The cost of living crisis isn’t just a source of stress and headaches for individual employees. Financial wellbeing should be a concern for employers.
Money worries result in the loss of 17.5 million working hours per year. In fact, they cost the UK economy £120 billion in lost productivity.
How do money worries affect workers?
Staff with money problems often have wellbeing issues. They are also more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviours.
It found that 36% of the total 4,129 UK workers questioned are living payday to payday. Of those, 63% suffer from anxiety or depression, while 27% feel lonely. A further 31% smoke, 37% eat badly, and 26% drink too much alcohol.
As well as being a source of concern for the individuals, the impact of this money-linked stress naturally has a knock-on effect.
Workers are complaining of loss of sleep (31%), mental or physical exhaustion (21%), and a strain on relationships (15%).
As Gethin Nadin, Chief Innovation Officer at Zellis, says in our financial wellbeing report:
“Financial wellbeing is often overlooked within the wider wellbeing agenda. Employers aren’t recognising the cyclical relationship between money and mental health.”Financial Wellbeing 2022: Your Employees Are Counting on You
Why employers should take the lead on financial wellbeing
Both from a caring standpoint, and from a business point of view, it makes sense to help employees with financial wellbeing.
The links between mental health and factors like absence, productivity, and performance are well documented.
But the good news is that employers are uniquely placed to support employees’ financial wellbeing, for example with timely information and guidance.
One organisation doing just that is the University of Lincoln. The payslip (now ‘pay advice’) proactively offers access to financial education resources. Reactive support is also available.
This regularly engages workers with their finances and builds trust by showing that the employer is there to support them.
Here are 12 more ways employers can support financial wellbeing
1. Ensure wage rates are fair and employees can live on them. Create opportunities for in-work career progression.
2. Build a financial wellbeing policy that aligns with the health and wellbeing policy.
3. Make staff aware of all company and state benefits for which they are eligible. Explore how benefits budgets could help those struggling.
4. Offer financial education and guidance. Give access to money management tools and apps.
5. Explore payroll saving schemes to boost financial security.
6. Signpost or arrange financial experts for free advice on budgeting and financial planning.
7. Facilitate flexible or hybrid working to help workers save money on food and commuting.
8. Pay expenses promptly or even up front.
9. Introduce cost-reduction schemes, like travel card loans and discounted memberships.
10. Provide low-cost loans and grants to help staff manage short-term emergencies. Offer payroll credit to help employees access lower fees and interest rates.
11. Work with partners to offer discounts on items people buy regularly.
12. Don’t let financial hardship exclude people from social activities.
For more on what employers can support financial wellbeing, join our upcoming webinar.