With inflation at its highest level in 40 years and this year seeing the largest fall in UK real wages since records began in 2001 according to reports, the cost of living crisis is creating a cause for concern for those across the country.
As winter draws nearer, and energy bills already skyrocketing, homeowners are faced with the difficult reality of how they may afford to keep their homes warm in the coming months.
And for those working from home, this could even mean altering their working environment to cut back on costs with recent surveys revealing that more than 85% of employees found working from the office more appealing amidst the cost of living crisis.
Now, nearly half state that they are likely to make the commute to their workplace to save on their energy bills, thus meaning employers should expect a large return to office working soon.
The widespread shift to home-working over the past 2 years as a result of the pandemic has benefitted the mental health of employees, with almost half (45%) reporting a positive impact compared to working in the office according to research.
Coupled with the negative impact that the cost of living has so far had on employees’ mental health, the need to return to the office suggests that wellbeing across the country could be significantly impaired over the coming months.
Supporting this, 66% of therapists state that cost of living concerns are causing a decline in mental wellbeing.
Sarah Baker, Chief Learning Officer at Virtual College stated: “Now, more so than ever, employers need to be attuned with the underlying impacts of our current and ongoing climate on mental wellbeing.
“Whilst the cost of living crisis is going to be difficult for us all, for employees who have made the shift to home working as a result of the pandemic, now having to reconsider their working environment is undoubtedly overwhelming, and employers need to be prepared for how best to address this.
“Providing support not only for employees’ mental wellbeing as they transition back to the office but also supporting them in getting reacquainted with an office environment will help employees to best adapt to the ongoing circumstances”.
The specialist online training provider has recently launched a new page on its website compiling all of its mental health and wellbeing resources. Suitable for both employees and employers, its courses and resources detail how best to support mental wellbeing in the workplace.
Also, for employers wanting to ensure that the transition back to the office is made as easy as possible for their employees, the company has several team-related resources designed to support teams and individual employees to adapt to their working environment effectively.
The managing change in the workplace course, for example, describes how employers can best manage change within a team and offers advice on the most effective techniques to support a team through change.
Similarly, the company’s working with others course provides a great way to explore team models and leadership practices to help build and maintain excellent collaborative working relationships.