Simple ways to help employees during a cost-of-living crisis
With inflation rocketing, household bills continuing to rise and the cost of fuel through the roof – it’s no surprise that the majority of the country is feeling the pinch. Many people face the worry of reducing their outgoings, and they’re looking to their employers for support in this difficult time.
In fact, research by PwC found that almost 90% of adults are concerned about day-to-day living costs, and over 30% think that businesses should be responsible for helping them to tackle these issues.
In today’s complex landscape, marked by the enduring effects of the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and escalating operational expenses for businesses, many employers find themselves unable to provide employees with a genuine “cost of living” salary increment.
Luckily, there are multiple other strategies that can be put in place to alleviate the financial strain on workers. We’ve rounded up some of the top impactful ways that employers can help employees during a cost-of-living crisis below…
Employee voucher and discount schemes
Voucher schemes are an innovative way to put more money back into your employees’ pockets. They typically revolve around providing vouchers or credits that can be used to purchase anything from dinners out, clothes, and cinema tickets.
It’s also common for businesses to work with discount partners, allowing their employees access to money off items, like gym memberships or their weekly food shop. By partnering with local businesses or service providers, you can create a network of support that directly eases the financial burden on your team.
Salary sacrifice schemes
Salary sacrifice schemes offer employees an opportunity to allocate a portion of their pre-tax income toward specific benefits such as childcare, healthcare, or technology equipment. This reduces their taxable income, resulting in lower income tax and National Insurance contributions.
The most common salary sacrifice scheme is a pension, and it’s also one of the most effective long-term strategies for securing financial well-being.
Subsidising food and drink
Consider subsidising food and drink to help workers cut costs. Although grocery inflation is slowly falling, the cost of food items is still higher than before, putting pressure on people’s budgets.
Offering workers free or heavily subsidised meals, snacks and beverages can help them resist the temptation of costly takeout lunches and ease some of the tension around the weekly food shop.
Not only can free food help workers to save money, but it enhances workplace satisfaction too. In fact, research shows that 77% of employees are tempted to come into the office by free food and drink.
Offering hybrid working opportunities
The days of the traditional 9-to-5, where you’re chained to a desk in the company office all week are gone. Instead, many people are embracing hybrid working arrangements, choosing to work from home at least part-time.
Not only does hybrid working allow employees to reduce their commuting expenses, but it saves them valuable time which can be put towards household tasks, socialising with friends and family or hobbies, which ultimately promotes a healthier work-life balance.
Offering it as an option to your employees, could benefit their lives in a multitude of ways.
Flexible work hours
Everyone has different circumstances, and flexible working hours are a brilliant way to accommodate each individuals’ unique needs. For example, many people have family responsibilities such as caring for children or elderly parents, or some people may want to avoid paying peak time travel fares on the commute to the office.
Flexible hours means that workers can adjust their schedules to better suit their needs, whether it’s saving on child-care, expensive train tickets, or buying lunch out.
In the face of rising living costs, employers have a vital role to play in supporting their employees. Remember, supporting your employees isn’t just a gesture of goodwill—it’s an investment in the long-term success and resilience of your organisation. A workplace that prioritises employee well-being fosters a more engaged, motivated, and loyal team, ready to tackle challenges together and thrive in any financial climate.
For free financial advice, look out for the regular Barclays Bank Advice pop ups in The Clubhouse, which are advertised on the Member of the Future app. Whether you need business budgeting basics, smart ways to save or tools to help you take control of your cash, the team from Barclays Bank Uxbridge have lots of helpful guidance.