Employees with money worries more likely to report signs of poor mental health

stress at work

Over two thirds (67%) of employees who are struggling financially report signs of poor mental health which impact their ability to perform well at work, according to research from The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and Salary Finance.

The research found that a third (36%) of employees who are in financial difficulty reported loss of sleep in the last month, while 29% said they’ve struggled to concentrate lately due to stress or worries. Over half (55%) said they’d achieved less than they’d like in the last month due to mental health problems.

Those in financial difficulty also reported problems with workplace relationships: but the issues also extend to employees who identify that they are ‘just about managing’ financially – suggesting any financial strain is detrimental to both wellbeing and productivity.  

Polly Mackenzie, director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, comments: “Worrying about making ends meet can pervade every aspect of life, from our relationships, to our sleep, so there’s no wonder it’s affecting our performance at work. With the rise of the gig-economy, zero-hours contracts and a decade of sluggish wage growth, many people in work have felt a squeeze on living standards – which is having an impact on their mental health, and in turn, their performance at work.”

Money and Mental Health suggests that employers boost their employees’ financial security by providing both savings schemes and short-term loans through payroll, and train managers to reduce the stigma of both mental and financial problems through open conversation.

Asesh Sarker, CEO of SalaryFinance, adds: “Employers are ideally placed to provide services that help those with the greatest need, but they can also play a preventative role that enables all employees to manage their finances more effectively and avoid reaching a crisis point.”

Discussing the importance of supporting employees with adequate financial education and advice in the workplace, Jonathan Watts-Lay, director, WEALTH at work, comments: “It’s not uncommon for employees to face financial worries at various stages of their life whether that is dealing with spiralling debt, concerns over retirement savings or simply making the monthly budget work. This is clearly having an effect on the workplace - our latest research with Reward found that 66% of employers said that financial worries caused increased levels of stress, 44% said it resulted in lower productivity and 38% said that it lead to absenteeism due to personal financial problems.

’Employers can help improve their employees’ financial wellbeing by providing them with the knowledge to make informed decisions by integrating a financial wellbeing strategy. This should include financial education and guidance to help employees understand how to maximise their workplace savings and benefits in the context of their overall financial position. Employees should also be supported with access to a financial advice service to help them understand their personal financial situation, whether they’re saving for their future or selecting their retirement income options. This complete service offering helps employers support employees to make informed decisions to improve their financial wellbeing throughout their career and to maximise income at-retirement.”

Reward and WEALTH at work are blogging about financial education, savings and retirement options. FOLLOW THE SERIES HERE