Managing financial wellbeing at work
25 June 2018
This article was featured in the July - August 2018 issue of the magazine.
David Price, chief executive officer of Health Assured, provides insight into the effects of financial stress within the workplace and the benefits of providing an EAP
Money is a concern for most people, and many employees struggle with their finances due to increasing personal debt, demanding financial commitments and limited time to save funds for the future. Research has linked financial concerns to having a negative effect on employee mental and physical wellbeing, consequently causing detriment to the business.
According to a report published by Neyber – The DNA of financial wellbeing summary report: health & care services, 2016 – financial stress costs the UK economy £121 billion and eighteen million working hours in time off work each year. Along with those staggering figures, they also reported that 33% of employees consider financial worries as their biggest concern, before their health and work-life balance.
Research also carried out by Willis Towers Watson, presented the extent to which financial stress impacted the efficiency of the workplace in 2017. The research findings showed that 34% of employees reported financial concerns impacted their productivity. The survey also showed that of the 1,500 employees questioned, 35% contributed their financial concerns to stress.
From the research carried out it is clear that anxiety about financial worries leads to poorer mental, physical and social wellbeing, which in turn can affect attendance and performance at work. Because of this, it is in the employer’s best interest to take financial wellbeing seriously and provide support in this area as part of their wellbeing strategy. By identifying those who are vulnerable amongst their workforce and offering financial support, an employer could help reduce stress and prevent absenteeism in the workplace, thus improving staff efficiency.
Signs of financial stress
Financial stress can keep employees up at night, resulting in the most common symptom, fatigue. According to a 2017 report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 19% of employees lost sleep worrying about their finances, causing disrupted sleep patterns and contributing to lower employee productivity.
...employer could help reduce stress and prevent absenteeism in the workplace, thus improving staff efficiency
What can employers do?
An employee assistance programme (EAP) is a significant staff benefit and can assist those at risk of falling into debt or struggling with their finances. Many EAPs offer debt counselling or support services that prove beneficial to employees suffering with financial stress. However, along with providing staff with the service, it is important for employers to regularly remind employees about the specific services available from the EAP and how it can help them.
Saves businesses money
There are various incentives for employers to provide an EAP for their workforce. One of the most critical benefits is that it saves the businesses money. With fewer days lost to stress-related sickness and reducing recruitment costs by improving staff retention, an EAP is a proven tool for a business to save costs. In fact, evidence shows that providing an EAP reduces absence by 34%.
Reduces sick leave
A relaxed and financially confident workforce is less likely to take recurring, unexplained absences – meaning businesses have fewer days where employees are less productive. Thanks to the easily accessible support provided by an EAP, staff members are given the tools to obtain the financial guidance they need.
Boost performance and productivity
By facilitating financial support to staff members through an EAP, employees can create a stronger and more productive working environment; in fact, it’s been proven than an EAP can improve a business’s productivity by 22%.
Through the use of an EAP, businesses can help employees through their anxiety and improve their financial outlook. By doing this, it gives a business an opportunity to show employees how much they value them, which in turn, gets the business back into a stronger position.
Improves staff health and wellbeing
From time to time, everyone needs help and support. Whether it concerns work-related issues, personal struggles or financial stress, an EAP provides the platform to assist an employee during a time of financial hardship and any other issues they may be experiencing.