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Published: 02/02/2017

Many of us are used to frittering away money when we're away from the office, but it seems that a lot of people spend when they're at work, too, with research finding that the typical employee spends thousands of pounds every year in an attempt to escape the at-work blues.

The research, from, reveals a clear lack of motivation among many workers, with 39% admitting to browsing clothing sites to ease their boredom, while 36% dream of sunnier climes by looking up holidays at their desk. A further 33% head to the shops for snacks – purely as an excuse to get out of the office – while 30% use general online shopping as a mental break throughout the day.

It seems that those who are stressed out, run down and over-worked are most likely to fritter their money away at the office, and many are easily influenced: 44% admit that they join in on the snack run or online shop simply because their co-workers are, while 52% buy items they've seen in blogs, newspapers and magazines. For many, it's more than an occasional occurrence, too, with 28% admitting to buying items every single day.

Unfortunately, that kind of splurging can quickly add up, to the tune of £114 every week. The research found that the typical worker will spend an average of £57 on clothes and homeware every week, £27 on snacks, £17 on gyms and courses, and £13 on beauty treatments, all from the comfort of – or in order to escape – their work desk. Over the year, that can add up to thousands of pounds, so those office-based treats could actually be eating up a large proportion of your salary.

"Keeping an eye on spending at work can be difficult," said Natasha Rachel Smith, consumers affairs editor for, "especially when office workers are stressed and rely on snacks and online shopping as a break, often without thinking about the cost.

"However, it is important to keep an eye on those spontaneous purchases. Over-spending should not be used to combat feelings of stress; look for other methods like taking regular breaks, going for walks or even having a chat with colleagues, which can make you feel calmer. If you are buying out of necessity, looking for discounts, voucher codes and cashback deals can help keep costs in line."

What next?

Consider using a cashback credit card to get something back from your purchases

Try to limit your impulse buys – both during the work day and at all other times – and put the money you save into a dedicated savings account instead. You may be surprised with how quickly it adds up (and if you cut back completely for a whole year, you could have thousands of pounds to spend on something far more exciting)


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