We’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis and companies of all sizes are feeling the pinch. Staff morale is plummeting and employees are calling out for help, yet only 5% of people feel their employer is doing enough to support them through these troubling times. But how do you cushion the blow of the rising cost of living when company budgets are tighter than ever?
Employee benefits play a crucial role in staff retention, happiness and wellbeing. 83% of employees believe that workplace benefits are key to helping them navigate the crisis and maintain their current standard of living. The prospect of expanding employee benefits packages may be worrying for companies trying to tighten their belts, but luckily there are plenty of ways to offer meaningful benefits for very little cost.
Here are five inexpensive employee wellbeing-related benefits you can offer to support your team through the cost of living crisis:
1. Flexible working
During the pandemic, employees got a taste of the improved work-life balance that can be achieved using flexible working practices. Now, demand for remote and hybrid working is higher than ever, and 76% of employees consider flexible working a top employee benefit that companies can offer to improve wellbeing.
Flexible working policies come in many different forms. Whether you allow working from home for part of the week, flexibility in working hours, or the opportunity to work bank holidays in exchange for an extra day’s holiday – it’s all about allowing employees to have a say in how they work. It can help your team save money on commuting costs and have more time to focus on their health and wellbeing during these stressful times.
Research shows that employees who work flexibly are more satisfied, engaged, productive and likely to increase their discretionary effort compared to those who don’t work flexibly. In this respect, flexible working is one of the cheapest benefits you can offer to support your staff and improve your business!
2. Financial wellbeing education
If there’s ever a time to focus on financial wellbeing, it’s during a cost of living crisis. Employees are twice as likely to leave a company when they’re anxious about their finances and one in four say money worries impact their ability to do their job. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that 13 million working days a year are being lost due to employees’ poor financial wellbeing.
Employers can play a big part in reducing financial stress for their staff, which will positively impact mental health and help improve their performance at work. Education is key, but independent financial wellbeing support is often a very costly solution. Fortunately, some leading financial wellbeing platforms like Bippit are offering free financial wellbeing ‘lunch and learn’ sessions and resources to empower companies and staff during the cost of living crisis. A truly impactful and inexpensive way to help your team take their financial wellbeing into their own hands.
3. Wellbeing tools with a dual purpose
Digital wellbeing tools are some of the most sought after employee benefits out there. Alongside mental wellbeing apps like Unmind, Calm and Headspace, physical fitness app downloads grew by 46% during the pandemic and have replaced traditional gym memberships for many people. Digital tools give employees the freedom and flexibility to look after their health on their own terms, encouraging a proactive and preventative approach to wellbeing.
Health and wellbeing benefits are more important than ever, but wellbeing tools often fall into the bucket of ‘discretionary spend’, especially when budgets are tight. Choosing wellbeing tools with a dual purpose can help your budget go much further. Vitrue VIDA is a DSE compliance, pain management and wellbeing tool wrapped into one, enabling you to pay for an employee benefit out of your health and safety budget!
Pain Coach within VIDA provides tailored exercises to help your team keep work-related pain at bay – no need to invest in any other wellbeing or exercise tools. 65% of employees suffer from MSK issues and pain is often exacerbated by stressful situations like the cost of living crisis, so it’s the perfect time to invest in your team’s wellbeing.
4. Cycle to work scheme
Salary sacrifice initiatives such as the government’s cycle to work scheme are a brilliant way to give your employee benefits package a financial boost. The scheme enables employees to save up to 40% on the cost of a bike and accessories in exchange for part of their salary over time. The amount is taken from their salary before tax and your employer National Insurance contributions are reduced accordingly – a win-win situation for all!
Cycling to work has numerous benefits for employers and employers alike. By taking advantage of the governmental scheme, you’ll be promoting greener, cheaper, healthier habits which can make a real difference to your team during the cost of living crisis.
5. Social impact or volunteering days
Our workforce is more socially conscious than ever before. 71% of Millenials and Gen Z see climate change as the biggest challenge facing their generation and want their work to align with their personal values. Aligning your employee benefits to social impact or sustainability goals can boost employee satisfaction and wellbeing, whilst improving your brand as a sustainable employer.
‘Green’ employee benefits such as volunteering days are meaningful for employees, impactful for the environment and can help you stand out as an employer. Whether you get involved with a team-building sustainability project or give employees an afternoon off to volunteer for a charity of their choice, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to offer environmental and social impact benefits during the cost of living crisis.
For more information on how VIDA can help you offer a meaningful employee benefit in budget-cutting times, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or try out VIDA yourself for free!