Why It’s Time to Promote Financial Wellbeing at Work
In recent years, the range of benefits available to employees has exploded. Beyond the standard paid leave and pension contributions, most companies now offer a range of perks designed to improve the wellbeing of their staff.
Typical offerings include discounted gym memberships, subsidised healthy food, mindfulness or yoga classes, and mental health first aid – all designed to encourage a healthy body and mind.
Yet one area is often overlooked, despite the huge impact it has on our lives: financial wellbeing. In fact, according to a report by pensions firm Aegon, only 5% of employees are offered support with their finances. Isn’t it time this changed?
Here’s why you should be promoting financial wellbeing through your benefits offering.
1. We don’t learn these skills at school
Financial wellbeing refers to a person’s ability to meet their financial obligations, and to plan effectively for the future.
Unfortunately, this isn’t something we learn about at school. Nobody tells us how to manage debt, build wealth, save for retirement, or budget effectively. So we enter the world of work without the tools needed to manage the financial side of our lives.
Unsurprisingly, many of us develop bad financial habits or are simply unaware of the steps we could take to improve our financial footing.
2. Many people are affected
Unsurprisingly, a growing number of people are struggling to make ends meet. According to research by the Royal Society of Arts, 70% of the UK working population are ‘chronically broke,’ with a third (32%) having less than £500 in savings.
And with extortionate student debts, soaring house prices, and stagnating wages, this problem is only going to get worse.
3. There is an impact on mental health...
If you’ve ever struggled financially, you’ll know how stressful and exhausting it can be. You also know that it can be a lonely experience, with seemingly nobody to turn to for reliable advice.
This can have a huge impact on our mental health. The constant scrabbling to make ends meet, or the weight of bills and debts piling up, can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. This can manifest as problems sleeping, an inability to concentrate, low mood, irritability, and so on.
4. ...and performance at work
Such problems are bound to affect people’s performance and relationships at work. How could they not? Wellbeing is closely linked to happiness and engagement, both of which are linked to productivity.
How you can help
As an employer, you have a responsibility to look after the wellbeing of your employees – or rather, to help your employees look after their own wellbeing.
Because wellbeing is a broad, multifaceted idea, it is important to take a holistic approach to improve it – one that includes physical, mental, and financial wellbeing.
By offering your staff the chance to sit down with a financial advisor, or attend regular educational sessions that focus on achieving financial security, you will not only help to relieve their financial concerns, but you’ll also help set them up for a better, more secure future.
This can benefit employees of any age and stage – from new graduates starting out on their fledgling career, to more senior employees who are looking towards retirement.
You don’t even need to be in financial difficulties to benefit from financial education. Many people are getting by just fine, but with a bit of help and advice, their futures could be transformed.
Standard benefits like a gym membership or free yoga class are fantastic, but learning the skills you need to secure your financial future could be truly lifechanging.