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Financial worries are affecting employees' performance at work

More than eight in 10 employees feel anxious over their personal finances, with 1.4 million Britons taking time off work in the past 12 months as they struggle to cope.

The study from AXA PPP healthcare reveals 24.6 million employees feel some degree of anxiety over their financial position, and more than 10 million admit their financial worries are affecting their performance.

Seven in 10 admit they spend time at work worrying about their finances, with almost a third (31%) spending up to 15 minutes thinking about the problem. More than 10 million (35%) believe financial concerns are preventing them from performing at their best.

The survey also reveals 1.2 million employees (4%) spend more than four hours a day feeling anxious and the most pressing concern for most is repaying debt or bills. A fifth of 18-24 year-olds drink alcohol to take their mind off their financial concerns.

More than a third of employees (35%) are pessimistic about the economic recovery, with 55% promising they will save more in the future. This rises to 75% for the 18-24 age group. But 56% do not set aside any dedicated time a month to manage their finances

Dudley Lusted, head of corporate healthcare development at AXA PPP healthcare, said: "Money worries have become more than a mild distraction for the UK workforce. It is a serious concern for both employees and employers as productivity has decreased and absence levels increased. Almost a third of employees already spend up to 15 minutes a day worrying about their finances so it makes sense to allow them to use that time to address these issues - with the boss's blessing.

"Business leaders need to do more to support their employees to prevent this issue becoming even more severe - both for their workforce's wellbeing and for the productivity and success of their business."