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19th Apr, 2022

Olivia Maguire
Olivia Maguire
Job Title
Content Marketing Lead

The impact of surging demand and the war in Ukraine has led to fuel costs reaching an all-time high. Financial employee benefit company GettaSub surveyed 2,000 UK employees back in June 2019 and found that 44% were struggling to pay for fuel in order to get to work. Allied with the increase in the general cost of living, employees are facing even more difficulty in paying for their daily commutes.

We recently conducted a LinkedIn poll where we asked almost 2000 people if their company offer incentives to employees to help with travelling to work, and 75% of respondents said they didn’t. Those that fail to provide initiatives and support to employees will not only damage their employer brand, but they may also find their employees leaving for better benefits packages elsewhere.

Here are some initiatives you could implement:

Cycle to work schemes

Cycle to work schemes usually involve the employee hiring/purchasing a bike using money from their employer and having the monthly payments deducted from their salary. This enables them to make savings by reducing their income tax and national insurance contributions and eases the cost of having to purchase a bike outright.

For employees, it is cheaper than driving, improves overall health and fitness, reduces their carbon footprint, and is often a quicker commute if they live in a busy location with lots of traffic.

As a business, cycle to work schemes can go a long way towards reducing your company’s carbon emissions. Also, improving staff’s fitness and wellbeing can increase their engagement and motivation at work.

Encouraging car sharing

Car sharing has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It reduces fuel consumption and parking costs, minimises congestion on the roads, and is also a great way to meet people who live locally. Additionally, if your business has limited parking spaces, this can reduce the number of vehicles on site at any one time.

One way to encourage car sharing is to guarantee the most convenient spaces to those who take advantage of the scheme.

Fuel allowance

Offering fuel allowance for employers who have a long commute, or those who regularly drive as part of their job, is common practice for most businesses and can help employees with the growing cost of fuel.

However, with many companies actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, encouraging employees to use alternative transport and supporting them with expenses may be a better option.

Commuting/season ticket loans

Those who get the train to and from work every day find that buying a season ticket is a cheaper option than paying for each journey separately. By offering them a season ticket loan, employees can spread the cost of this across the year without having to pay for the cost of the ticket in one go.

Reduce days in the office

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, remote working has become a standard part of business practice. Many companies have seen that they can continue to operate successfully with employees working remotely, and now with the rising cost of fuel – one way to support employees is to encourage them to work from home more.

However, working from home can bring its own additional costs due to the price of energy. While each bring their own challenges, it’s important to remain as flexible as possible when it comes to offering remote working.

Electric charging points

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, almost 40,000 new electric vehicles were registered in the UK in March 2022. Additionally, the government has announced that the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 in order to reach its net zero gas emissions targets.

Providing electric charging points at your workplace is a great way to encourage staff to invest in an electric vehicle by giving them the option to charge it at work.

Flexible hours to miss the rush-hour traffic or peak rail fares

Another way that you can support employees is by allowing them to work flexible hours that miss the rush-hour traffic or travel using off-peak rail tickets.

Having to stop and start when driving through traffic can use up more fuel, so offering employees the option to start and finish slightly later or earlier to miss the rush can save them time and money. Off-peak train tickets cost substantially less than those covering the ‘peak’ of rush hour, so allowing staff to commute outside these times will save them money.

Provide a free bus/shuttle service

Large companies that have their offices outside of the town or city centre, or those with large campuses or multiple buildings that house different departments, can benefit from providing a free bus or shuttle service. As an employer, you don’t have to pay tax or national insurance on this, and it’s another way to help employees minimise fuel costs, reduce the amount of traffic on the roads, and cut down on carbon emissions.

Electric bikes/scooters

Many towns and cities have embraced electric bikes or scooters to reduce congestion and provide an alternative mode of transport for those travelling in urban locations. You could arrange to have a designated parking zone near your office so these are readily available for employees to use.

Make sure to prioritise financial wellbeing support

In addition to providing travel alternatives and financial support for commuters through these different initiatives, many employees may find financial wellbeing support helpful in light of the cost of living increase.

While some organisations may consider financial wellbeing a personal concern rather than a professional issue, this should not be the case. Providing advice on debt management, budgeting, and tips for everyday spending and saving can help employees reduce stress and ease financial burdens.

Discount schemes

One way to help employees who are struggling with rising fuel costs is by helping them save money elsewhere. Reed conducted a survey of over 500 professionals at the end of 2021 and just 35% of those surveyed said they received discounts on brands as part of their benefits package. Providing discounts is a great way for employees to save money on other things, potentially freeing up more money for fuel.

Review employee benefits packages

It’s always good business sense to regularly review your benefits packages, especially if you’re looking to retain or attract new talent in this challenging market. With the increased cost of living, now is the perfect time to reflect on what you are offering - could you remove unwanted benefits and instead implement schemes that your employees want?

The impact of the cost of living and fuel crisis is something that businesses need to prioritise. By supporting employees through both long-term and short-term initiatives, you will not only demonstrate that you take your duty of care seriously, but you are also likely to see a boost in your employer brand and increased employee engagement.

If you are looking for a talented new professional or would like advice on how best to support your employees through your salary and benefits package, speak to one of our expert consultants today.