The cost-of-living crisis is a topic we’re all aware of. It has dominated the media and the impacts are being felt in the every day life of many people.
As a business owner have you thought about how this may be negatively impacting the financial well-being of your team and therefore your business?
Evidence from a CIPD poll confirmed that financial issues affect performance at work and your staff are looking to you for support.
So, how are you supporting your people through the cost-of-living crisis?
We have come up with some ways you can.
- Flexible Working
Flexible working is a working pattern or location which suits the needs of both an employer and the employee. It may mean that employees can work remotely, part-time, job share, have compressed hours, flexitime, staggered hours, or annualised hours.
Currently, there is no obligation on an employer to accept a request for flexible working, but this is one of the changes being looked at for 2023. A flexible working request is a formal process and a permanent change to the employee’s contract. It may be worth considering a less formal and more flexible approach to flexible working, but the key is to ensure it is mutually beneficial.
Flexible working can give employees options. Whether it is working from home to reduce commuting costs (and time) or choosing to work in the office to reduce electric and gas usage at home, flexible working encourages employers and employees to talk about challenges and come up with ways to reduce cost.
Flexible working can also have advantages for employers including overcoming the challenges faced in terms of employee recruitment and retention for those who want flexibility, as well as the business’s financial situation by downsizing their office footprint with remote workers.
- Mental Health Support
Cost-of-living crises can adversely affect the mental health of you, your team and the way you work. The connection between money and mental health is intrinsic. To reduce the impact of poor mental health in times of economic turbulence, supporting your staff is essential.
One option for providing mental health support is to train employees to be Mental Health First Aiders. These individuals are trained to be able to understand how to identify, communicate, assess, and signpost those struggling with their mental health.
Another option is to look at your employee benefits scheme. Many offer access to services such as counselling or therapy. In addition to this, you could offer an Employee Assistance Programme, where employees can confidentially discuss issues that are affecting their work.
Signposting to different financial support services through the implementation of a financial well-being policy would also demonstrate your commitment to your employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
It is crucial for companies to acknowledge and speak about mental health. A company’s overall performance will decline if its workforce is unhappy, retention is poor, and productivity is low. Furthermore, if not handled properly, this can lead to further issues such as grievances, failures in duty of care, and disability discrimination claims, that are uncapped at tribunals.
- Money-saving perks
Employees will greatly appreciate money-saving perks during times like these. The perks can include free food such as breakfast (be aware of any tax implications), but may include membership of a local gym, discounts in a local store such as Costco, or a fuel card. If you want to go that bit further, you can sign up for a benefits and discounts programme. There are now online platforms which give your staff access to financial savings in areas such as health, fitness and retail. In a competitive labour market, this can also make you stand out as an employer of choice, who really cares about their people.
For perks to be fully appreciated by your team, they must be relevant to their demographic, so this is something you should consider when picking your perks.
Communication is also really important. Make sure your staff know what benefits are available to them and how to access them. There is no point providing support if your people don’t know about it.