Whilst the growth of flexible hours and hybrid working has been driven by the COVID19 pandemic, a new potential crisis is driving working behaviour. The phrase ‘cost of living’ has never been more widely used and the majority of people, and not just those on lower incomes, are now very aware of the price increases caused by fuel cost rises. This isn’t just the cost of fuel and energy itself, but also food costs, cost of clothing, and cost of essential services.

Offering a shared office space to work from if this is going to make life more affordable for your team, as well as being flexible, is a good way in which businesses can support their team, but how else can businesses support their staff in the office through the cost of living?

Normalise the packed lunch

Packed lunches are hugely more affordable than buying your food in every day – a whole loaf of bread will cost the same as the cheapest supermarket sandwich. However, if everyone buys their food in, if there is a standard sandwich run, or if there is pressure to go out for food, this can add to people’s concerns. Leading the charge by bringing a nice packed lunch every day sets a good example, and normalises the idea that people should save money on food every day in this easy way. For events, hold office picnics or in-office drinks instead of suggesting going out.

Keep a fruit bowl in your shared office space

If, as a company, you can afford to spend a little a week on this, you can make sure that people are getting a fresh snack. For an office of 10, you could spend as little as £5 to keep a full bowl of standard fruit such as apples, bananas, satsumas, and grapes. For anyone struggling at the end of the month, this could be something they’d really appreciate.

Run a flexible dress code

As it is, people might not be able to afford the latest fashions and expensive shoes. The cost of living increase is going to make clothes one of the first things to be cut from the monthly budget. Reminding your team that on a day-to-day basis, as long as you are presentable that the dress code is flexible might take a worry away.  Lead by example by avoiding wearing anything particularly high-end on a daily basis and make sure that people feel comfortable.

Help where you can

If your business has just a little money to spend on offering small luxuries, such as packs of Halloween sweets to take home in October, toffee apples in November, and giving each employee an advent calender for themselves or their kids in December, touches like this would go a long way at a difficult time as well as boost morale.

Shared office space – building a community

At difficult times, it’s easy to feel alone and isolated. A shared office space can be somewhere people can not just make a living, but also feel safe and supported. Making a community in your office need not cost a large amount of budget and can often only require thought and care.