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What’s a foreign war got to do with your employees?

By No Comments3 min read

Global events impact us all

It’s tempting to think that global geopolitics have nothing to do with us. Overseas wars are shocking, but they don’t really affect the way we run our businesses. Tempting, but misguided. For example, when energy prices rise and inflation follows suit, the impact on everyday life is huge. From Russian gas to net zero, from Covid recovery to trade policy, events in faraway places have a deep impact on the way we work right here. And companies with a remote or hybrid workforce have a set of new issues to tackle.

Cost of living & your staff

Specifically, on April 1 the energy price cap will increase by around £700 for approximately 22 million of us, with another significant rise expected in October. Also, with UK inflation taking a trip down memory lane, broadband and mobile bills will go up, because many major providers have automatic price rises, based on the Consumer Price Index plus a bit extra, built into their contracts.

Where will the burden fall?

These increases will be painful for most of us, but the effects reach beyond our personal finances into our businesses. Hang on a minute, I hear you cry. Surely hybrid working means less exposure to this kind of pressure. Well, sort of. It’s true that many companies are cutting their real estate overheads and therefore paying less overall for electricity and comms. In a survey published in January by accountancy firm RSM, I read that three-quarters of midsize UK businesses are at least considering reducing their office footprint. Of the 405 executives questioned, 80% said they would let some staff work from home full time.

So far, so good for your office costs. The tricky bit is that these costs will land somewhere – and of course it’s straight on to your remote employees’ utility bills. When people worked full time at the office, many homes were empty during the day. Central heating and lights were off, and no one was using the home computer, cooker or kettle. Things have changed – and while HMRC offer some tax relief on some of the costs of working from home, they aren’t exactly generous.

Decisions now have long term impact

So, remote employees are being hit by a triple whammy of increased consumption, higher prices and minimal government support. Meanwhile, if you’ve downsized your office space they can’t switch back to the old 9-5 routine, even if they want to. So, what’s your role in this? Should you be passing on some of your real estate savings to offset the extra costs for staff? Should you be lobbying government to review its tax relief on working from home? Can you afford to just ignore the issue, or will the long-term implications be even more serious? It’s complicated.

Make informed decisions

Now the good news. YOHO understands the implications of remote and hybrid working like no one else. We think ahead, helping our clients get ahead of issues and mitigate them as much as possible before they have a major impact. Above all, we help you engage with your employees, so you demonstrate the empathy and understanding that will ultimately pay back handsomely in improved well-being, productivity …. and loyalty.

Get in touch

So, don’t stick your head in the sand. Get in touch and let’s work out the a strategy that makes sense for you