As the cost-of-living crisis deepens with soaring energy prices and inflation at its highest rate in 40 years, some home workers are considering a return to the workplace as they look for ways to reduce their energy bills.
The coronavirus pandemic re-shaped the working landscape as the hybrid working model became a popular choice for employees. However, those working from home are now having to weigh up the savings in commuting costs, against the rising costs of heating their homes.
How will this affect employers?
For those still working from home for all or part of their working week, many employers may welcome a return to the office to improve collaboration and communication between colleagues. However, there are some issues to consider.
- A shift from hybrid working may require terms and conditions of employment to be reviewed, and the needs of both the company and employee should be considered.
- Space could be a major concern if the organisation has adapted workspace or moved into smaller offices to accommodate a hybrid working model.
- Some workers may look for additional paid employment to help relieve the effects of rises in costs. This could result in performance management issues, and employers will also need to be mindful of the limit on weekly working hours under the Working Time Regulations, which applies to all work, even if it’s for different employers.
How can employers offer support during this difficult time?
There is no legal requirement to provide support for employee financial wellbeing. However, given the current economic crisis there are things employers can do to reduce the stress and worry of their workforce, and bearing in mind the ‘Great Resignation’, these could become a vital part of recruitment and retention strategies. Many employers may not be able to afford to offer a cost of living pay rise, but other actions include:
- One-off payments, bonuses or tax-free vouchers to help support employees during this difficult time.
- Introducing financial wellbeing support to help alleviate any concerns about personal finances. This could include anything from seminars delivered by financial experts, to signposting to independent financial and debt guidance.
- Introducing an Employee Assistance Programme which provides financial advice as well as assistance for employees who may be experiencing anxiety or stress due to financial pressures, or reminding employees of existing programmes which are in place.
- Reviewing existing Employee Benefit Schemes to ensure those who need them most are benefitting from them. Do your employees know what offers are available and how to access them? Such schemes may include Workplace Nursery benefits, shopping discounts, and salary sacrifice schemes to help with IT costs, as well as -cycle to work programmes.
If you would like further advice regarding this matter, our qualified team is on hand to provide the required support on this and any other HR / Employment Law or Health and Safety matter, so please contact us on 01942 727200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org