How to support your employees with the cost of living crisis

There’s no denying that the cost of living has increased. 

Fuel is more expensive; utility costs have risen dramatically, and buyers now get less produce for the same price when it comes to food shopping. For many, this has meant there is little left from their wages once all the bills have been paid and necessities accounted for.

And it’s not only that employees have less disposable income now than they did a few years ago. Inflation has seen the cost of services increase higher than the rate of general inflation, making such things as care assistance, domestic support including house cleaners, and other related services such as childcare exponentially more expensive. With wages not going as far and services becoming more costly, this also has an impact on well-being with many people feeling stressed and anxious.  

74% of adults in the UK reported feeling stressed about money and financial issues. 
18% of individuals said they experienced high levels of anxiety due to financial concerns.
38% of people reported that financial worries had a negative impact on their mental health

By addressing the negative impact of these worries, you will contribute to enhancing overall productivity and well-being with the organisation. 

This current economic climate and the areas of life it has affected means that employee benefits have become even more important. Employee benefits are unlikely to solve everything but can go a long way in keeping employees happy and supporting their cost of living.

So, what benefits can an employer provide to support their employees during the cost of living crisis?

1. Financial wellness programs

Personal finance can be complicated and with the increased cost of living, helping workers with such things as budgeting, investments, tax allowance and pensions can be incredibly valuable. Not only can access to personalised financial advice help employees to feel more in control of their money, but it can also reduce financial stress and promote financial well-being across the entire workforce.

2. Non-cash employee benefits

Non-cash employee benefits can be offered by employers in many forms. They can make it easier for employees to do their jobs or be related to their circumstances outside of work,  often having an immediate positive impact on their life. For example, dental care or pet insurance can provide employees with peace of mind that their or their pet's health is covered should anything happen, and that they won't need to find money to cover the cost of the entire treatment.

3. Help with domestic chores

For the majority of workers, running and maintaining their home, looking after family members and general life errands are done in addition to their working hours. In fact over 8 million people currently juggle work with 12 hours of informal care every week. Therefore, offering employee benefits that help with the completion of unpaid labour can not only improve their well-being but can also mean that employees can direct their disposable income elsewhere. 

companiions connects your employees to local helpers that can provide a range of services including companionship for relatives, cleaning, pet sitting, meal prep and cooking, and childcare. Such support is invaluable to improving your team’s work life balance and can be especially helpful if an employee wishes to pick up more hours to earn more money but doesn’t currently have the time.

4. Reward programmes

Recognition or reward programmes are a great way to boost morale and increase productivity whilst also providing something meaningful to employees. Reward programmes can offer a monetary incentive, vouchers, or a subscription. They can even be points-based where employees can gather points to exchange for other things such as tickets or merchandise they may not have treated themselves to otherwise.

5. Employee discounts

Employee discounts can be an effective cost of living help for workers, especially if they give them price reductions on items or services they routinely use or give them access to products and places they would otherwise be unable to afford. An employer might be able to offer employee discounts on the products or services they provide or work with local establishments such as gyms, health providers, shops, and restaurants to give employees money off.

6. Salary sacrifice schemes

A salary sacrifice scheme involves an employee giving up part of their salary entitlement in exchange for a non-cash benefit. These schemes can save employees money by allowing them to use the portion of their salary that is sacrificed before it is taxed. Childcare vouchers are a common offering of salary sacrifice schemes, as are car purchases. The government’s Bike2Work scheme is another prominent example.

7. Flexible paydays

Flexible pay days enable employees to choose when to receive money for the work they do, based on their own needs. This might mean that they can withdraw salary before their company’s standard payday, opt for weekly pay or draw out small amounts when needed.

Offering flexible paydays can help employees with the cost of living in many ways. For example, it can mean they don't need to use credit for purchases, can make the most of time-limited discounts and avoid paying interest on certain payments.

8. Employee assistance programmes

Employee assistance programmes (EAPs) are designed to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely affect their work, health, or well-being. These confidential services can offer advice, access to counselling and even consumer rights and legal advice. Financial and debt support can also be encompassed within an EAP. By providing employees access to such services, they can promote better mental health and overall wellbeing that can leave employees feeling better internally equipped to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

9. One-off vouchers or gifts

If an employer isn’t able to help employees with the cost of inflation by investing in ongoing employee benefits, one-off vouchers or gifts can still make a significant difference. Vouchers for supermarkets or e-commerce sites, for example, can enable employees to purchase items that they need for themselves. Vouchers for establishments or recreational activities may allow them to enjoy an experience that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Well-considered gifts such as technology equipment or product hampers can also be valuable. For instance, a hamper in December that includes Christmas essentials may save employees from needing to buy additional produce.

10. Offer flexible working

According to research from Glassdoor, 58% of hybrid workers said flexible working has helped them to manage the increased cost of living. Working from home could mean employees save on the fuel they would otherwise use driving into work for example, or allowing employees to work around school pick-up and drop-off times might save them having to spend money on childcare.

Offering flexible working as a benefit can also help employees to feel valued as individuals and allow them the room to balance their work and home life so that they can focus on both without worrying about how one impacts the other.

If you want to find out more about how to help employees with the cost of living, why not get in touch? 

companiions can support your employee benefits package by helping you to provide employees with a simple, straightforward way to access and arrange on-demand support and assistance for themselves and their families.