In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-home (WFH) practices have increased globally, including in South Africa. This sudden change in work habits has brought many transformations, particularly in how we consume energy.

Connection between Work-from-Home and Energy Consumption

The shift to remote work has led to a significant reevaluation of energy consumption patterns. Previously, energy usage was predominantly focused on office buildings and industrial spaces. However, the rise of work-from-home practices has turned our homes into important energy consumption centres, leading to changes in national energy usage behaviours.

The South African Context

In South Africa, WFH has brought some unique challenges due to the nation’s unstable power supply and frequent load shedding. Despite these hurdles, South Africans have found ways to adapt their work and energy usage habits.

Load shedding has been commonplace in South Africa for years. However, with more people working from home, the realities of intermittent power supply are felt more severely, especially during critical work hours. 

A significant demographic facing these challenges is the nation’s middle class. In a situation thoroughly covered by the Mail & Guardian, a 32-year-old programmer from Midrand found he had to invest in an inverter because his work-from-home job required a reliable power connection. 

This example indicates how South Africans are resorting to individual solutions to contend with the intermittent power supply challenge. This necessity for home investment doesn’t just impact energy consumption and management—it also highlights a new type of expense that South Africans working from home have to navigate.

This situation further reinforces the idea that effective energy consumption and management at home are now vital elements in ensuring work continuity, especially for home workers, in light of the power instability prevalent in South Africa.

Ways Energy Usage Has Shifted

Our YourView poll highlighted some insightful shifts in energy consumption habits in response to WFH:

  • 33.7% of respondents have adjusted their work hours to use energy during off-peak or load shedding times.
  • 29.2% are considering or have already upgraded their home infrastructure for better energy efficiency.
  • 26.1% have invested in energy-efficient appliances due to increased usage.
  • 23.4% now rely more on renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power.
  • 20.9% continue to work full time on-site.
  • 16.1% have transitioned to a hybrid work model to minimise home energy use.
  • For 15.6% of participants, they have not observed any noticeable change in their energy usage.

These statistics show that South Africans are actively seeking solutions to manage their energy consumption more effectively under WFH conditions.

The future of remote working in South Africa

While South Africa grapples with its unique set of challenges, the emergence of work-from-home culture is reframing both professional landscapes and energy consumption patterns. Despite energy constraints like load shedding, the country is carving out a niche for remote work, demonstrating resilience in challenging times.

However, the path is not without disagreement or uncertainty. There’s an ongoing debate about the sustainability of this model. Some argue that the work-from-home dilemma is a temporary response to an extraordinary crisis, and predict that the trend might flatten as we revert back to old routines. On the other hand, some firmly believe that remote work is here to stay, and heralds a revolutionary shift in work culture. Despite these conflicted viewpoints, one fact remains unchallenged: this shift has far-reaching implications for the stakeholders.

Therefore, the future story is being shaped not only in businesses but also in government decision-making. It’s essential that employers, policymakers and energy suppliers consider these changing patterns when planning for the future. As many are beginning to realise, navigating the shift to remote working isn’t a straightforward task; it might not be working as anticipated for all. Thus, understanding these dynamics will prove crucial in making informed decisions that stand the test of time and help in shaping an inclusive, future-ready South Africa.


The consumer findings from our YourView platform highlight the resilience and adaptability of South Africans, consumer habits shifting towards better energy efficiency, and the significant impacts WFH has made on national energy consumption. It’s now more important than ever that we continue working towards innovative costs-effective and sustainable solutions for energy consumption for remote workspaces.