Tips to get the most from salary sacrifice in 2017

By Neil Bowen, Business Development Director, You At Work

As we head into January, I won’t be the only one thinking about the ‘better self’ I’m going to be in 2017.  More organised, more productive, healthier, fitter, and so on. And while many of do indeed make progress, day-to-day life often has a habit of getting in the way. Whether it’s the little things like our routine after work that leaves little time for healthy eating or exercise, or more profound statements like the removal of tax breaks on well being benefits announced in the autumn statement, there are clear if not overly defensible reasons for stalling when it comes to healthy living.

The former we can do something about. Only last week, Public Health England warned on middle-aged people in England facing a health crisis because of unhealthy lifestyles. Nothing new here but the article hinted towards the practical steps we can take to be more healthy. And for me, the this is the crux of the issue. We don’t need to be told to be healthy, barely a day goes past without another report into our health and the consequences not only on ourselves but on the NHS. What is helpful however is inexpensive and straightforward changes we can make to our daily routines; actions that you and I could actually take without significant upheaval. And this presents a great opportunity to enhance your health and well being scheme. We all know that great communication is key to successful scheme adoption so why not introduce tips and ideas that make it easier for your employees to actually use their new bike or gym membership?

The latter does need more explanation. On the one hand the Chancellor of the Exchequer sees a cash strapped government loosing £5bn per annum in NI contributions, hence the long-anticipated clamp down on salary sacrifice, and on the other we have the Secretary of State for Health head to head with junior doctors over their contract, striving to balancing a stretched NHS budget with delivery and performance. Indeed some of the extra NI revenue may find its way to the NHS but penalising workers that are striving for a healthier lifestyle and in turn being less reliant on the NHS is surely counter productive? Maybe it’s too obvious a solution? A solution we can get to grips with though, is helping our workforces get the most from Salary Sacrifice in 2017. How are you going to do it this Year?

Seven tips to help you get started.

  • Binge-watch when you've earned it! Record your favourite TV show to watch after you have exercised.
  • Binge-watch as you earn it? Watch movies or box sets while you're at the gym.
  • Book exercise classes so you're more committed and part of a group with the same mission and interests.
  • Make small adjustments and build exercise into your daily routine. Leave the car at home and cycle or get off the bus or tube one stop before and walk the last few minutes.
  • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier. You will have more energy for exercise.
  • Download cooking apps for healthy meals that can be prepared and cooked in minutes
  • Think like an entrepreneur – focus on the end goal of success, what that looks like, and knock the barriers away.

 Bring health benefits into your scheme. Learn more here.