90% of employers say financial worries have a negative impact on employee mental health

As the UK acknowledges Mental Health Awareness Week, research out today shows that two out of three individuals say that worrying about finances has a significant impact on their mental health.

The survey, conducted by Smarterly, the fintech business focused on workplace savings and investments[1], also found that 90% of employers agreed that financial worries had a negative impact on an employee’s mental health, while 87% also attributed financial woes to having an adverse impact on an employees’ performance.

While this is particularly prevalent across all age groups, employees between the ages of 25 and 35 are more likely to be affected with 74% saying that financial worries have a negative effect on their mental health.

Commenting on the findings, Steve Watson, Head of Proposition, Smarterly, said: “Worries about finances can be all consuming – from concerns about how to cover the mortgage to simply having the funds to put food on the family’s plate. These concerns can take over all aspects of life and have a hugely detrimental effect on our mental health and wellbeing.

“Financial worries often come from a change in circumstances – whether that’s through illness, unemployment, reduced hours or family members who are currently unable to contribute financially. For those that can, fostering regular savings habits through a workplace savings scheme can help navigate any ups and downs and provide some reassurance that there is money there to fall back on in case the unexpected happens, the current Covid-19 crisis being a good example.”

Smarterly research also found that 88% of employers[2] feel they should support their employees’ financial wellbeing. Many employers are looking for innovative solutions to help support their workforce with their short to mid term priorities which could include anything from saving for a deposit for a home through to managing credit card debt. Offering a workplace savings scheme is a great way to foster those regular savings habits to help employees feel more in control of their financial situation.

Employers can offer initiatives whereby the employee is able to put money aside into a savings vehicle each month straight from their pay. Employers can also contribute.

Watson adds: “No matter what their age, how much they earn or what their priorities are, employers should help their employees with their financial wellbeing and encourage healthy savings habits via the workplace. Ultimately it boils down to education, tools and choice. This is key to ensuring that employees are able to make informed decisions about their finances and what is best for them.

“In today’s climate, with mental health elevating high on every corporate agenda, helping employees with effective financial wellbeing should come as standard. Empowering employees in this way is hugely beneficial to the business while mitigating potential mental health issues. Taking away money worries leaves employees feeling much more satisfied and motivated in their job, and far more productive and loyal as a result. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

About Smarterly

Smarterly is an online savings and investments platform provider, offering workplace ISAs through payroll deduction. Smarterly aims to turn the UK into a nation of savers and investors by promoting the benefits of healthy savings habits via the workplace. Employers use Smarterly workplace savings to enhance the financial wellbeing of their workforce by providing them with an accessible way to save and invest from as little as £10 per month, direct from pay. Employers can contribute to support the varied financial needs of employees.

[1] Smarterly ‘s Financial Resilience research conducted amongst 2,000 individuals and 1,000 HR Managers – May 2020

[2] Smarterly research: Realigning the workplace offering to meet the needs of millennials – 2019

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