Monday 17th October 2022
Cost of living for employees | Condeco

Much of the developed world is suffering from financial strain that hasn’t been experienced for a very long time. Rising energy prices and high rates of inflation are contributing to a cost of living crisis in many countries, and it’s having an impact on everyone, irrespective of their personal circumstances.

When looking at costs, it’s easy to consider them in the context of personal spending, and to view work as the means of bringing that money in. But by digging a little deeper, you’ll find that work has a level of cost attached to it as well, and that those costs may not necessarily be helping employees in the current situation.

In this blog, we’ll have a look at the cost of living crisis from a work perspective, including why working from home isn’t necessarily the answer, and how flexible working can make a difference.

Cost of living for employees | Condeco

The hidden costs of working from home

As the cost of living crisis has gathered momentum, people have understandably been leaving no stone unturned in exploring ways to save money – and particularly ways to save energy.

The first idea many employees will consider is to work from home, so that they don’t have to spend money on fuel for driving into work, or on train tickets if commuting by rail. But working from home isn’t free, because energy is still required for all the things needed in the home over the course of a working day.

The hidden costs of working from home | Condeco

Research from UK energy experts Uswitch has found that working remotely pushes household energy use up dramatically, especially in the winter: daily gas use rises by 75% and electricity use by 25%. The impact of running a computer all day, keeping the lights on and the home warm, and even smaller considerations like cooking a hot lunch or turning the kettle on to make tea or coffee can have an impact. At a time of extremely high energy bills, the impact of this can be more significant than ever.

Can the office save your employees money?

Can the office save your employees money? | Condeco

The short answer to this question is maybe. Every business is different, as is every workforce and the personal circumstances of every employee. However, for many, the office can act as a way of lightening the financial burden on them in the months and years ahead.

For starters, it may work out cheaper for those with relatively short commutes to work from the office than it is to work from home. The expenditure on fuel or train tickets may work out less than all the knock-on energy costs of working from home. Some employees may not have considered this as an option, so it’s important to give them the opportunity to think about their circumstances and choose.

As well as the office providing a warm place to work from during the coldest months of the year, there are other measures businesses can take in supporting employees. Providing breakfast or lunch on a regular basis, or even enabling employees to use on-site showers, may seem relatively trivial, but they could make a big difference to those whose finances are especially tight.

How can flexible working help?

How can flexible working help | Condeco

A flexible working strategy also has an important role to play. Employees who have relative freedom to define where and when they work can fit their job around their lives in a more cost-effective way. For example, they could work later in the day to avoid expensive peak-time train tickets, or coordinate working hours with their partner to reduce the amount of paid childcare they need.

It’s important that employees know they have that flexibility, and that they can adapt to changing circumstances. While they may not feel they need the help now, they may well need it in the future if their financial position changes. Having the means to easily book workspaces and organize their schedules means they can quickly make changes as required.

Why it’s about more than money

Of course, the cost of living crisis will have impacts that reach far beyond bank balances. Financial worries can be extremely stressful for employees, and have a major impact on their overall wellbeing.

The office can be incredibly useful | Condeco

There is much that employers can do to alleviate some of this stress, and the office can be incredibly useful in this area. Giving employees the chance to seek face-to-face support in the office can be helpful and comforting, while simply working from the office in the company of others can ensure employees don’t feel isolated and as if they’re struggling on their own.

Discover more about office wellbeing initiatives to help employees.

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