Addressing Financial Stress: Empowering Employees for a Healthier Future
As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re exploring the importance of mental wellbeing and how it can be best supported by employers for the benefit of their staff. This year, there’s a focus on anxiety, the challenges it poses, and what steps can be taken to make anxiety easier to manage.
A Mental Health Foundation survey conducted in 2022 revealed that 34% of adults experience anxiety and found one consistent factor that contributes to stress; money.
Unfortunately, given the current financial climate, more and more people are facing money worries and feel hopeless when it comes to planning for their financial futures.
Because of how widespread this financial strain has become, it’s more important than ever for employers to create a supportive workplace environment and prioritise their employees’ mental health.
The Link Between Money and Mental Health in the Workplace
The cost-of-living crisis has put immense pressure on people, and the resulting challenges to everyday standards of living have threatened the mental wellness of so many. Workers are carrying significant anxiety about their finances, and it’s affecting their happiness at work.
Some of the biggest stressors are:
Meeting rising everyday costs – mortgages, energy bills, food etc.
Retirement/future planning – trying to create future financial security at such an uncertain/challenging time.
Paying off debt – trying to stay afloat amidst inflation.
Financial worries are a significant instigator of stress at work, so employers must recognise this impact and find ways to offer guidance and tools for their employees to alleviate money-related anxieties.
What Can Employers Do to Help?
Employers can help their employees with this ever-increasing problem. Fostering open communication is crucial, so employees feel comfortable discussing their financial concerns and making use of the resources available to them.
1. Provide financial education and resources: Organise webinars or invite financial experts to share valuable insights on budgeting, savings strategies, and retirement planning. Equipping employees with financial literacy tools can empower them to make informed decisions and reduce anxiety.
2. Offer employee assistance programs (EAPs): EAPs provide confidential counselling services and resources to help employees manage personal and financial challenges. Partner with reputable EAP providers to offer tailored support to your workforce.
3. Flexible work arrangements: Consider implementing flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible schedules, to help employees save on commuting costs and improve work-life balance.
4. Provide a comprehensive benefits package: Make sure your employees have access to the best possible employee benefits to help them save as much money as possible. Lifestyle discounts and salary sacrifice schemes can help staff to make valuable savings on day-to-day expenses.
5. Encourage professional development: Allow your employees to train and develop new skills so they can progress in their careers. This can help workers improve their financial wellbeing through by earning a higher salary.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, we must recognise the impact of financial stress on employees' mental wellbeing. Employers can play a pivotal role in alleviating this stress by creating a supportive workplace environment, offering financial education and tangible resources, and implementing effective financial wellness initiatives.
By prioritising the financial wellbeing of their workforce, employers can help their employees to gain confidence in their finances and use practical tools to help improve their overall mental wellness.