5 ways businesses can support their workers in the face of the cost of living crisis

Kimberly Hurd
CRO
Collective Benefits

Flexible workers face a real struggle as the UK grapples with the current cost of living crisis. First, there’s the catch-22 situation of eye-watering fuel costs eating into profits as the price of food and pretty much everything else goes up. (Inflation has reached its highest recorded level.) Then there’s the knock-on effect this is having on individuals’ mental health.

There’s no other way to say it – these are really tough times. A survey of 13,000 adults carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that 83% of people saw an increase in their cost of living in the month of March 2022. And that 31% of those are actually buying less food to cope with this. (34% are using less gas and electricity, too.)

Of course, if on-demand workers are struggling to afford to work because of fuel costs, or are generally feeling stressed out and worried, the platforms they work for are going to feel a knock-on effect. So what can on-demand businesses do to support their workers in the face of all of this? It goes without saying that fair pay comes first and foremost. But there are lots of other valuable ways companies can help alleviate the strain of the cost of living crisis for their workers too. Let’s take a look.

Give your workers access to money management support

Studies show that financial education can help lower stress when it comes to money worries. So creating an offering around improving your workers’ financial literacy or money management skills could be one valuable step to take towards helping them in these difficult times.

There are tons of apps out there that are focused on helping users manage their money better. Like Snoop, which gives users an in-depth view of their spending, helps them keep on top of their bills, and tells them where they could be saving by doing things like switching energy suppliers. 

There are also a lot of financial wellness apps available, spanning from those that help users build credit to those that offer financial coaching and investment support. 

Giving your workers access to tools like this can be a simple way to help them feel more in control of their money.

Offer workers a benefits package that provides them with everyday savings and insurance cover

Offering on-demand workers a benefits programme is proven to help attract and retain talent

That’s because a lot of workers crave the security that those with permanent contracts have (as revealed in this study). This feels even more relevant now that we find ourselves in financially tumultuous times. 

Offering a benefits programme that provides deals and discounts at highstreet stores, supermarkets, and big brands can make a real difference to your workers’ day-to-day spending. That might be through helping them to cut down their weekly food bill, upgrade their phones, or simply to take their kids out for a meal. Either way, it all goes towards cutting down the general cost of living. 

Providing your workers with insurance cover can also help relieve the stress that comes with wondering what they’d do if they were sick and had to take time off. Knowing they have cover in place in case something goes wrong can go a long way towards reducing those money worries. 

At Collective Benefits, our benefits programmes can be tailored to meet the needs of your business and workers – whether you want to offer everyday savings, insurance, or both.

Reduce barriers that prevent workers from taking on jobs

Not being able to take on jobs because of the soaring cost of fuel is a real possibility for many on-demand workers who rely on their vehicles to take jobs. So it could be worthwhile offering a benefits programme that helps your workers pay for fuel – like ours at Collective Benefits, which gives workers a fuel discount at all major brands and supermarkets. Our fuel programme also allows workers to buy fuel on a simple credit scheme (a bit like Klarna) where they get their fuel in advance then pay for it at the end of the month. This can come as a huge relief to those who are struggling for cash but need to fill up with fuel to be able to earn. 

Plus (sorry for the self-promo but we think it’s important!), workers on the Collective Benefits fuel programme get access to our free fuel finder tool, which shows them the cheapest deals in their area. 

It might also be worth thinking about offering discount-oriented benefits that give your workers access to vehicle repair and upgrades at a more affordable price. 

Every little helps, as they say – which couldn’t be truer right now. 

Make sure communication about pay is crystal clear

When money is tight for workers, the last thing they want is to have to worry about when exactly they’ll get paid, or whether they get to keep all of their tips. Of course, it’s never ok to not be transparent about pay. But taking extra measures to make sure your communication is crystal clear here can help workers feel less stressed.  

It might be easy to shrug this off – your workers are going to get paid in the end, after all. 

But the fact is, workers have bills to pay and plans to make, all of which can become really stressful if there’s any grey area at all around when they’ll be getting their hard-earned cash. In fact, a recent YouGov study shows that one in five UK workers said anxiety caused by poor communication around pay makes them think about looking for another job.


Making sure workers can easily ask questions about pay (and get a prompt response) is one way to make sure they’re never left in the dark about their money. And creating some clear  FAQs on your website can also be valuable.

All of this only matters if your company has the capability to pay workers reliably and on time – so making sure your payment system is up to scratch has to come first!

Consider offering a cash-out or ‘instant pay’ scheme 

Some on-demand businesses that pay workers on a weekly basis also give them the chance to ‘cash out’ through the week. In other words, to access the money they’ve already made straight away without waiting until ‘pay-day’.

If you have the capacity to do so, offering your workers the option to access their money instantly (even if you limit that to a few times a week) could make a big difference. Whether they have a larger payment coming up one week or are faced with an unexpected bill, having flexibility over when they can access their earnings could really help. 

As an on-demand business, you might not be able to alleviate your workers’ money troubles completely. But there are things you can do to help ease the strain and, most importantly, to show them you care. If that also happens to mean they’re more likely to stay loyal to your company? That’s a pretty decent bonus, in our eyes.

Want to find out more about how Collective Benefits can help you offer your workers a rewarding benefits package? Head here.

June 8, 2022