Helping employees through the cost-of-living increase

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Health Assured team

06 May 2022

Prices in the UK are rising. As are tensions around the cost-of-living increase—and what this means for the future. The pandemic caused financial struggles for many, and these turbulent times look like they are set to continue. Inflation rates are increasing, energy prices are on the up, and national insurance changes will affect everyone.

Financial pressures are a major stressor in life for many people. Managing bills, mortgage or rent payments, and living expenses isn't always easy. And that makes the announcement of these changes even more of a source of anxiety, stress and apprehension.

That’s why it’s essential that workplaces support their employees through this difficult time. When your employees are stressed, workplace tensions rise, morale drops, and productivity diminishes. But when you can show your care and consideration for employees’ welfare—it improves their wellbeing both inside and outside of work.

 

Tell them to contact their energy supplier

The industry regulator Ofgem is working with energy supplies to ensure that customers get the support they need. Ask your employees to contact your energy supplier as soon as possible if they’re worried about paying your bills. Extra help is available via repayment plans, payment breaks and support schemes.

Refer them to Step Change

The charity Step Change offers free debt advice to help people get back on track. They provide a range of free services and information about taking action and overcoming debts—step by step. There’s information on debt collection, solutions, credit cards and budgeting. Plus, you can access a range of FAQs that break down complicated topics into easy-to-understand info.

Encourage them to plan ahead 

The best way to feel more at ease with the upcoming changes is by planning and adjusting their budget to compensate. Taking the time to sit down and find ways to save some extra money can reduce feelings of anxiety and confusion about finances. Sometimes it’s hard to find this time when life is busy—but it’s worth it in the long run.

Provide a space to talk

When feelings or thoughts are bottled up inside, they become heavy and hard to bear. Finances can sometimes be a taboo topic, but don't let your employees suffer in silence. Eventually, these feelings and problems can bubble to the surface, and in the long run, this is often worse. Let employees know that support is available if they are struggling and ask managers to check in on their teams regularly. These conversations can help employees make important shifts and release any difficult emotions they might be facing.

Listen with empathy

When you do engage with employees about their concerns, try to listen actively to what they share. Active listening involves being fully present with the person without daydreaming or thinking or what to say next. We do naturally fall into these states from time to time. So we have to consciously decide to engage with the person, stepping into their shoes and listening with empathy and understanding. Ask open questions that show your engagement with the conversation. These questions will make the employee feel heard and understood, building the premise for a positive conversation.

Are they eligible for further support?

The Government have released several measures to support the cost of living increases this year. This includes the Government scheme offering a £150 council tax rebate to help with the rising energy prices. But there are further government support measures in place to support those who need it. Ensure you’re making your employees aware of the additional support options available and signposting to them where needed.

 

Health Assured can help you support your employees through the cost of living crisis

Health Assured are the UK & ROI's leading Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider. We help over 70,000 organisations support their people's wellbeing. This includes financial support and information via a 24/7 helpline. Find out more about how we can help you by calling one of our wellbeing experts on: 0800 206 2552

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