​How to support employees through the cost-of-living crisis

about 1 year ago
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It feels like a catch 22 situation at the moment. The cost of living is rising across the board, from fuel to food, and it’s affecting both businesses and employers alike. Staff need essentials to go about their daily lives, whilst companies need to keep the bottom line afloat whilst maintaining staff retention. A dilemma for many employees who need to keep the wheels turning and are looking at alternative waves to make profit such as reviewing their business plan, setting out a more effective marketing strategy and looking at cash flow. Keeping your workforce happy is a vital step during these times though, as it’s their livelihoods which need to get them through this challenging time. There are a number of ways to support your team depending on your situation.

Increasing salary

It’ll come as no surprise that many employees are requesting a pay rise this year to help tackle the rise in household bills. It may be time to take an in-depth look at your accounts and see what is possible. From small businesses to large, it may not be an easy solution due to further tax and national insurance reductions. It could also have an impact on child benefits and universal credit for those who are entitled. However, whether you raise salaries by a few percent or provide a one-off bonus to provide some respite against the circumstances this year, the gesture will certainly be a grateful move by staff who want to feel appreciated and that their worth in skills and knowledge is being valued.

Complimentary meals

If a pay increase isn’t possible, there are alternatives that can be introduced within the culture of the company. Free meals in a canteen or packed lunches for those out in the field or working remotely is a great move forward. If the budget doesn’t allow for this, then there is an opportunity to meet halfway and provide a discounted lunch or pledge to put money towards their meal.

Cash allowances

Although many have returned back to the office or factory, there are still employees that are working remotely or in a hybrid fashion. A tax-free cash allowance can be paid to staff who are required to work from home under the Working From Home allowance conditions. It’s important to remember that during the cost-of-living crisis, bills in particular for those working from home will see even more of an increase in heating homes during the winter and electricity supply when charging devices used for work.

Access to discounted benefits

Everyone loves a discount and they’re even sweeter when provided through an employer. Whether that’s a discount for your local gym, private health insurance, supermarkets and restaurants or local shops, this initiative will raise morale whilst also giving employees some respite away from work.

Staff welfare

Have you ever heard of the trivial benefits exemption? This is when companies don’t need to pay tax on a benefit for an employee if it costs less than £50 or less to provide and isn’t in the terms of their contract, cash or a cash voucher, or isn’t a reward for their work or performance. Instead, it’s there to make working life more pleasant. This could include free sanitary products in bathrooms, free hot drinks, beers and pizza on a Friday or a Christmas party, just to name a few. This token contribution is another way to show that the team is appreciated and that you’re doing your bit to ease outside stresses.

Employee Assistance Programmes

In our previous blog we talked about the benefits of Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and how they can support the mental well-being of your team as an independent source they can talk to in confidence. These outlets are becoming increasingly popular as they can also provide advice on finances and debt management, as well as other issues that may be bothering your employees and distracting them from work. There are a number of EAPs available for companies to sign up to and many have reaped from the advantages of having the programme in place. A problem shared is a problem halved and this is a chance for individuals to talk to someone not associated with the company.

At Omega we work with leading employers and candidates to find their perfect match and form loyal and long-lasting careers. We provide a wide range of temporary, contract and permanent opportunities, in partnership with leading employers locally and nationwide. We’ll work with you to find that perfect candidate. Speak to our team on 01453 827333 to see how we can help you.