Tackling financial stress in the workplace Tackling financial stress in the workplace

Tackling financial stress in the workplace
02 Nov 2018

Workplace stress is a term often used in association with the pressures of the job, ranging from demanding deadlines to an apparently ever-growing workload. Managing all of this day in, day out, can indeed be stressful, but if busy personal lives outside of work are also added to the mix, the pressure can mount.

One of the key personal issues that crosses the work-home divide and is a leading cause of lower productivity, however, are financial worries. For example, a study of 2,000 UK workers conducted by biomarker tracking service Forth revealed that their single, biggest cause of stress was money - followed by work, health concerns and a failure to get enough sleep. It also found that 54% of people suffering from stress were concerned about its impact on their physical health.

But affordable workplace loan platform provider Neyber also indicated in its ‘DNA of Financial Wellbeing 2018’ research that UK chief executives were “largely aware that financial pressures impact employee behaviour, performance and relationships at work”. In fact, financial stress costs their organisations a huge £120.7 billion (US$155.92 billion) each year. 

But the problem is actually a global one and, across the world, people are as a general rule borrowing more and saving less. Living costs are rising, while wages are tending to fall or at best remain stagnant.

While pay and bonus increases are an obvious means for employers to alleviate financial stress among their workforce, such action is not always possible. Therefore, another option is to collaborate with organisations such as Credit Unions (CUs). 

Allying with CUs, whose role it is to help your staff save money and manage their funds more effectively, may not be appropriate for all companies. But the fact that they are committed to ethical practices and have been set up specifically to help individuals gain better financial health, can have positive repercussions, not least in terms of employer branding.

Emotional health

Finding ways to safeguard employees’ emotional health is also important too though. While it may be impossible to prevent staff from bringing their personal worries to work, employers can help minimise the impact of doing so on both the health of individuals and that of the organisation.

Employee assistance programmes (EAP) are one tool that can help here. EAPs provide employees with confidential ‘phone-based advice and guidance from specialists about any physical or mental health problems they face – whether work-related or not.

Whatever path is chosen, however, finding ways to help staff manage stress is vital as it can affect their ability to live normally day-to-day. If unmanaged, stress can also spread from one area of an individual’s life to another. For example, financial stress can damage personal relationships, which can in turn hit personal contentment and happiness levels, in some cases even progressing to mental illness, which may lead to time off work. 

Possible signs that employers should look out for here include workers experiencing poor concentration levels, procrastinating or seeming distracted as well as displaying a lack of interest in matters with which they would normally engage. Stress can also lead to physical symptoms too, ranging from insomnia and high blood pressure to substance abuse and weight gain or loss.

So with this in mind, it becomes clear that financial stress is not something that should be taken lightly. Instead it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously to ensure workers feel supported and in control, no matter what life throws at them.

Kevin Rogers 

Kevin Rogers is chief executive of not-for-profit health cover provider, Paycare. A qualified accountant and associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, he has worked for more than 25 years in senior management roles at organisations in the manufacturing, automotive and construction sectors.

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The importance of employee financial wellbeing

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Workplace stress is a term often used in association with the pressures of the job, ranging from demanding deadlines to an apparently ever-growing workload. Managing all of this day in, day out, can indeed be stressful, but if busy personal lives outside of work are also added to the mix, the pressure can mount.

One of the key personal issues that crosses the work-home divide and is a leading cause of lower productivity, however, are financial worries. For example, a study of 2,000 UK workers conducted by biomarker tracking service Forth revealed that their single, biggest cause of stress was money - followed by work, health concerns and a failure to get enough sleep. It also found that 54% of people suffering from stress were concerned about its impact on their physical health.

But affordable workplace loan platform provider Neyber also indicated in its ‘DNA of Financial Wellbeing 2018’ research that UK chief executives were “largely aware that financial pressures impact employee behaviour, performance and relationships at work”. In fact, financial stress costs their organisations a huge £120.7 billion (US$155.92 billion) each year. 

But the problem is actually a global one and, across the world, people are as a general rule borrowing more and saving less. Living costs are rising, while wages are tending to fall or at best remain stagnant.

While pay and bonus increases are an obvious means for employers to alleviate financial stress among their workforce, such action is not always possible. Therefore, another option is to collaborate with organisations such as Credit Unions (CUs). 

Allying with CUs, whose role it is to help your staff save money and manage their funds more effectively, may not be appropriate for all companies. But the fact that they are committed to ethical practices and have been set up specifically to help individuals gain better financial health, can have positive repercussions, not least in terms of employer branding.

Emotional health

Finding ways to safeguard employees’ emotional health is also important too though. While it may be impossible to prevent staff from bringing their personal worries to work, employers can help minimise the impact of doing so on both the health of individuals and that of the organisation.

Employee assistance programmes (EAP) are one tool that can help here. EAPs provide employees with confidential ‘phone-based advice and guidance from specialists about any physical or mental health problems they face – whether work-related or not.

Whatever path is chosen, however, finding ways to help staff manage stress is vital as it can affect their ability to live normally day-to-day. If unmanaged, stress can also spread from one area of an individual’s life to another. For example, financial stress can damage personal relationships, which can in turn hit personal contentment and happiness levels, in some cases even progressing to mental illness, which may lead to time off work. 

Possible signs that employers should look out for here include workers experiencing poor concentration levels, procrastinating or seeming distracted as well as displaying a lack of interest in matters with which they would normally engage. Stress can also lead to physical symptoms too, ranging from insomnia and high blood pressure to substance abuse and weight gain or loss.

So with this in mind, it becomes clear that financial stress is not something that should be taken lightly. Instead it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously to ensure workers feel supported and in control, no matter what life throws at them.

Kevin Rogers 

Kevin Rogers is chief executive of not-for-profit health cover provider, Paycare. A qualified accountant and associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, he has worked for more than 25 years in senior management roles at organisations in the manufacturing, automotive and construction sectors.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

The importance of employee financial wellbeing

Keeping on top of workplace stress

Five tips for taking the stress out of your payroll year-end