With inflation causing sharp rises across many day-to-day costs, it’s down to employers to support the financial wellness of their people before it leaves a serious dent in workforce health and performance.
According to the latest research from CIPD, nearly a third (28%) of employees say money worries have already impacted their work performance, either through lost sleep, health problems such as stress or anxiety, or lack of focus. That has a big knock-on effect in terms of productivity – and it’s something employers can’t afford to sweep under the carpet.
Our recent research echoes these statements, with 45% of employees who rate their wellbeing support as ‘poor’ saying that cost of living stresses are making it more difficult to focus and be productive at work. That’s compared to only 27% of employees who are fortunate enough to rate their wellbeing support as ‘good’ or ‘excellent.’
Of course, employees aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch right now. Organisations across all sectors are looking for pay rise alternatives and new, cost-effective ways to engage staff and promote good financial behaviours. Many have already turned to hybrid and remote working as a way to reduce overhead and develop a more flexible workplace culture – but could this also have a positive impact on employee financial wellness?
We know that hybrid or working fully remote isn’t possible for all organisations or all employees, but flexible working still remains a must-have for employees in the new world of working.
An all-encompassing employee discounts scheme like the one Reward Gateway offers can help lessen the financial burdens of everyday costs, no matter where your employees are working, but employers can do more to minimise day-to-day expenses simply by offering hybrid and remote options.
Let’s take a closer look at three key ways in which going remote can ease the strain on your employees’ purse strings.
|3 ways remote work improves employee financial wellness|
|1. Cut down commuting costs|
|2. Reduce childcare expenses|
|3. Lessen ‘office wardrobe’ spend|
1. It cuts out commuting costs
Avoiding the need to pay for a daily commute to the office is one of the most significant cost savings of remote or hybrid work. It’s not just the cost of bus passes or parking either – people generally tend to spend more on food and social activities when they commute to an office.
So, how much can employees really save by ditching the need to hop in the car, bus or train every day? A national study published by Confused.com should help employers put the costs into perspective.
Employees commuting by car spend an average of £80 per week on petrol, parking and extra costs they wouldn’t have spent money on otherwise. That works out to roughly £3,800 per year.
Bus commuters are in a similar ballpark, spending roughly £76 per week (£3,600 per year) on bus fares and extra costs associated with coming into the office.
Workers commuting by train stand to save the most money of all, as they pay an average of £136 per week on train fare, parking at the station and extra costs. That works out to a staggering £6,500 every year!
2. It reduces childcare expenses
Childcare costs can be a major burden for families that need to work full-time, yet can’t afford to drop their hours. This is especially the case for lower-wage employees that spend a higher percentage of their salary on childcare, or families with younger infants and children with special needs that require extra care.
Even if it’s for a few days a week, working from home can give parents the option to keep an eye on their children while they get on with their work.
This means they don’t have to fork out thousands of pounds on private childcare and nurseries every year.
When you consider the latest stats from NCT, which estimate this can be as much as £7,000 per child, the potential impact on employee financial wellness becomes very clear. It’s also a welcome alternative now that the government’s Childcare Vouchers scheme has been closed to new applicants.
Don’t forget that a more flexible model of work allows parents to work around certain times in the day when they need to be available for their children, such as picking them up from school or taking them to appointments. This saves a lot of time and stress involved with making extra arrangements, most of which lead to them spending more money and detracting from their focus on work.
3. It lessens the need to buy ‘office wear’
Most workplaces have a defined dress code, whether it’s formal suits and dresses, smart-casual, designated uniforms, or something else in between.
While the specifics differ from business to business, employees are generally expected to look respectable from head to toe. That means maintaining a wardrobe which can cater for five days a week in a professional workplace. For the occasional shop, my favourite retailers to look at on our discounts platform are Asos, where we save 7.5% and New Look, where we can save 10%!
Appearances are still important for remote workers, of course, though most employees naturally feel a need to look their best in a workplace environment. That pressure can lead to them spending a large chunk of their earnings on shirts, blouses, trousers, shoes and jackets that they otherwise wouldn’t feel the need to buy.
Remote working eases this pressure and helps employees manage the cost of their wardrobe by avoiding the need to purchase new clothes specifically for the office. Just make sure you’re still wearing trousers on your Zoom calls!
Looking for more ways to support financial wellness for your remote employees? Find out more about our range of creative discounts, savings and benefits designed to cut the average employee’s daily costs, no matter where they call ‘work.’