How can businesses support workers in the cost of living crisis?

New report from the Living Wage Foundation.

The Living Wage Foundation has published a new report that found that despite inflation easing, the cost of living crisis is far from over for Britain’s 3.5 million low-paid workers. Half of those surveyed reported that they are worse off than a year ago, with 65% saying it was because of the increased cost of living. The report also found that food bank usage is higher than a year ago for those on the lowest pay, with 60% having visited food banks over the past 12 months.

This is hurting workers’ health, relationships, and quality of life. The Living Wage Foundation calls on businesses to pay their staff a real Living Wage, calculated based on living costs. By committing to the real Living Wage, you can help to make a difference in the lives of low-paid workers and their families.

As a business, you can help by:

  • Paying your staff a real Living Wage.
  • Partnering with local charities and organisations that support low paid workers.
  • Advocating for policies that support low paid workers, such as increasing the minimum wage and expanding access to affordable housing.

By taking these steps, you can help to make a difference in the lives of low paid workers and their families.

What if you can’t increase the wage bill right now?

We know that the cost of living crisis has had a catastrophic effect on businesses as well. Some businesses are struggling to make ends meet and increasing the wage bill is just not an option right now. However, there are still ways to support your workers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer flexible working arrangements. This can help your workers to save on childcare and transportation costs.
  • Provide access to training and development opportunities. This can help your employees to upskill and improve their earning potential.
  • Partner with local charities and organisations that support low-paid workers. This could involve offering discounts or donations to these organisations or volunteering your time and expertise. For example, you could partner with a local food bank to provide your workers and your local community with access to affordable food.
  • Advocate for policies that support low-paid workers, such as increasing the minimum wage and expanding access to affordable housing. You can do this by contacting your local councillors and letting them know that you support these policies.
  • Offer shared transportation to and from work. This could involve setting up a carpool or cycle-to-work scheme or providing subsidised shuttle buses.
  • Provide on-site meals or snacks at a discounted price. This can help your staff to save money on food costs.
  • Offer child care assistance. This could involve providing on-site childcare or making childcare vouchers more accessible. Find out about the local childcare options available and help employees to share their recommendations and experience with their colleagues.
  • Offer financial planning assistance. This could involve providing workers with access to a financial advisor or offering educational workshops on budgeting and money management.

Every little bit helps! By taking some of these steps, businesses can make a big difference in the lives of their employees.

Where to start.

Be creative and flexible. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to supporting your employees. What works for one business may not work for another. Be willing to try different things and to adjust your approach as needed.

Get feedback from your teams. Talk to your employees about what they need and want. What would make their lives easier? What would help them to be more productive and engaged at work?

Work with other like-minded businesses. Partner with other businesses in your community to offer shared resources and support to your workers. For example, you could work together to set up a carpool program or to provide subsidised childcare. Your local Chamber of Commerce network could be a great place to start.

Be patient and persistent. It takes time and effort to make a real difference Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep working at it, and you will eventually make a difference.

Make a difference.

Supporting your employees is not just the right thing to do, it also makes good commercial sense. By supporting your workers, you can create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone and make a real difference to your internal marketing. You can also help to build a stronger and more resilient community.

 You can read the full report from the Living Wage Foundation Inflation eases but cost of living crisis far from over to learn more.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!