There’s a good chance that you’re reading these words sat in the comfort of your own home as the global pandemic forces us to work in a new remote environment. Before anybody had even heard of ‘COVID-19’, the thought of home working may have been music to the ears of many, but as the months tick-by the pressure on our physical, mental and financial wellbeing will surely be getting greater. It’s these pressures that make wellbeing the big issue for HR teams and businesses in 2021.
The link between financial worries and health
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 49.6% of over-16s in Britain - rated their financial anxiety as "high", more than double the amount that did so at the end of 2019. This clearly shows that the pandemic has affected a huge number of people financially with an impact on their mental health. Some employers may not think this impacts their workplace, as their team have all managed to continue working remotely, but simply remaining in employment isn’t enough to tackle money worries with so much financial angst being seen in the news.
Each day, there is more and more talk about the global economy and worrying statements about how long it will take for it to recover. This news alone can start to get people thinking more about their financial position and how resilient they are should the worst happen. This should prompt HR teams and wellbeing champions to consider their long-term strategy to provide financial wellbeing support to their people to minimise the knock-on mental wellbeing effects these stresses can lead to.
Supporting financial wellbeing is crucial to maintaining a productive workplace
A recent poll by YouGov reveals that more than a third of people in employment said money worries have stopped them getting a good night’s sleep. For those people struggling to manage their debt, their day to day finances, or even those planning for retirement in an ever-changing landscape, the stress and anxiety these events place on individuals naturally has an impact on their performance at work. It’s therefore in HR’s and the employer’s best interest to help its workforce, however they can, to achieve financial stability.
Here are some useful things to think about when exploring your options to support your people:
- Access to easy to understand information and guidance
Providing access to guidance, education and someone to talk to is one of the first steps to helping your people. Many people don’t understand the support they are able to access or understand the fundamentals to support their own financial wellbeing, so make sure all your content is clearly sign-posted, promoted and simple to understand.
Webinars are a great way to engage your people in looking after their finances. Online webinars help your people learn more about ‘hot topics’ to help them better deal with financial worry or understand more about different financial events they may be considering such as taking out a mortgage or paying off debt.
- Use technology and online support
Technology puts your people in control of their wellbeing benefits. They can easily access them from wherever they are, whenever they need them. It allows them better access to a wealth of information about their benefits too so that they can make more informed decisions.
- Provide access to advice where needed
Personal finance can sometimes be complicated and the first step to reducing financial worries is speaking to someone about it. By giving your people access to advice you can help can make their life easier, take their first steps to improve financial wellness and let your employees spend more time on the things that are most important to them.
Maximise the impact of your employee benefits
When looking to support your people with both their financial and general wellbeing, one of the first places you should go to is the great range of employee benefits your business offers. It’s also worth speaking to your employee benefits consultant, or each benefit provider, to see what additional wellbeing support they provide. Maybe consider working with them to support your strategy?
For example you probably have an employee assistance programme (EAP) attached to your income protection benefit. This can be really helpful support tool allowing your people are able to talk confidentially about their money worries or wider wellbeing concerns, but in lots of cases it is not used.
5 areas that can support your people with their financial wellbeing
In these challenging times, the financial wellbeing of your people is more important than ever. Download our latest guide where we explore 5 key areas of financial wellbeing that can help support your people in 2021 and beyond.