It’s no secret that money worries can affect out mental health. Financial stress can cause us problems sleeping, anxious spells, and even impact how we work. The cost of living crisis only serves to increase our concern about facing money worries. One of the core pillars of employee wellbeing, financial employee wellbeing, is becoming more of a prevalent issue for organisations. 67% of employees admitting to struggling financially, which not only impacts them on an individual basis, but also companywide. Estimates show that the economic cost of workplace mental health is around the £35bn mark.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of supporting financial wellbeing for employees. In a survey, 62.5% of companies believe the financial wellbeing of employees is ultimately down to the employer. The aim is to help colleagues gain the ability to confidently manage their financial life, all while ensuring they start preparing for the future and any unexpected situations.
How is mental health linked to our finances?
According to research, 22% of employees find their current financial state stress-inducing. This leads to productivity levels dropping, enhanced absenteeism, and lack of morale. There’s also the fact that many people still find the topic of money a difficult conversation to have, leaving them feeling isolated and ashamed. All these factors go hand in hand to create a poor work environment, adding to the stress that employees are already feeling. If colleagues are suffering, the organisation is going to fail.
The issue is a circular one. People in debt are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, and people with mental health problems are at an increased risk of developing debt problems. Over 1.5 million people are experiencing financial stress and mental health problems at the same, mainly due to the fact of modern life becoming more expensive.
Supporting employees’ financial wellbeing: where to start
Employers should do everything in their power to support colleagues by improving financial wellbeing employee benefits. Introducing new processes will help boost productivity levels, as these resources coach employees on building financial resilience. This aids in providing teams members with a culture of support, meaning future issues are more easily resolved.
- Provide training: the first port of call for any line mangers is to recognise when something is going wrong. By providing them with mental health training, reportees are afforded the chance to talk about their problems in confidence.
- Offer flexible working: if possible, flexible working helps an employee find a way of working that helps them on an individual level. This grants a colleague time to consult with external agencies like visiting a financial advisor. They can better manage their time when it comes to other responsibilities like childcare, which can incur an additional cost.
- Make it okay to talk about money: money, and everything surrounded it, can be a difficult for people to talk about due to past hang-ups. By encouraging employees to be open and honest about their money worries goes a long way in lifting the stigma attached to talking about financial wellbeing.
- Understand the financial priorities of employees: learn the reasons why employees are worried about their finances. This informs what kind of support they would most benefit from. Surveys, focus groups, and one-on-ones can be utilised to gather this information.
- Signpost to financial wellbeing support for employees: there are many online resources that employees can use if they’re facing financial difficulties. Be transparent, show colleagues where they can go if they need help. MoneyHelper is supported by the government, and provides citizens with free and impartial money advice. Some resources that are offered include various budgeting tools, access to debt advice, and even savings calculators. National Debtlineis a charity that provides free and confidential debt help like how to manage debt, budget plan advice, and pointers on how to liaise with creditors. Citizen Advice is one of the UK’s leading charities, offering free advice on social issues like debt, housing, and benefits.
Support colleagues in times of crisis
in times of need, employers can offer colleagues financial aid by granting access to emergency loans, financial counselling, and resources. Gift cards are another way of helping employees through times of financial hardship, as they can help colleagues save money, support company goals, and make them feel appreciated. Highstreetvouchers.com offers a wide array of gift cards and gift vouchers, which offer the recipient the flexibility and convenience of choosing something they need.