Financial worries have profound impact on employee mental health

The vast majority (90%) of employers agree that financial worries have a negative impact on an employee’s mental health, a survey by fintech company Smarterly has found.

Eighty-seven per cent of employers in the survey said money worries have a negative effect on an employee’s work performance, while 70% of individuals said their mental health was affected by financial worries.

Employees between the ages of 25 and 35 were particularly likely to be affected, with 74% saying financial worries have a negative effect on their mental health.

Alan Millward, partner and corporate benefits leader at Mercer Marsh Benefits, told HR magazine: “It is clear that financial worries can have a real impact on employee wellbeing. This can lead to increased absence but also presenteeism where an individual can be at work but less productive as their mind is elsewhere.”

He added that although employee welfare should always be of concern to employers, addressing financial concerns is particularly important as it can positively influence a company’s bottom line.

“Less financial worries lead to less absence and less distraction, ensuring individuals are more productive,” he said.

Smarterly’s study also found that 88% of employers feel they should support their employees’ financial wellbeing, which could include offering a workplace savings scheme.

To assuage financial concerns some companies have been introducing financial wellbeing services for their employees. Mercer has also launched complementary financial wellbeing resources for employers and employees.

Millward added: “There are providers who offer a full range of face-to-face workshops, online learning, webinars, social media applications and financial modelling tools to help employees improve financial literacy and put better financial plans in place.

“A lot of financial education has traditionally been based around the company pension scheme. However a more complete programme would offer support to employees across a much broader range of topics, including things like budgeting skills, tax, borrowing, short- and long-terms savings, and so on.”

Smarterly’s study surveyed 2,000 individuals and 1,000 HR managers earlier this month.