Author Profile Picture

Alex Hind


CEO and co-founder of

Read more about Alex Hind

Tackling the cost of living crisis with workplace wellbeing

Amidst the wave of 2023 predictions and trends for HR, there’s a topic receiving less attention than is perhaps necessary: workplace wellbeing.

Although many leaders hoped to leave last year’s problems behind, this year doesn’t look to be a walk in the park.

In fact, some of the concerns that began to emerge in the latter half of 2022 are now taking their toll on both organisations and their workforce.

But as we ground ourselves, and recognise that the challenges of this year must be met head-on, where should we focus our efforts? That answer is simple: employee wellbeing.

In recent weeks, the HR space has pumped out guide after guide on the challenges of 2023. Unfortunately, workplace wellbeing remains low on these lists. This is because leaders believe it’s a one-sided service.

But it’s this misconception around who the beneficiary is when it comes to workplace wellbeing that drives the disregard from leaders.

When in fact, employees who are genuinely happier, healthier and more engaged with their work, are often exceptional – irreplaceable even.

But what are some of the people challenges of 2023?

  • Poor leadership
  • High attrition
  • Lack of meaningful fringe benefits
  • Cost of living crisis / financial wellbeing
  • Low engagement and job satisfaction
  • General morale and happiness

The reality is that wellbeing can improve engagement, minimise attrition and retain talent, and improve morale and happiness.

The focus here, however, is the cost-of-living crisis. We’re aiming to understand how the recession affects employers and employees.

Taking on the recession one wellbeing initiative at a time

So, how can organisations continue to attract, retain and support employees with wellbeing, even during an economic downturn?

1. Maintaining lifestyles for health and happiness

If a recession wasn’t enough, many employees now find themselves unable to support their lifestyles.

Most decide it’s their gym membership, vitamin subscription or monthly massage that must go first.

But as we know, humans are creatures of habit. Removing the things that make us healthier and happier is never ideal.

What might have appeared to be just another gym session or just another massage was partly someone’s source of health, happiness, productivity and more.

The thinking behind cutting these expenditures is understandable, however, given that the cost of living continues to skyrocket. But proper workplace wellbeing initiatives can eliminate the need to disrupt our lifestyles.

Wellbeing is personal, and what works for one employee may not work for another. That’s what makes lifestyles, or more so freedom of choice, so important.

There are plenty of programmes available to support this. Many of these, though, offer a limited amount of wellbeing experiences, so it’s worth exploring the benefits market for a flexible solution.

The point to take away from this is that your organisation can help employees maintain the things they love outside of work, at no — or little — cost to them.

This alone should be enough to consider workplace wellbeing a necessity, instead of a nice-to-have.

2. The need for emotional wellbeing support during a recession

Emotions are high during a recession. Businesses suffer, people struggle and the light at the end of the tunnel is non-existent.

Our emotions can be detrimental to our decision-making, meaning we may fall behind, miss deadlines or achieve poor results.

Inc. says that anxiety in one area of life can spill into our careers too. Despite the source of anxiety being completely separate, it can cloud our decisions at work.

One of the most common worries employees have is a lack of compensation. It’s reported that employees spend 25% of their working day worrying about finances.

In another study, it was found that not only do money worries create stress, but they hinder productivity for employees.

Burnout has reached a boiling point, and 2023 calls for prioritisation of the mental and emotional wellbeing of people at work.

These anxieties will increase over the next several months, and it’s emotional and mental health support that can help.

From mental health training to regular wellbeing meetings and company culture, there are plenty of opportunities businesses must look at.

3. Attract, retain and save thousands with workplace wellbeing

Finally, let’s look at why workplace wellbeing could help businesses save thousands of pounds.

From hiring to training and a loss of productivity with new starters, attrition is most certainly not ideal during a recession.

Some reports suggest that it can cost on average around six to nine months of an employee’s salary.

Of course, this depends on the level of seniority and responsibility, but regardless, every penny will count in 2023.

It’s likely 2023 won’t just mirror some of the trends of the past year but expand.

Now, how does wellbeing apply in this scenario? Firstly, people-centric workplaces have become more in demand.

In fact, some 87% of employees consider what health and wellness benefits they’ll get when choosing their next employer — indicating that your wellbeing offering could contribute to whether or not you can attract top talent.

Secondly, if the cost of employee wellbeing is any less than what businesses can expect from attrition, it’s a no-brainer of an investment.

By choosing to offer healthcare, wellness memberships and more, you’re actively retaining employees and avoiding higher attrition and costs.

There’s data to prove it: Willis Towers Watson found that 75% of employees are more likely to stick around with an employer because of their employee benefits package.

All in all, workplace wellbeing can be the difference between losing thousands of pounds and great talent or retaining them both.

Final thoughts on the cost of living crisis and workplace wellbeing

We are very much facing an uphill battle, and it’s areas like health and wellbeing that can make the difference — for that reason, leaders must stay on top of the latest wellbeing trends.

Leaders needn’t look far to find demand for better health and wellbeing in 2022. After all, the ‘great resignation’ was driven by hybrid working and improvements in work-life balance.

It’s likely 2023 won’t just mirror some of the trends of the past year but expand. The workplace evolves rapidly, and companies must take action.

Leaders that will succeed are those who are building adaptable businesses. Those willing to try new and inventive ways of supporting healthier, happier employees.

Interested in this topic? If you don’t support financial wellbeing in 2023, you’re not supporting employee wellbeing at all

Author Profile Picture
Alex Hind

CEO and co-founder of

Read more from Alex Hind

Get the latest from HRZone

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to HRZone's newsletter