The Bank of England has splashed out nearly £600,000 on home office technology and furniture to allow its staff to work remotely during the pandemic.
Figures from the Bank show it reimbursed £598,000 to its 4,447-strong workforce for office furniture and work-related equipment between March and October 31 – working out at £135 per employee.
The Bank revealed it allocated a budget of up to £375 for each employee to cover the cost of setting up a home office.
Details of the huge bill come after it emerged the Bank spent at least £117,000 making its Threadneedle Street headquarters and offices Covid-19 secure.
Its spending on coronavirus safety measures between March and June included £14,300 for hand sanitisers and £16,600 on masks.
The Bank, who published the figures following a freedom of information request, said: “In line with Government guidance, the vast majority of employees of the Bank of England have been working from home during the Covid pandemic.”
The crisis has seen its top policymakers, including governor Andrew Bailey, work from home, especially in the spring lockdown, with rate-setters often delivering speeches and deciding on key monetary policy decisions remotely.
According to the Bank, it had just 75 staff working at its offices on May 1, which increased to 162 on September 1 before dropping again to 31 on November 1, though this was a Sunday.
It added it has “for a number of years, had in place a flexible working policy allowing colleagues to work flexibly, which includes working from home”.
Aside from the hefty costs for equipment and home office furniture, the Bank said it has not contributed towards employee expenses, such as heating, lighting and water.
The Bank has three main offices – at Threadneedle Street, Debden and Moorgate – and 16 sites including its agencies.
Details on its Covid-19 safety measures expenses show it spent more than £56,800 on thermal imagers and screens for catering facilities, while over £18,000 went on signs.
The Bank said at the time that it “always considers value for money and feels the steps taken are appropriate given the risks posed by Covid-19”.
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