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Bosses picking up the lifestyle bill as disposable income shrinks

Workers unable to splash out on takeouts and gym memberships rely on employer-funded rewards to support their lifestyles

New proprietary data is showing the extent to which businesses have become champions of their employees’ lifestyles. With price rises fuelling the cost of living crisis, employees are increasingly relying on employer-funded rewards to enjoy the moments that matter outside of work.

Over the past year, there has been a huge uptick in the use of employer-funded rewards* and benefits in comparison to 2022. With price rises reducing discretionary income, workers are turning to their employer for support, redeeming rewards to fund life’s little luxuries including food deliveries and gym memberships.

Reward redemptions were compared from April 2022 to April 2023 to see how the cost of living crisis has impacted employee’s leisure activities, finding:

  • A 126% rise in food delivery redemptions
  • A 26% uptick in gym membership discounts

Whilst data from March 2022 to March 2023 showed a 27% increase in discounts.

Brits cutback on leisure and recreation
Meanwhile, according to a survey* of over 2,000 UK workers, personal spending on leisure activities has dropped significantly, with over half (54%) of employees saying they’ve cut back on dining out and takeaways due to cost of living pressures. Cinema trips have also taken a back seat, with more than a third (35%) admitting they’ve cut back on this particular luxury and nearly two fifths (38%) cutting back on holidays due to rising costs.

When it comes to sporting hobbies and health and fitness spending, one in five (20%) are no longer going to sporting fixtures and 19% have cut back on fitness-related expenditure including gym membership.

When compared, the survey findings and user data demonstrate how workers turn to their employers for support so they may enjoy the activities they’d have to forego otherwise.

Support from businesses is repaid with loyalty
According to the research findings, a clear connection can be found in those employees who are most unhappy in their job and who aren’t being recognised or rewarded by their employer for their achievements. In fact, nearly three-fifths (59%) of employees currently do not have access to a rewards and benefits platform. Of these employees, only 35% are happy in their current role and are not actively seeking a new job, compared to 65% of those who do have access to rewards and benefits.

Similarly, of the employees without access to a rewards platform, 72% believe their employer does not care about how the cost of living crisis impacts them — whereas only 28% of those who receive rewards via a rewards and recognition platform  harbour the same feelings.

Gautam Sahgal, CEO of Perkbox commented: “Recognising the hard work of your workforce and rewarding them for their achievements is an essential part of an employer’s role – particularly in these pressured and uncertain economic times. By supporting them in ways that mean they don’t have to forgo the moments that matter – whether it’s the ability to still enjoy small treats, leisure activities or family breaks – employers have the power to boost the mental, physical and financial wellbeing of their people. In return, they will see a more motivated workforce that’s better aligned to the company’s purpose, so a holistic reward offering is key.”

Perkbox’s reward and recognition software simplifies the ability for businesses to create impactful reward programmes around the behaviours that drive business success. With it, they can seamlessly reward employees, wherever they may be based in the world, fostering an inclusive and winning culture.

*Perkbox’s proprietary data is based on the number of supermarket redemptions by users between April 2022 and April 2023.

The research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Perkbox during February 2023. It surveyed 2,027 UK full-time workers between 10.02.23 – 14.02.23. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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