How flexible working helps staff in economic downturn

A quick summary:

  • Cutting down on commuting costs 🚗
  • Supporting families with childcare costs 🏠
  • Boost employee wellbeing 🧠

There is a concerning future ahead for the UK economy, as the cost of living crisis hits new heights. People are under more financial pressure than ever before, and there’s an air of uncertainty in the workplace. 

Employees are finding it difficult to juggle rising expenses with their current salary, and it’s only a matter of time before businesses see the Great Resignation explode. 

Research shows that in a post-pandemic world, flexible working has become the holy grail of employee retention. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that quitting rates can drop by 35 per cent when flexible working is an option. 

What’s more, when it comes to employee happiness, one study found that 78 per cent of employees who work from home at least some of their time experience better work-life balance. 

Organisations must embrace this future-proof way of working. Hybrid and remote working are here to stay, and if businesses do not adapt now, they must learn from their mistakes at some point. 

Supporting employees in economic downturn with flexible working

Let’s now take a look at a number of ways flexible working can support employees during economic uncertainty. 

women standing on a bus
Cutting down on commuting costs

Cuts down on commute costs

Inflation has seen fuel prices rise substantially. Fuel prices have skyrocketed from 165p in March to 189p in July, according to RAC. What’s more, the average commute time is around 59 minutes per day. Having to complete this journey five or more times per day is going to leave a dent in many pockets. 

As the UK faces further economic instability, commuting costs are one of the biggest advantages of flexible working. Whether hybrid or remote, flexible working enables employees to save on fuel costs and public transport fees.

A family preparing breakfast
Supporting parents with childcare fees

Supports parents in the workplace with childcare fees 

Flexible working helped save many families from expensive childcare fees. Providing employers were fair and flexible with their approach to parenting and working, employees were able to balance the two well. 

Of course, childcare while trying to focus on work tasks doesn’t come without stress, but financially, many families were and still are fat better off. At the height of COVID-19, parents were forced to look after children and work, but in a post-pandemic world, families can have the flexibility of minimising fees for half a week, or a set of days per month (providing they work remotely).

With a recession looming, it’s likely families will feel the financial pinch much more. According to Compassfostering.com, raising a family in a single-parent household costs a staggering £185K or £151K for couples. 

Organisations should try to understand the struggles and hurdles that parents face in the workplace. In an economic downturn, employees should provide flexible working arrangements to parents to support them with childcare costs.

A woman working remotely from a cafe
Flexible working supports employee wellbeing

Boosts employee wellbeing during highly anxious times

Finally, let’s talk about something less financial – employee wellbeing. As we’ve discussed above, employees who work remotely at least for some time experience better work-life balance. 

By improving our work-life balance, we can take better care of our health and wellbeing. Not only do we save time on commuting costs, but our time can be spent on leisurely activities, hobbies or with family.

A survey reported by Microsoft found that employees now use their lunch breaks to focus on their personal life, and 56 per cent said feel happier working from home.

The evidence suggests that working remotely can increase our health and wellbeing. And although there are some negatives, such as loneliness, this can be quashed through strong communication between colleagues and managers. 

Ultimately, however, employee wellbeing can be improved, and happier employees are able to perform much better in the workplace. Organisations may see increased engagement, better retention rates and higher productivity levels. 

Flexible working is here to stay

Flexible working has proven to be a success in recent years. As more and more people work from cafés, co-working spaces, the sofa, the garden or anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection, companies will need to move with the times.

While flexible working was an ideal solution to COVID-19, it’s become clear that it works in post-pandemic times. Leaders must find ways to address poor wellbeing in the workplace and the financial struggles their team face. 

It’s the role of an organisation to support employees wherever possible, and in 2022, employees need the support of leaders just as much as in previous years.

Hopefully, you now realise that hybrid and remote work are great opportunities to introduce to your workplace. Despite many businesses rejecting remote work, it can and does work for many more. 

The modern workplace is built with employees rather than for employees. It’s time to bring everyone into the decision-making process. Find out exactly what your employees want, and how you can come to an agreement that works for everyone.

Meet Heka

Heka is an employee wellbeing platform offering thousands of employees the tools to personalise health and wellbeing. 

Through our wellbeing platform, employees are discovering 1000s of wellbeing experiences, products and services across 50+ categories. 

If you’d like to discover all the benefits that come with using Heka, arrange a demo with our wellbeing experts today.