Office small talk is costing employees £1K a year

If you work in an office the chances are you’re paying over the odds for that morning cuppa and chat with Debbie from accounts about her next holiday to Cyprus.

A survey conducted by Nationwide Current Account revealed that office employees spend over £40,000 during their working life on office amenities such as tea, sweets and after work drinks.

The research surveyed 2,000 UK office workers and found that; 41% of workers were unhappy about parting with their money for teas and coffees, 70% struggled to part with their cash to pay for the office stationary and 40% weren’t keen on paying to take part in the office secret Santa.

Events were the some of the main causes that workers were begrudged their pay, with the average UK office worker spending £66.60 on colleagues’ birthdays, £47.04 on weddings and £39.24 on retirements. However, it doesn’t seem this is in bad blood as 72% of workers were happy to put money in a card for either a birthday or leaving present.

It’s the Christmas period when office workers shell out the most money at work though, with £138.36 being spent on secret Santa gifts and after work festive celebrations.

The poll also discovered that not all office workers are interested in socialising with their colleagues outside the nine to five hours, as only 10% of people spend time with colleagues outside of work on a weekly basis, and 40% saying they don’t do it more than once every two or three months.

Alan Oliver, head of external affairs for Nationwide, said: “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. Developing a regular savings habit can also help in meeting many of life’s financial challenges.”

All costs to office workers

  • Clothes and bags, £119.16
  • Drinks / nights out (e.g. after work) with colleagues, £102.24
  • Christmas parties / lunch /dinner, £96.48
  • Birthdays (cards / presents), £66.60
  • Coffee / tea, £66.36
  • Sweets / treats, £64.32
  • Technology (e.g. tablet, phone, mouse, calculator), £58.32
  • Colleague leaving present / card, £50.28
  • Comfort items (e.g. tissues, tablets, anti-bac), £49.68
  • Weddings, £47.04
  • Charity / Sponsorship requests, £44.64
  • Births, £43.92
  • Secret Santa, £41.88
  • Stationery, £41.04
  • Other equipment (e.g. pens, highlighters), £38.04
  • Retirements, £39.24
  • Bereavements, £33.96.
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