Ah, the joys of working from home. No more sitting in morning traffic jams or squeezing onto that early train; and not having to listen to co-workers annoying little ticks (cracking knuckles, anyone?).
Peace and quiet to get on with things without interruption. Although, if you've been 'WfH' with small children, or trying to share the domestic wi-fi with a partner who's also trying to send that crucial email, things are far from idyllic.
A switch-up for UK heating would be a great boost for those small contractor businesses too.
Home for more of the time
Some office-based workers embraced the ‘new normal’; others are not so happy with it. Research from the British Council for Offices (BCO) in May 2020 interviewed 2,000 UK workers who are ordinarily office-based about their thoughts on WfH.
Of those respondents, 20% said they would plan primarily to work from home in the future. But almost double that figure (38%) do not plan to work from home at all.
Whatever the psychology and business-thinking behind the WfH trend, it seems likely that we'll be in our homes a lot more, at least for the rest of 2020.
As we approach autumn and winter in the UK, that means our heating at home will be needed more as people won't be heading to the office.
Green Homes Grant
I think this is going to be an acid test for some home heating systems.
Being at home may make people far more aware of any inefficiencies in their home heating – and very aware of the cost.
It's a situation that might move 'what to do about the old boiler' further up the family agenda.
The government wants to decarbonise UK heating. It has introduced a number of incentives to forward this agenda, most recently, the Green Homes Grant.
This scheme has set aside £2 billion to support homeowners installing a range of energy efficient and low carbon heating technologies.
RHI still applies
In addition, the government has confirmed that further support under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme will be available to those who have benefited from the Green Homes Grant. There are also grants for insulation and draught-proofing.
But I'm not sure if these options have been marketed hard enough by government. And I wonder if now might be the time to make homeowners think about a new heating system as an investment?
To be blunt, if most of us aren't going to be taking our big family summer holiday in 2020 – could the cash be invested in a heating upgrade?
As most Hub readers will know, heating is a significant source of carbon. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels would give us a real boost in the move to net-zero carbon.
But it's also exceptionally challenging, not least because it means persuading homeowners to make big decisions about where to spend their money.
Serious about sustainability
We have alternative heating technologies available more readily than ever before, with reputable manufacturers producing systems that are now well-established as reliable. We also have the trained and experienced installers to do the work.
I've written before about the UK's move from coal gas to North Sea gas in the late 1960s. Around 14 million homes and businesses switched to the new fuel with 40 million appliances changed – and it took less than ten years.
It is not an impossible task for us to achieve the same in the 2020s.
If we can adapt to life in early 2020, and with government pushing hard, I think we can make changes to our homes (where we'll be spending more time) to make them more efficient.
It wouldn't just benefit householders, but also businesses and the environment