High energy bills can cause significant stress and financial strain for many employees. With the cost of living continuing to rise, the burden of paying utility bills can have a profound impact on an individual’s quality of life, financial stability and overall wellbeing. In fact, research shows that the average household has seen a £693 increase in energy bills since the 1st of April 2022. Due to this, it is essential that employers take an active role in addressing this issue and take steps to help their teams combat any financial stress caused.
Employers have a responsibility to support the overall wellbeing of their employees. This means providing guidance in times of financial hardship and implementing strategies to alleviate unnecessary stress. By providing employees with the resources and support needed to cope with high energy bills, you can make a positive impact on the lives of your workforce and foster a happier working environment for all.
The impact of rising costs on employees
Rising energy costs could ultimately lead to employees experiencing financial difficulties, perhaps having to take out loans with high-interest rates that they will struggle to pay back in the future. Financial stress can lead to decreased productivity and a lack of morale in the workplace, affecting overall performance and business success. Mintago’s research indicates that 68% of employees have recently felt stressed and overwhelmed due to rising costs.
Employees may find that they are unable to save as much money as they were previously, instead having to spend more on essential living expenses such as housing, food and fuel. Another common response to rising costs is for employees to reduce the amount that they spend on leisure activities, with research showing that 62% of UK adults now limit the number of times they meet up with friends per month due to concerns around overspending. This decreased leisure time can reduce an employee’s happiness and quality of life, with this translating into their everyday tasks within the workplace and causing a lack of motivation. Many employees are also struggling to afford essentials, with this causing further panic and having a negative effect on physical and mental health.
The role of employers
Employers play a crucial role in helping employees manage high energy bills. There are several ways that you can support your staff, including:
- Encouraging the adoption of energy-saving initiatives: Employers can urge their teams to adopt energy-saving habits and practices. This could include promoting the use of energy-efficient appliances, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and encouraging people to share lifts to work when possible. These are small steps that employees can take instantly to reduce costs.
- Making employees aware of financial support available: Employers should educate their employees about the various financial support programmes available to them. This can include government assistance schemes, low-income discounts and payment plans to suit individual needs.
- Providing support and guidance: Employers should adopt an open-door policy within the workplace, making employees feel comfortable enough to come and talk to them if they are having concerns over rising energy costs. When talking to their teams, employers should have knowledge of resources that may be available to those struggling, including flexible payment plans, or help from financial assistance programmes.
Providing support to employees who are finding it difficult to maintain their lifestyle due to high energy bills is not only a moral obligation, but also provides tangible benefits for your business. These benefits include better overall employee satisfaction and mental wellbeing, with this resulting in reduced absenteeism, increased employee retention and a boost in workplace morale. Staff are more likely to come to work prepared to undertake their tasks to the best of their ability if they are not focusing on the financial stress felt due to rising costs. This is beneficial to all departments across your organisation, as positive employee attitudes are reflected in business output and therefore, future success.
The importance of providing support
In conclusion, the role of employers in helping employees manage high energy bills is essential, and one that should be taken seriously. By taking steps to support employees and address the financial burdens felt in this challenging economic environment, you can maintain a positive working environment whilst ensuring your team feels valued and able to turn to you for effective support and guidance.