A staggering 1 in 4 people are suffering with money problems so substantial that it affects their performance at work, says new research published by the CIPD and Close Brothers Asset Management. The survey of more than 1,800 UK employees found that the figure rises to nearly a third (31%) among 18-24 year olds, and 32% among those living in London.
Not a problem limited to just low earners, 1 in 5 (20%) employees earning £45,000 to £59,000 per year said that financial anxiety had affected their ability to do their job. Gender also played a role, as 28% women reported the problem compared with 23% of men.
The report highlights how dramatically personal finance worries can impact on employee health.
Though the economic climate and rising inflation is likely to prevent pay increases over the next 18 months, whilst the cost of living continues to escalate, there is more that your organisation could be doing to promote and support financial well-being amongst employees.
Financial well-being is a private and sensitive issue, so don’t be surprised if employees are not forthcoming to discuss it. But financial worries can weigh heavily on a person’s mind, impacting their mental and general well-being. Implementing an initiative which allows colleagues to discuss confidential matters in a comfortable environment may entail bringing in an outside counsellor who otherwise has no involvement in the business.
Charles Cotton, Reward and Performance Adviser at the CIPD thinks organisations should make financial well-being part of the workplace agenda, saying: “Employers not only have a duty of care to their employees but will also see their bottom lines benefit if they invest time in developing a financial well-being strategy and play an active role in supporting staff in this area.”
Money Management Workshops
Try offering sit-down sessions on practical money management skills such as budgeting, financial planning and free accounting apps. Though they might not set pulses racing with excitement, they may well prove popular as they bring the problem out into the open – and provide solutions.
As Jeanette Makings, Head of Financial Education at Close Brothers asset management, puts it: “Equipping staff with the tools they need to take control of their finances now and for their future will not only improve their own well-being, it has been proven to boost productivity levels – benefiting both business and workers.”
1 in 5 employees reported that they suffered physical fatigue caused by loss of sleep due to worrying about money, therefore impacting their productivity at work. Stave off physical health worries and boost general employee well-being by offering healthy lunches, fitness classes and regular activities, perhaps teaming up with a local gym or health centre.
What else can I do?
Surprisingly, it’s not all about salaries. Only 32% of employees cited earning a higher wage as a solution to their worries, whereas being rewarded in a fair and consistent manner received 41% backing, being able to save through a pension came in at 26% and good prospects to develop and progress in their career received 20% of the vote.