Inflation in the UK is predicted to hit 20% within the next year. Across the country, people are bracing themselves for the effects of the cost of living crisis. Petrol, food and energy bills are set to rise by an unprecedented amount. It’s inevitable that the economic situation will have an impact at work.

In this article we consider some of the ways you can help your employees navigate this crisis.

Revisit your hybrid working policy

Has it become too expensive to work from home? A once attractive hybrid arrangement may not be viable as winter approaches. It doesn’t make sense to work remotely when you’re anxious about heating your home, keeping the lights on and even boiling the kettle. Inviting employees back to the office where all these things are covered could help lower stress levels.

But employees who aren’t local to the office may still prefer to work remotely. Their commute may cost more than increased energy bills. Empower your employees to make decisions that work best for them. Happy, valued employees will work harder and continue excelling in their role.

Increase the functionality of your intranet

When considering making changes, you may be wondering how to get the information to your employees. It all starts with your intranet. Valo 4.0 can be customised to fit your needs and preferences and improves how people interact with content.

Any updates in the intranet can be easily shared through the Teams channel to boost engagement. Share what you’re doing to help during the cost of living crisis – whether that’s spotlighting a cycle-to-work scheme, encouraging employees to revisit the hybrid work policy as their circumstances change, or signposting mental health resources.

You can learn more about the latest updates for Valo 4.0 here.

Save money with a Cycle to Work scheme

Recent research from Blackhawk Network suggests that people can save up to £760 each year by commuting by bicycle. You may already have a cycle-to-work scheme, but is everyone aware of it? Use your intranet to familiarise everyone with the policy, reducing the time spent searching for it.

Power Automate can be integrated to streamline the process by automating approvals. Automate will prepare you for a large uptake of the scheme, so a slow process reliant on manual approval won’t be a barrier to getting involved.

Also utilise your intranet to communicate existing benefits like season ticket loans, gym memberships and discounts, as employees are likely to be cancelling wellbeing subscriptions to save money. If you have Viva Insights, employees can access guided meditations and breathing exercises from the Headspace app. They can continue to engage in mindfulness at no personal cost.

Prioritise connection and communication

Viva Engage connects you to your colleagues, from the office and at home. Share snippets of your daily achievements and interact with what others are doing using the stories function. There’s space in Engage for small talk and anecdotes too – share funny pet pictures or discuss the latest tv show release. Focusing on social connection will contribute to higher employee morale and effective teamwork.

People are always looking for money-saving tips and advice. Why not ask the financially savvy in your organisation to establish a forum where people can share and discuss ideas? Or connect those who enjoy cooking with a space to share budget-friendly recipes. Viva Communities allows you to easily set up forums that will quickly become employee-led to reflect their needs. Building communities reassures people that the economic crisis is a shared experience, protecting against isolation, and providing an informal channel to find support.

Utilise Viva Learning for financial education

You can deliver more formal financial education with Viva Learning, with expert courses on topics like budgeting and investing, or the importance of continuing pension contributions for long-term security. Not only is this valuable information, it’s also a less daunting way for employees to seek help if they’re not comfortable talking about their financial worries in a 1-1 with their manager.

For a complete overview of how you can use Microsoft Viva to improve the employee experience, read our full article here.

As the cost of living crisis worsens, the structure of the work week is likely going to change again. Whether that trend is more in-office days to counter rising energy prices or more remote working due to the cost of fuel and public transport remains to be seen. But it’s crucial that employers are proactive in providing support. Offering a cohesive intranet and resources targeted at wellbeing and communication will help alleviate the financial pressures your employees face.

We hope you find these ideas helpful, you can follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date with our latest insights. If you’re interested in transforming your intranet, you can book a call with one of our certified consultants for more information on Valo 4.0.