Cost-of-living crisis | Libraries and cafés see influx of remote workers

Libraries and cafés see influx of remote workers

A startling 80% of SMEs are worried about how the cost of living crisis is affecting their business, and a quarter are concerned they might not be able to pay their bills this year, according to Simply Business insurance provider.

These stark statistics are playing out in towns across the country with retailers and eateries witnessing a significant rise in the number of workers entering their doors in a bid to reduce their own home energy bills. In fact, Talk Talk reports that 90% of remote workers are worried that working from home is impacting on their bills.

One in ten workers now work from alternative locations for the full five-day week, and almost a third of employees use these facilities three to four days a week. A half of all employees surveyed swap their homes for local outlets one or two days a week.

While the promise of warmth in these establishments may be the lure for most, the hybrid working population are also enjoying a stable internet connection for the cost of a coffee.

Talk Talk has confirmed this trend and states internet usage across most seated outlets has increased since last year and that libraries have experienced the highest usage of internet data with a whopping 147% increase.

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New Malden Library in Surrey comments: "Our library has seen an increase in people taking advantage of our free wifi and seating areas to work remotely, with customers commenting that it is nice to have other people around sometimes as it can be isolating working from home. With the cost of living pressures, more people are also using the library to work to avoid heating their own homes all day."

Other businesses that have witnessed increases are coffee shops (38%), restaurants (27%), and pubs 25%.

Jonathan Kini, Managing Director of TalkTalk, said: “Our latest report also highlights the importance of local businesses, including libraries and coffee shops, in supporting Britain’s ever-growing hybrid working community.”

It’s great to see high street shops looking busy with customers, however a worker who buys one coffee upon arrival might stay the whole morning and take up a space without making another purchase.

All the stresses that come with business management have taken their toll and the mental health of small business owners has never been worse, with one fifth talking about battling depression and nearly twice as many saying they are experiencing anxiety.

Employers and employees alike are hoping to alleviate the financial crisis by cutting costs where possible, and research by IWG says 36% of Brits have given up gym memberships due to cost-of-living concerns.

Workers are turning to their employers for assistance, with 50% saying they want their employer to provide discounted or subsidised fitness memberships as a workplace benefit. For younger employees aged 18 to 24, this percentage rises to 70%.

Although sales on the High Street have slumped over the last few years, sports and fitness brands have seen an uptrend during the cost-of-living crisis with a 17% rise in spending recorded over the last two years.

For employers wanting to find useful ways to assist their staff in these hard times, delving into the fitness world to find new employee benefits might be a way to offer their workforce exactly what they are asking for.

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