As we emerge from the pandemic and normality resumes, an increasing number of employers are looking for ways to get their staff back into the office.

However, many are facing conflict, with travelling expenses being a key hurdle amidst the cost of living crisis.

Should commuting costs be covered?

According to research from YouGov and management solutions company Emburse, 68 per cent of British employees would return to the office full-time if their commuting costs were covered, with 27 per cent saying they wouldn’t.

Commuting patterns and distances can differ considerably from one employee to another, and then there is also the impact of taxation on such payments to consider too if employers were to cover the costs of commuting.

Nevertheless, this is an incentive that employers should think about if they wish to boost morale and improve employee retention.

Can employers insist that their staff return?

It is up to the employer whether their staff must return to work or not. However, if you do enforce this, there is a risk of losing talented, valuable members of the team.

Many employees may choose to move on to other employers who offer working from home and hybrid working.

If you are unable to provide these options, you should consider offering other incentives to attract staff back, which could include:

Creating a better work environment

Everything from the selection of colours to office furniture plays a role in persuading staff to return, as a nicely designed interior and exterior will create a positive impact.

This could also include a garden area to relax during breaks, art on the walls, as well as comfortable seating.

Keeping up with technology

There is no doubt that the latest technology attracts the best staff and is more efficient.

This is especially true when it comes to the health and safety of your employees. Read our latest blog on this here for more information.

Sustaining a clean environment

Even with restrictions having been lifted, frequent cleaning will lead to a more pleasant environment while reducing the risks of passing on infections.

It is also imperative for communal areas such as toilets and kitchens to be cleaned and taken care of regularly.

Emburse’s General Manager and Senior Vice President, EMEA Kenny Eon, said that businesses should do all they can to ease financial worries of their workers during the cost-of-living crisis. 

He added: “Given the sharp increase in the cost of living, businesses should consider how they can support staff by reducing the financial burden of attending the office in person. Reimbursing travel and lunches can certainly help do this.”