Employee experience | Financial & mental wellbeing: What can employers do to help?

Financial & mental wellbeing: What can employers do to help?

Our latest research into the state of financial wellbeing of UK employees has resurfaced the strong link between mental health & financial wellbeing.

36% of UK employees are regularly worrying about money, but perhaps more surprising, people are worrying more about money than areas including their career (26%), health (24%) and relationships (19%). We also know that those that are worrying about money are over four times more likely to suffer from depression and/or anxiety.

Mental health stigma has been called ‘the last great taboo’ of our time. Businesses have achieved so much around mental health in the workplace and we are only now beginning to tackle financial wellbeing in the same way.

We know from our research that less than half the people we surveyed felt comfortable talking to anyone apart from their partner about money. Business in the Community’s Mental Health at Work 2019 report highlights that only 36% of UK employees would feel comfortable talking about financial problems at work. There is clearly a problem with stigma and openness in relation to money.

Employers need to recognise that mental & financial wellbeing don’t discriminate - they impact people regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or even earnings. We know those earning more than £100,000 have the same levels of financial worry as those earning less than £20,000 . How can this be? It flies in the face of the most obvious logic for explaining low vs high financial wellbeing: more money equals more wellbeing.

It is true that certain demographics are more likely to be impacted by low financial wellbeing, but we have discovered that poor financial wellbeing is more complicated than that alone and is the result of a mix of factors related to personalities, habits and life events.

Our research shows that less than 5% of people don’t know how to budget. The main issue for people with low financial wellbeing is not about understanding but behaviour. Some people find it much harder to save first and spend later and this can lead to a cycle of problems that result in people resorting to high-interest payday loans, credit cards and overdrafts to get them through to the next paycheque. All of this contributes to chronic stress and anxiety which ultimately negatively impacts mental health.

Many leaders still don’t understand this link and how vital a role financial wellbeing plays in a holistic wellbeing strategy. Our guide ‘building a business case for financial wellbeing’ dispels some of the myths that can hold stakeholders back from supporting financial wellbeing as a priority. Organisations that can create a holistic approach to wellbeing will ultimately reap the rewards as they see improvements in absenteeism, productivity and retention.

Interested in finding out more about financial wellbeing?

Join us on 12 November for our webinar: ‘How to implement a financial wellbeing programme’.

Register here

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Salary Finance

Salary Finance offer financial wellbeing benefits that help improve employee retention and productivity. By helping employees manage debt, build a savings habit and access earned pay, we offer an impactful benefit that helps your people live healthier, happier financial lives.