your employees may be eligible for certain tax benefits. Depending on the type of work you do, you may be able to claim a percentage of your energy bill as a tax deduction. 

Talk to your accountant about what you may be eligible to claim, as you also may be able to claim costs on any equipment you had to buy for your home office. Keep hold of any receipts or bills so you have records available for any tax claims. 

If your business is currently affected by lockdown, something else you should do is check if your business is eligible for any government rebates. Various states offer rebates for businesses struggling to keep up with energy costs, so check the government website of your state to see what may be available to you. 

Create an efficient work environment

When working from home, ideally you should set up somewhere quiet where you can focus on work, away from home distractions, but having the right set up can also help you save on energy. 

Try to find a place to work with lots of natural light, to avoid having lights on all day. 

While you want to work within a comfortable temperature, try not to have heating or cooling on all day, as this can significantly increase your energy bill. During winter, wear warmer layers of clothing so you’re less likely to put the heating on and open up curtains and blinds to let in as much warmth from the sunlight as possible. You also shouldn’t worry about heating the whole house during the day, just focus on the area you’re working in, as this will help reduce energy costs. 

Make sure your employees are also set up with the equipment they need to do their work. A laptop uses less power than a desktop, and can provide flexibility for your team to work from wherever they need to. 

Consider flexible working on a permanent basis

With many states going in and out of lockdowns over the past year and a half, it has been challenging for businesses to get back to normal operations. 

It might be worth considering if remote working or flexible working arrangements is something your business should implement, even once lockdown is over. Many businesses have seen great levels of productivity from their teams while working from home, and for many, it has also provided better work life balance. 

Having a remote team can mean you can downsize your business premises. Your business could operate out of a smaller office if more of your employees work from home and this means lower overhead costs, which may provide you with significant business savings. 

If your team is working from home, check out our blog on how to effectively manage a remote team