As we embrace a new year full of opportunities and growth, it’s important to acknowledge the ongoing challenges brought by the cost-of-living crisis.
In these uncertain economic times, there are several ways for businesses to offer support to their employees, ensuring they feel valued and secure amidst financial pressures.
Businesses are dealing with their own challenges and may not always be able to offer pay increases. Nevertheless, there are alternative methods to assist employees in tackling financial difficulties.
In this blog we take a look at various practical and supportive measures that businesses can implement to assist their staff in managing financial concerns and boosting their overall well-being.
Building a Culture of Openness
Studies by Nuffield Health indicate that financial concerns extend beyond mere monetary issues, with about half of employees reporting a negative effect on their mental and physical health. This goes further, influencing not just individual well-being but also affecting productivity and concentration in the workplace.
Fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment can be greatly enhanced by encouraging open conversations about financial matters in the workplace.
Empowering Through Financial Knowledge
Businesses can provide staff with financial benefits education, debt counselling and advice on debt consolidation.
With a wealth of resources and intuitive apps at our fingertips, learning about budgeting, saving, and smart spending can be both empowering and relieving for employees.
Enhancing Emotional and Mental Support
Recognising the link between financial stress and mental health is crucial.
Providing access to emotional well-being support, like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and employee assistance programs (EAPs), can offer much-needed relief to those struggling.
Improving the Overall Employee Package
In situations where salary increments are not viable, firms can explore other forms of remuneration enhancements.
These could range from providing meals at work, access to EAPs for stress and debt management, to employee discount schemes.
Salary sacrifice options for pensions, parking costs, childcare, or cycle-to-work schemes are also beneficial, potentially saving on national insurance contributions.
Maximising Existing Benefits
Firms should ensure employees are fully aware of any existing benefits like season ticket loans, interest-free loans, or gym memberships.
Utilising Tax-Efficient Gifts
The trivial benefits scheme offers a way for organisations to provide non-cash gifts, such as gift cards, to employees.
When employers provide employees with a trivial benefit, there is no requirement to report it to HMRC, making it exempt from tax and National Insurance contributions.
It’s important to note that these gifts can be given multiple times annually per employee, as long as the total doesn’t become a regular part of their salary or contract.
For company directors, there’s a yearly cap of £300 on such benefits.
Embracing Flexibility and Hybrid Working
Adopting flexible work arrangements can significantly reduce employees’ travel expenses and stress.
This flexibility can also offer better management of personal commitments such as childcare.
Offering Direct Financial Assistance
If feasible, establishing an emergency fund or providing short-term interest-free loans can be a direct way to alleviate financial burdens faced by employees.
Staying Informed and Prepared
The cost-of-living crisis continues to be a pivotal concern in 2024. At Blue Spire, we are committed to advising and assisting in navigating these challenges.
For guidance on payroll, cash flow, NICs, or other related matters, please feel free to contact us.
Together, we can find the best approach to support your team during these challenging times.
|At Blue Spire, we believe in providing tailored, expert advice to help businesses thrive. To speak to someone about your accounts, please get in touch with our friendly team today.