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Cost of living crisis: Could the office be the solution?

Published: 11 October 2022
Author: Recruiter On Demand

The cost of living crisis is on everyone’s minds, with many looking to cut costs where they can. Encouraging people back into the office could help to ease the pressure. But only if it’s an option – or it could drive employees away.

A return to the office?

According to a survey by Instantprint, 85% of the 900 hybrid workers polled said they found the idea of working from the office more appealing amid the cost of living crisis. And nearly half (45%) said they’ll be more likely to make the commute.

While research from Emburse found that 23% of workers under 35 would consider going into the office more often because of the soaring cost of energy bills.

Working at the office isn’t always an option  

The warmth and free refreshments of the office are attractive, and for some people would help them to reduce household energy bills. But working back in the office won’t suit many whose commuting costs outweigh the increase in energy bills, or who simply can’t return to the office due to carer responsibilities or other personal factors.

Employers need to be careful about how they pitch it. If being ‘encouraged’ back to the office is seen as a heavy-handed demand, it could send employees running.   

It’s a balancing act and one in which flexible working has to be central. Because flexible working is attractive to employees.    

Why flexibility matters (and trust us, it does)

Since 2019, the use of the word ‘flexibility’ has increased by 83% in LinkedIn job posts. Thirty-one per cent of LinkedIn members say that flexible work arrangements are very important when considering a job, and employees who are satisfied with their employer’s time and location flexibility are 2.6 times more likely to be happy and 2.1 times more likely to promote the company to others. And that company promotion is key in the current market.

Switching jobs for higher pay

You need to work hard to promote yourself as a great employer – both to your existing team and to new recruits. The obvious solution for individuals facing financial difficulties is to look for better-paying roles. Findings from Reed.co.uk show that as a result of the cost of living crisis, securing a salary increase has become more important for one in three workers (34%), and is the primary motivator for changing jobs. This will add even more pressure to an already competitive recruitment market.

Making hybrid work  

With employers struggling to fill positions, it’s crucial that your employee offering provides the flexibility that candidates are demanding. It’s time to nail down just how hybrid working works in your organisation, and then make sure you practice what you preach. It’s one thing saying employees have a choice in when and where they work but are you making it easy for them to step into the work conditions that suit them best?

One way of doing that is to put together a hybrid playbook. When the majority of your work is asynchronous and remote, it’s helpful (if not essential) that you get really clear on when and why teams come together. Make expectations transparent and come up with team-level agreements. This will help to create an enticing flexible working offer for new candidates.  

Embedded TAs who live and breathe your culture

It’s all well and good having a great employment proposition, but unless you’re selling it to candidates, it won’t help you to fill positions. It’s a candidates’ market, and right now they can choose to be picky.

So to attract great candidates, you need them to know that you’re worth working for. When we work with you, we fully embed as part of your company. We embrace your business brands as our own, and by doing so, are perfectly placed to promote you to candidates and find individuals who resonate with your values and ways of working. We’ll live and breathe your company values and culture – and we have innovative ways to access previously untapped talent.


“When you need extra support, Recruiter on Demand steps easily into the mix – like having a new member of your team. Because we work as part of your company, rather than on your behalf, we’re able to truly showcase your brand, quickly building rapport with candidates who share your ethos and want the flexibility you’re able to offer.”

~ James Chapman, Director of RoD.

Find out about our embedded expert recruiters and how they can showcase your work culture.