Office workers spending £1k a year whilst at work

British workers spend £1,003 at work each year, in an attempt to keep co-workers happy, study reveals.

The cost of spending in an office – from charity donations to work nights out – leaves the average Brit £1,000 out of pocket each year, according to a new poll from Nationwide Current Accounts.

Despite Christmas being out of the way for another year, going back to work is unlikely to mean the end of people’s spending. The poll reveals the average office worker is likely to spend £1,003.20 a year due to office life – and that’s not including breakfast, lunch or travel.

Across a working lifetime of four decades, this would equate to £40,128 – equivalent to around two years’ salary after tax for the average British worker.

Wallet watchers

While most people go with the flow at work and happily part with their pennies and pounds, two in five are unhappy about shelling out for coffees and teas (41 per cent). Unsurprisingly, the majority of people are unhappy to pay for any stationery (70 per cent). A not very festive four in ten (40 per cent) dislike buying secret Santa presents.

And when it comes to the obligatory office charity or fundraising effort, more than a third (36 per cent) don’t like to contribute. But as nearly a third (32 per cent) state they feel pressured into contributing, common courtesy may override actual feelings.

On the bright side, nearly three quarters of the nation’s office workers say they are happy to put money in for a colleague’s leaving card and present (72 per cent) or for an office birthday (72 per cent).

However, more than a quarter say they feel pressured when it comes towards birthday and leaving gifts (28 per cent and 27 per cent respectively).

The poll also shows that while men are unhappier at spending money at work, it’s women who are more likely to feel pressured into shelling out for work-related items.

Working nine to five – but no more

One in ten (10 per cent) people spend time with their colleagues outside of working hours on a weekly basis, according to the survey. But more than a third (35 per cent) of the nation’s office workers claim to not like going out after work, two in five (40 per cent) say they don’t do it more than once every two to three months.

Fun times

Predictably, Christmas is the period of the year when office workers spend the most, with the research showing that the average Brit forks out £138.36 on celebrations and secret Santa presents.

This compares with an average of £102.24 spent on nights out with colleagues across the rest of the year on average. Brits also spend more on sweets, treats, coffees and teas in the workplace (£130.68) compared to what they spend socialising with colleagues after work.

Alan Oliver, Nationwide’s head of external affairs, says, ‘Working in an office can be an expensive business, especially in big teams. While most people value the camaraderie of working in a team, birthdays, retirements and charity fundraisers can take their toll on our wallets and purses.

‘We would recommend putting in only what you can afford. Using a tool such as our online savings calculator can develop regular habits which can help in meeting many of life’s financial challenges.’

Further reading on office spending

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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