7 Tips to help you and your employees through the cost of living crisis this winter
In a recent article, we discussed the cost of living crisis UK and employee benefits to support your employees. However, Winter is here, and we have to be more creative to get our staff and business through this time.
The temperature has dropped the last couple of weeks and people are trying to hold off as much as possible to switch the heating on. This on top of rise in food costs, petrol, and rent, it’s going to be one of the most difficult winters yet. With the feedback from many of the fantastic businesses we support, we have gathered a range of helpful tips to support you and your team this winter.
Temporarily Closing The Office
To tackle the cost of living crisis, some of our clients have informed us that they are closing their office throughout the winter months due to the rising costs to heat it. Instead, they are asking staff to work from home. To help with their household costs, they are offering staff an increase in salary and/or give all team members money towards purchasing efficient small heaters.
This can be a solution that can help those businesses and employees where home working is an option. Employees will be able to save on travel costs and won’t be affected by adverse weather. You will be able to continue running your business without the added extra stress of increased energy costs.
Schedule regular events and get togethers online
If you are thinking of closing your office over winter, it’s important to consider your employees mental health. It’s this time of year that many people are faced with seasonal depression. Adding this with isolation from working remotely can make it impossible for employees to be able to focus on work. To support your employees during this time, you can host regular online get togethers ,with one rule, no work talk. This can be a weekly quiz, a lunch meeting, or a monthly get together on teams.
We have recently added a lunch teams call to our calendar so everyone can take a break together and chat while having lunch. We also have a ‘team chinwag’ meeting every month where we all catch up on teams for 45 minutes to talk about anything apart from work. It’s a great way to get the team together, maintain good relationships, and improve wellbeing.
Free office space and hot desking
For staff who don’t want to work at home full time, you can look at free office spaces and cost effective hub spaces. We regularly book office space and hot desking with Liberty Space and Enterprise hub. This is a cost effective and flexible way to give your team the option to work in an office.
Can you check out some local hotdesking near you?
Free Meals and Employee Discount
One of the biggest worries about the cost of living crisis is how to put food on the table. I was recently at a popular coffee shop and while I was waiting on my coffee, the manager was reading a statement to their staff. To help their employees through winter and the cost of living crisis, the business was offering a free meal to all staff from November to March. Above this, they were offering 50% off.
If you are in the hospitality industry and you are able to offer this to your team, we encourage you to do so. Not only will it show you care about your staff, it will also help with the recent price increase on food.
Cooking Tips and Recipes
Another way to tackle the cost of living crisis is by changing cooking methods. The ONS recently announced that 30 of the cheapest food products have increased. With this in mind, offering helpful cooking tips will help employees find new ways for food to last longer.
One of the most energy efficient ways to cook meals is by using a slow cooker. This may surprise a lot of people with slow cookers being on for longer. However, it uses the same amount of energy as a standard electric light bulb. The great thing about slow cookers is that you don’t have to be a fantastic cook to be able to use them. All you need to do is put all your ingredients in the appliance, choose your setting, and turn it on. You can make longer lasting meals such as soups, chilli, stews, lasagne, and even a casserole. BBC Good Food have fantastic recipes to try.
An air fryer is another energy efficient way of cooking in comparison to an oven. Studies have suggested that you can save up to 65% on energy bills by cooking with an air fryer instead of a cooker. The air fryer also offers healthier cooking and is a lot faster than other cooking methods. BBC Good Food also have 16 air fryer recipes on their website.
There are other ways to tackle the cost of living crisis and save on food even if you don’t have these appliances. Batch cooking can help to reduce food waste, it can save you time, and ensures you have a healthy meal ready for when you want and need it. You can cook your meals for the week in one day and store them in the freezer. Perfect for all of us who don’t like cooking. BBC Good Food have 61 budget recipes to try.
Office Christmas party season is just around the corner and not everyone will be excited about this. Buying an outfit, travel to and from the venue, and drinks on the evening may be too expensive for most employees this year. We encourage you to talk with your employees and find out how they feel. You can even send out an anonymous survey where staff can vote if they want a Christmas party. If they don’t, you can cancel the staff night out this year and give them a bonus or voucher instead.
Some of our clients have decided to cancel the Christmas nights out this year and give a supermarket or shopping voucher instead. In our recent article we discussed employee benefits which included information on an employee benefits platform you can sign up to.
We have signed up to Caboodle which allows our staff to get discounts on a wide range of vouchers. We encourage you to look into this for your staff.
We recently hosted a seminar on “How to support your employees through the cost of living crisis”, where we shared our top tips.
Businesses also shared what they were doing to help their team. One suggestion that stood out to us was from one of our clients who decided to put a basket of supplies such as cleaning products in the office for staff to help themselves to. You can leave a basket of essentials in the kitchen area so employees can pick up what they need anonymously.
Watch our full webinar on how to support staff this winter
If you would like further support on the cost of living crisis UK this winter, feel free to contact us.