What Can Employers Do to Help Staff in a Cost-of-Living Crisis?
June 19 2023 - The cost-of-living crisis has had a palpable impact on millions upon millions in the UK, and continues to do so as it continues through its second year. Costs are high across the board, be they related to energy or supermarket shops - and the stress of juggling financial responsibilities has started to hit the workforce.
As a business with staff, this becomes an existential issue. Staff bearing the burden of the crisis are more likely to feel stressed or unwell, while overall productivity is more likely to shrink. Addressing the crisis is both the moral thing to do and a shrewd move for the future of a given company. What, then, can employers do to assist their staff?
While perhaps not the most obvious suggestion to any business, one of the more impactful ways a company can help their staff is through facilitating access to knowledge. The cost-of-living crisis is not something that can be circumvented purely through logic, but specialist expertise can help nudge the scale in favour of the employee.
Third-party financial advisors could be brought on-board to coach staff in effective ways to save and invest their money. These advisors might counsel staff in comparing different forms of savings account, or give cautionary information regarding the risky world of day-trading; whatever the focus, it could be hugely beneficial. There is also an added bonus for the employer, where workers feel more looked-after for the gesture.
Speaking of gestures, there is a much more direct way in which a business can help its staff: perks. Staff perks are not just there to entice new starters; they are also there to engender a sense of trust and comfort in staff, to illustrate their importance to the wider team. Re-addressing them with regard to the current cost-of-living crisis would be a fundamentally useful way to engage.
This might look like the expansion of private healthcare plans to include more members of the family, or an expansion in the number of paid holidays each staff member can take. Any additional perk would be well-received, but those that allow workers more time and more autonomy would be best received of all.
Flexible and Remote Working
While potentially classed as a perk, this deserves a section all of its own. The topic of remote working has become somewhat contentious in recent months, as older heads in executive positions clash with younger workers now accustomed to the new standard of remote work.
Remote working provisions have already been proven to raise morale in a majority of workers, and to improve productivity in certain scenarios. Embracing remote working as standard, and implementing remote working programmes on an opt-in basis, can help free up employee travel expenses, alongside any expenses related to childcare. In this way, a business can directly reduce the cost of living for a worker, while allowing them to retain their autonomy in choosing the right path for them.