Home Estate Planning Three-quarters of HR leaders say cost of living pressures impact staff performance

Three-quarters of HR leaders say cost of living pressures impact staff performance

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New research investigating how cost of living pressures are impacting the workforce has found that 74 per cent of HR leaders fear the cost of living crisis is affecting employee performance.

In the survey of 500 UK HR directors, carried out by employee money-saving platform Nous.co, 34 per cent of HR leaders said they’d noticed a drop in productivity due to employees having other things on their minds.

These concerns were echoed by the chief executive of Mental Health UK last week, who warned that the cost of living crisis was one of a number of factors fuelling stress, anxiety and burnout in the workforce. 

The findings come as cost of living data released by the ONS this month saw inflation rise to 4% and core inflation remain stagnant at 4.2 per cent, with around 4 in 10 energy bill payers struggling to afford payments and a third finding it difficult to pay their rent or mortgage. 

Employees doing “life admin” on company time 

According to the Nous survey, two in five HR leaders believe employees are doing additional ‘life admin’ on company time specifically due to recent cost of living pressures.

When asked what changes they’d noticed in their workforce since the cost of living crisis began, 40 per cent of respondents confirmed that they believed employees were doing additional life admin – for example, trying to find cheaper energy tariffs, or speaking to mortgage lenders – during the working day. A fifth of respondents believed employees at their companies had taken annual leave to manage their bills as a direct result of increased pressure on household finances. 

Employers respond to financial challenges faced by staff 

In response to the challenges presented by rising living costs:

A fifth of HR leaders surveyed by Nous said their organisation had offered employees additional time off

A quarter were offering a workplace counselling service to staff

And 30 per cent were offering financial programmes to directly tackle the cost of living challenges

More than half of the HR leaders asked had increased salaries to support workers

2 in 5 had given employees one-off support payments

This is despite ongoing fears that rising requests for pay rises could harm the profitability of businesses and contribute to ongoing inflationary pressures.

Greg Marsh, cost of living expert and co-founder at Nous, comments: 

“The cost of living crisis is far from over. Your employees are grappling with a tumultuous mortgage market and ever-increasing bills. This is going to be playing on their minds and their wallets, and we now know it is affecting their work. The companies that manage this crisis best will be those that embrace the cost of living reality and take steps to improve employees’ financial wellbeing. This includes helping teams manage “life admin” effectively.

“Any employer who thinks their employees aren’t doing life admin on company time is burying their head in the sand. Some of that is inevitable.

“Rather than turning a blind eye, look at tools that improve the financial health of your team via practical solutions that make everyone better off, and which help ease the admin burden associated with bills, mortgages and switching contracts.”

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