Recent events have left many people worrying about their financial wellbeing. According to research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), almost 6 in 10 adults in the UK are struggling to keep up with increasing bills. Financial worries are one of the main causes of stress in the UK. The anxiety caused can affect an employee’s mental health and wellbeing, which in turn can lead to poor performance or periods of absence. Unsurprisingly, this is becoming a major concern for employers.
Employers have a duty of care to protect the mental health of their employees, as much as their physical health, and there is also a strong financial incentive to do so with a return on investment in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover.
Here are some tips on how employers can help:
- Employee Benefit Schemes: Review existing Employee Benefit Schemes to ensure those who need them most are benefitting from them. Do your employees know what offers are available and how to access them? Such schemes may include Workplace Nursery benefits, shopping discounts, and salary sacrifice schemes to help with IT costs, as well as -cycle to work programmes.
- Employee Assistance Programmes: Introduce an Employee Assistance Programme which provides financial advice as well as assistance for employees who may be experiencing anxiety or stress due to financial pressures or remind employees of existing programmes which are in place.
- Financial Wellbeing Seminars: Consider engaging with a good Financial Advisor to deliver financial wellbeing seminars to employees, either alone or as part of a wider employee wellbeing programme.
- Good Communication: It is vital to encourage your workforce to raise any wellbeing concerns and ask any questions they may have, ensuring there are opportunities for private discussions during one-to-ones. An environment that encourages open conversation will develop a culture that removes any stigma surrounding financial difficulties.
- Flexible working: Offer employees more flexibility around how and where they work. Consider hybrid working options to allow employees to work from home for part of the week to save on commuting costs or allow employees to start and/or finish at different times to avoid the costs of wrap-around childcare.
- Consider policy on second jobs: Some employees may look for additional paid employment to help relieve any financial worries. However, employers need to be mindful of the limit on weekly working hours under the Working Time Regulations, which applies to all work, even if it’s for different employers. They would also need to bear in mind that working extra hours or having a second job could result in performance management issues.
- These are challenging times for many. However, organisations who offer support can make a big difference by creating an environment where employees feel valued, which in turn will result in a positive impact on employee’s long-term mental health and wellbeing. EML is partnering with Capstone Financial Management who are currently delivering a suite of FREE Financial Wellbeing Seminars to employers. If you are interested, please contact us.
If you require any further guidance on this subject, or any other HR, Employment Law or Health, Safety & Wellbeing issue, please call 01942 727 200 and speak to a member of the team or email email@example.com.