As petrol prices in the UAE have risen by nearly 60% since the start of the year, organisations in the Emirates have begun to see the knock on effect this has had on their operating costs. New data from Bayzat, the UAE’s leading employee benefits platform, shows that on average, the amount spent monthly by UAE companies on fuel reimbursements for their staff has increased by over a third (38%) between January through June this year. In line with these findings, the company also found that fuel is among the most requested reimbursements for UAE employees, with the average amount per reimbursement also having increased by 18%.
Along with requests for fuel reimbursements, there has also been a significant spike in requests for travel reimbursements. Data from the Bayzat platform showed that on average, the amount spent per month by UAE companies on reimbursing travel expenses grew over five-fold over the first six months of 2022. Digging deeper, the data also revealed that the average amount spent per travel reimbursement in June, was 144% higher than in January this year. As this reimbursement category potentially includes travel expenses such as companies’ obligatory issuance of annual tickets home for employees, it isn’t possible to confidently draw inference that business travel has been on the rise. However, with average travel reimbursements having steadily increased month-on-month since the start of the year, it is evident that employees now have an increased comfort level for travel in the post-pandemic world.
“In the present business environment, it’s imperative for organisations to know exactly where their operating overheads lie. Having this level of granularity when it comes to employee expenditure data like fuel and travel expenses can help businesses adapt short-term strategies to determine efficiency improvement areas and thus navigate market conditions more effectively,” said Talal Bayaa, CEO and co-founder at Bayzat. “An obvious solution to keeping fuel and travel reimbursement costs in check would be for organisations to embrace hybrid and remote working as these have already proved highly-effective in keeping employees productive and happy. Furthermore, any concerns that organisations have around maintaining employee performance or tracking attendance can be easily addressed with the new breed of digital HR management platforms,” said Bayaa.
Offering advice to companies that cap, or are looking to cap, their fuel and travel reimbursement amounts, Bayaa explained how data could be leveraged to ensure any such moves do not impact employee satisfaction. “Apart from helping to curb costs, insight into what HR requests employees raise the most can also help business leaders craft employee-centric initiatives and programs that could greatly enhance workforce satisfaction. Financial compensation is just one element in keeping today’s employees happy and engaged. As organisations compete in the ‘war for talent’, factors such as flexibility, company culture, career progression and perks all combine to play a critical role in attracting and retaining top professionals,” he said.
Bayzat’s analysis of the top employee perks availed of by users of its digital platform showed eCommerce benefits to be by far the most preferred. “Among the broad range of offers we’ve made available to our clients’ employees, from shopping and dining to health and well-being, the top three over the first half of the year were for Noon.com, Namshi, and Sun & Sand. This indicates that organisations could get an edge in enhancing employee experiences by providing them with eCommerce and retail benefits,” Bayaa said.