WITH THE price of food, fuel, energy, clothes, travel costs and rent continuing to increase as inflation rises, Wylie & Bisset, Accountants and Business Advisors, is advising SMEs to adopt a ‘trench warfare mentality’ and adapt their Covid working from home plans to help employers and employees cope with the cost-of-living crisis.
Mark Mulholland, partner in the firm’s Business Advisory department, said: “At the start of the pandemic, SMEs took radical steps to change their business processes by adopting WFH practices and I think they need to revisit that ‘trench warfare’ mentality and adapt their working methodologies to the cost-of-living crisis.”
“We’re actively encouraging staff to WFH over the summer months to enable them to cut down on their travel time and costs, as well as helping with childcare costs over the summer holidays – which can represent a considerable saving – and adopting hybrid working arrangements to give staff more flexibility can help save businesses money over the medium term by potentially reducing space requirements.”
Mr Mulholland also notes that there are environmental benefits to be had from WFH, with less commuters travelling to workplaces by car helping reduce air pollution, particularly in city centres.
Acknowledging that many people are unable to work from home, and that pay rises across the board will be unable to match inflation at 11%, he advises employers to consider alternative employee benefits to help see them through the cost-of-living crisis.
“If a workplace has a communal kitchen, businesses could consider offering employees free or discounted meals, and where neighbouring employees commute to the workplace, employers could establish a car club and consider aligning shifts so that they can car share and save travel expenses,” he suggested.
Mr Mulholland also advises SME business owners to revisit their pricing structure on a regular basis.
“Business owners need to raise prices to cope with rising costs of materials as many SMEs simply cannot continue to absorb increases in operational costs without passing on some of that cost to their clients and customers, and that key to that is communication.”