Energy bills in the UK are soaring to record highs. The energy consultancy Cornwall Insight has predicted that annual energy bills could be about £2,200 from July 2023, compared to £1,138 in late 2021; a huge increase that households are struggling to find the money to cover.
So, it's no surprise that 59% of adults in the UK are using less gas or electricity at home because of the rising cost of living. But with many employees currently working from home or hybrid working, what can their employers do to help?
Our recent research into how employers can support employees through the cost-of-living and energy crisis uncovered the following insights:
- 69% of employees feel their employers have a responsibility to support them
- 74% of employees agree that benefits that help employees with energy bills would help retain talent
- Just 5% of employees feel their organisation is doing enough to support them through the cost-of-living crisis
In this blog, you'll discover how employers can help ease the financial burden (and boost staff loyalty) using employee benefits to manage mounting energy costs and make their employees feel like they are being supported during these tough times.
1. Give employees more flexibility
Did you know that during the winter months, remote workers typically use 25% more electricity and 17% more gas? That's why 85% of employees favour working from the office to help to reduce their energy usage.
So, where possible, you might want to consider giving your employees the flexibility to return to the office, either full or part time, to help them save energy costs.
Alternatively, you can offer flexible working patterns, which allows employees to log on from home at lower-cost, energy efficient times or to travel to and from work during off-peak hours to save on travel expenses. Either way, employees will appreciate the flexibility offered to help save money.
2. Offer financial assistance
While some companies are addressing employees' concerns around rising energy bills with wage increases, this is not an option for many business owners who are also impacted by increases to business energy costs.
However, you can help to combat soaring energy prices by helping your employees make savings in other areas of their life with the following benefits.
Salary sacrifice schemes
Salary sacrifice can help cut everyday spending costs as employees don't pay tax on the money spent. For example:
- A cycle to work scheme cuts fuel and travel costs whilst offering between 26-40% off the price of a new bike and accessories
- A tech salary sacrifice can save up to 13% on energy-saving technology and household appliances, including desktop computers and washing machines
- A green car salary sacrifice provides an affordable way to get an ultra-low emission vehicle
What’s more, all of the above examples are FREE for a business to join.
With households facing an enormous £788 hike to their annual food bill in 2023, you can help ease your employees' monthly outgoings with a gift card or eGift reward that can be redeemed at their choice of supermarket, to help with the weekly shop.
For example, our Select platform delivers codes electronically to your employees who can then swap them for gift cards or eGifts from a wide range of supermarkets including Aldi, ASDA, Iceland, John Lewis & Waitrose, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, and Tesco.
3. Incentivise energy-saving activities
Another option to encourage lower energy bills for your staff is to update your existing employee incentive programme so that it rewards your people for their energy-saving activities at home and in the office.
This could include activities designed to:
- Combat heat loss (e.g. double glazing)
- Reduce energy consumption (e.g. turning lights off in empty rooms)
- Generate their own energy supply (e.g. solar panels)
Not only will this reduce monthly energy consumption for your business and reduce the environmental impact, but your employees could also earn gift cards if energy usage decreases. What’s more, according to our research, gift cards are the most popular employee reward.