The British workforce is burdened by financial worries, and it’s costing employers an estimated £120.7billion a year. That’s the key finding of a new, in-depth report looking at the state of the nation’s finances, commissioned by alternative finance provider, Neyber. “The DNA of Financial Wellbeing” report is based on the views of 10,000 UK workers, and is the first of its kind looking into the impact money worries have on our working lives.
With the UK economy lacking financial resilience, the research reveals how personal financial stresses are actively contributing to the reduction in GDP; 17.5m hours are lost by employees taking time off work as a result of financial stress.
The study highlights the effect financial worries can have on our efficiency at work; more than half (55%) of employees said being under financial pressure affects their behaviour and ability to perform their job in the workplace – rising to 62% for those under 34. A further 51% say financial pressure affects their relationship with colleagues and 46% say it affects their relationship with their line manager. Yet these worries extend beyond the workplace; almost a third (31%) end up losing sleep over money concerns and 39% suffer anxiety - all of which have a huge impact on the day to day lives of the British workforce and their employers as a result.
“This research demonstrates the depth of the personal financial crisis that is being experienced by working people across the UK”, comments Monica Kalia, Co-founder of Neyber. “Financial stress of this scale cannot be ignored and should not be underestimated; as it is impairing our national economic growth and the ability of people to provide for their families. We need to act now to address the punitive credit costs that are driving so many people into unnecessary debt.”
One of the key measures of financial wellbeing is having savings in the bank; a reassurance that there is a safety net available. However, the study showed that a third of workers only have less than one month’s savings, while 50% would value financial assistance from their employer such as access to affordable loans, attractive savings, financial awareness programmes and support and guidance.
"We know that financial difficulties can have a significant and lasting impact on our mental health and wellbeing", comments Polly Mackenzie, Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. "This report now gives us helpful insights into the impact that this toxic relationship may be having on our performance at work. It's clear that action is needed, and that employers, financial services, government and individuals all have a role to play."
Dr Paul Redmond, Director of Student Life at The University of Manchester concluded “For employers, helping staff with their financial wellbeing isn’t just a social responsibility; it’s likely to offer bottom-line benefits in terms of reduced turnover, greater levels of engagement, lower levels of absenteeism and more motivated, better performing staff. Many organisations have long since seen the benefits in investing in staff’s physical wellbeing – lots of firms now have company pamper days, nail bars and wellbeing seminars. But what about financial wellbeing? This research demonstrates just how popular such opportunities would be if implemented into the workplace.”