Commuting costs continue to put strain on office worker finances

UK employees are suffering higher cost-of-living expenses, especially due to transportation costs and tensions may rise as many companies enforce return-to-office policies. That is according to the latest study conducted by Capterra on 248 U.K. employees, the majority (69 percent) say their work-related costs have increased over the past 12 months, especially the price of groceries (95 percent), utilities (85 percent), eating out (78 percent), and petrol (63 percent).

According to the poll, most hybrid and remote employees highlighted travel costs as the highest overall expenditure they have when attending the workplace. In total, over half (53 percent) of the sample identified petrol as their highest expense in this regard, putting immense pressure on workers that live far away who are forced to attend the office by car.

As nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of onsite and hybrid workers reported having to travel up to 15.5 miles to get to work, there is clearly a need for companies to address the issue promptly by offering ways to financially support commuters. In an ideal scenario, raising salaries would be the solution to the cost-of-work problem, but with many companies also feeling the force of inflation, upping people’s pay appears to be out of the question. An alarming 68 percent of the surveyed workers say their pay hasn’t kept pace with the rate of increasing costs, which may leave them with limited disposable income for essential living expenses.

Two thirds (66 percent) of the respondents admitted they would consider looking for a new job if they were required to spend an unreasonable amount of their own income on commuting to work.

Many employees feel that companies should at least help them out with some of their commuting costs. For example, 64 percent say their employer should pay for parking, while a further 47 percent say that their company should either pay for their public transport costs or share the price to ease the financial burden. Aside from the economic benefits, the majority (69 percent) say they would enjoy working onsite more if there were parking or transport reimbursements from employers.

As many as 71 percent of employees said they would enjoy going to their workplace more if they were offered flexible start and finish times. This can also help staff avoid the high ticket prices at peak times and sitting in rush hour traffic.