Lovewell’s logic: Will the cost of living impact working arrangements?

Could the rising cost of living soon influence employees’ attitudes to hybrid working?

Over the past few years, hybrid working has increasingly become the norm for millions of employees, with many keen to continue working from home for at least part of the week. In many cases, where employers have stipulated that employees must return to the office for a minimum number of days per week, this has been met with resistance from staff. For example, when Apple CEO, Tim Cook, announced staff must return to the office for at least three days a week from 5 September, a group of employees launched an internal petition, claiming that the organisation’s flexible-working policy of the past few years had resulted in exceptional work.

But as we head into autumn, could continued rises in the cost of living mean this is about to change?

Research published this week by spend management company Emburse, in conjunction with YouGov, found that 17% of the workers surveyed said their preference of working location may need to change as a direct result of the rising cost of living. This rises to 23% among workers aged under 35, who would be more inclined to return to an office due to rising energy prices.

More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents who are currently able to work from home said their employer has never provided support with energy costs and does not plan to do so in the future. Just 9% said their employer currently provides financial support with bills such as electricity, heating and mobile phones, with a further 7% saying their employer is planning to do so. With many employers also feeling the pinch, is this really likely to change?

So, are employers likely to see more employees keen to return to the office as prices continue to increase, in a bid to ease the burden of bills? As the cost of living rises, it will be interesting to see how this impacts on the workplace.

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
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