What impact will rising travel costs have on hybrid working?

With the cost of fuel soaring, employers in accountancy would be wise to reconsider their stance on hybrid working and ready themselves for making it work in order to attract and retain talent.

Perhaps your firm already offers your staff the option to work remotely for some of the time. Or maybe you’ve successfully managed to pull your staff back into the office after the pandemic restrictions eased. Either way, at Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’ve noticed a considerable increase in candidates only willing to consider hybrid working and as such wanted to advise our clients that the more flexible they can be, the more likely they’ll be able to attract the best accountants out there.

At the time of writing this article the RAC reports the average price of unleaded petrol as £1.62 per litre and diesel averaging at a dizzying £1.76. And data also collated by the RAC shows that 67% of workers commute by car in England, 68% in Scotland and a whopping 83% in Wales. And for many of these people the rising costs in fuel are almost at the point of un-affordability with £2 a litre being widely regarded as the point of no return for most commuters (£2 a litre would signal a 60% increase in fuel prices in just a 12 month period!)

And of course it’s not just those who commute by car who are feeling the pinch. Rail prices have risen by 3.8% this year which is reported to be the biggest hike in 9 years, and it’s thought that this is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

‘At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’re meeting accountants on a daily basis for whom, hybrid or sometimes total remote working, is the most important factor when it comes to looking for a job in practice. These accountants know there is an industry shortage and they know that they will find posts that offer them some flexibility over their commute, so they’re quite literally choosing whether to take the driving seat in their career or not!’

Garry Howling, MD

So would we recommend that you offer hybrid working at your accountancy firm?

Even if it’s just for one or two days a week, it’s a big yes from us.

But to help you reframe this decision -here’s three big reasons why hybrid working is a great step forward for you as an employer as well as for the candidates you’ll attract and the existing employees that you’ll retain.

You’ll benefit from a happier workforce.

And who doesn’t want to be around happy people! By allowing hybrid working as a way to increase the wellbeing of your staff you’ll reduce stress and increase employee happiness and that will have a knock on impact – happy staff usually mean happy clients and happy clients make for happy firms. It’s a cycle of positivity!

Oh and let’s not forget that in real terms, allowing staff to work from home for all or part of the week will save them significant costs so effectively you’ll be increasing their take home pay which can only make them happier right?

You’ll save money too.

Think about ways that you can use the change to hybrid working to reduce your own costs. Perhaps you can save office space if you come up with a different way of working on site. Or if you all agree what days the whole team can work remotely and what days they are in the office, you’ll save money in heat and light on the days that you don’t need to open the office.

There’s never been a better time to throw the rules out the window and start afresh – nothing is impossible with modern technology so if you can make hybrid working work financially for you as an employer as well as for your employees that can only be a good thing.

You can attract accountants from a much wider pool.

Firms that embrace hybrid working may be finding the perfect solution to recruitment challenges that they’ve faced due to the geographical location of their firm.

If you allow your staff to work from home some or most of the time, your vacancies will suddenly be attracting talented accountants all over the country and this could transform your workforce overnight!

These benefits are just some of the many reasons that we’re currently encouraging our clients to always consider hybrid working if they can. In the current climate, adjusting your mindset to view increased flexibility about where your staff work, is a brilliant thing to do and we’re certain that you’ll reap the rewards as an employer.

If you’ve found this read interesting we have plenty more resources in our employers’ hub to help you increase employee wellbeing and increase productivity in one fell swoop. Why not take a few minutes to look at these articles on similar topics.

Why a productive and happy workforce can go hand in hand. 

What you can add to your benefits package to attract the top talent. 

Why the human touch matters in accountancy.


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