Small ways employers can make a big impact on their employees’ cost of living crisis.
The cost-of-living crisis is pressing heavy on everyone’s minds. Individuals can only do so much, and pushing the sole responsibility to manage this crisis on the public has left a sour taste on the collective palate (see Shelter’s campaign that expresses this sentiment so perfectly). With a government in turmoil, there is increased pressure on organisations to support their people. Not many have the budget to up salaries, so here are some little things you can do to support your employees.
It’s the little things
Free tea and coffee! It may seem like a small gesture, but it can save employees money that they may otherwise spend on madly overpriced coffee shop drinks. Forget water cooler conversations, let’s bring in tea station huddles this winter.
Not all companies have the facilities to provide drinks, so consider a mid-winter perk of a one-month Pret A Manger coffee Subscription at £12.50 for your team. With up to 5 drinks a day this is a serious win for caffeine fiends.
It sounds simple, but food storage in the office is important. A fridge/freezer in the office can save staff the unnecessary cost of buying readymade lunches each day. One of my colleagues loves making wraps each day, with lettuce, ham and cheese lasting a week tucked away in the fridge, why wouldn’t you? If you haven’t already, a microwave is huge boon in soup season. Get those leftovers in or host a lunchtime curry club!
Hybrid working options
Speaking of these colder months; with household bills having over doubled in the last year  it’s likely that more employees who live close to the office will come in during the winter to avoid the costs of heating their homes. Although hybrid working and hot-desking have slightly complicated the in-office arrangements, communicate with your team so you can ensure people have the space to accommodate everyone and appropriate breakout spaces.
Equally, giving employees the flexibility to work from home allows them to balance the costs of commuting and buying lunch with household bills. Create opportunities and safe environments for people to talk frankly about these challenging issues. Empower your employees to align the working week with their finances which will ultimately allow them to focus on tasks, rather than be preoccupied with financial anxiety.
Sell back annual leave
Some companies allow employees to sell back their unused annual leave days at the end of the year; these extra few days of pay could really help towards rising bill prices, especially as fewer and fewer people are able to afford to go away on holidays.
Salary sacrifice schemes
Another way that companies can help their employees save money and, in the case of the cycle to work scheme, exercise, is having ‘salary sacrifice’ options such as cycle to work schemes, season ticket loans for public transport or childcare costs.
Salary sacrifice doesn’t cost the company, but it does help employees spread out the cost of their transport rather than stumping up for large upfront transport costs.
Raise awareness of financial help already available in your company
As a branding and communications agency, we had to end on a communication piece. Promoting any financial support that is already available to staff such as staff discounts, salary sacrifice schemes, pension schemes and financial wellbeing support will ensure those employees needing help can access it. There is often more available than people know, they just don’t know where to look.
With the cost of living increasing as fast as it is, it’s impossible for many companies to raise salaries to keep up. However, an understanding attitude, trust in your team to make the right decisions and a willingness to be flexible can have a major impact on employee loyalty and goodwill.