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Home workers are increasingly seeking reimbursement for domestic bills

Working from home
(Image credit: AppZen)

Coronavirus and the explosion in home working has resulted in a minor revolution for expense reporting, new research has found. Most notably, the percentage of UK workers claiming for using their home internet has increased by 57%, with claims for electricity and gas not far behind according to a new poll.

A survey by AppZen, which specializes in providing AI solutions for finance teams, found a major rise in how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has altered the employment landscape.

AppZen surveyed 1000 UK and US-based company employees at businesses with at least 250 employees. Unsurprisingly, the recent and increasing transition to home-based working has been dramatic, particularly in the UK with 93% of workers surveyed being told to avoid the office. Prior to Covid-19 just 7% reported they had been authorised to work remotely.

As a result of the growth in home working, domestic expense claims have risen too, but only 51% of organisations have updated their expense policies to meet the changing needs of their workers. Interestingly, AppZen’s research revealed discrepancies between executives and non-executives, along with an apparent gender divide.

Expense claims

The survey found that 59% of women are less likely to feel fairly reimbursed for their domestic expenses, compared to 80% of male respondents. The report suggests that this might be due to women being more likely to work in industries that cover less remote-work related expenses, such as education or healthcare.

And on the point of executive expenses, the survey findings highlight how 25% of non-management employees are less likely to have company credit cards and expense accounts than 48% of their executive counterparts.

AppZen’s data indicates that most employees cover expenses off their own back and then make subsequent claims to get funds reimbursed. In fact, in the UK just 22% have the luxury of a company credit card or expense account.

According to other findings in the survey, your role in a company is also a contributing factor to how much home working you can do. While 91% of middle management employees have been given the green light to work from home, just 64% of sales staff had been able to do the same during lockdown periods.

“As the UK enters its second lockdown, alongside colder weather and darker days, the costs of remote work could rise noticeably,” said Andrew Foster, VP consulting EMEA, AppZen. “As the research shows, businesses need to devise consistent, clearly-communicated policies and to automate processes so that expense reimbursement is both fair and uniform – instead of coming down to the generosity of the particular person approving your claims.”