It’s Christmas! Time off work. Presents to buy. Drinking and eating more than you would normally. Visiting friends, family and loved ones (social distancing regulations allowing). It’s the season of goodwill, cheer, and demanding work priorities.
Cheer is exactly what we need—especially after the year we’ve had, because of the dreadful Covid-19 virus.
Recent feedback from clients, concerning the most significant source of pressure in their lives, showed that the number one challenge is financial security. This is not surprising, given that unemployment has doubled during 2020, and a staggering number of businesses have struggled to survive following various national lockdowns and changes in consumers’ buying habits.
Pre-pandemic, Barclays carried out a survey on the things that keep us awake at night. Bear in mind that these statistics will undoubtedly have worsened due to the fallout of coronavirus.
The study found that 46% of workers were worried about their financial situation. One in five actually lost sleep through their concerns over money. 42% of people who ask for help with their debt take medication to help them cope with the emotional consequences of their money worries.
Barclays also found that inadequate monetary wellbeing among workers decreased their productivity by 4%. The overall cost to businesses in the UK is therefore estimated to be £120 billion per annum—and I reiterate that this will likely equal much more as we stand today.
Many employees feel embarrassed speaking about their monetary concerns in their work environment, particularly so if they’re suffering from financial hardship. Unfortunately, this means employers view such worries as a private matter.
There are indications, however, that change is afoot.
Recent studies reveal that employees want to see companies do more around financial education. One survey indicated that 87% of workers want their company to help with financial literacy.
Both Anglian Water and Barclays have financial health and wellbeing programmes. These enhance levels of financial literacy and provide support when employees’ finances are out of alignment. Financial literacy is a critical component in these organisations’ overall health and wellbeing strategy, and an integral part of their employees’ benefits package.
Today in the UK, the reality is that a considerable percentage of the population is living on the brink—just one payday away from financial catastrophe. Some families may be in an even worse predicament.
Four in ten adults have no more than £500 in savings, while the Office of National Statistics (ONS) highlights that one in eight people have no savings.
They found that many don’t have a safety net or reserves. An unanticipated turn of events, like a severe illness or redundancy, could tip a considerable number of households into financial Armageddon—and that’s exactly what’s happened to a significant number of people during 2020.
So precarious are people’s finances that the Bank of England calculated that even a 2% increase in interest rates could be enough to push some people over the edge.
A typical household in the UK spends more than £2,500 each month. In the run-up to Christmas, our spending habits change dramatically; we spend, on average, an extra £800 in December.
Your tipping point, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is ‘the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change’.
So, at what point do you take personal responsibility and do something about it—particularly if it’s affecting your performance and wellbeing at work?
The tipping point for a business must be to engage their workforce and implement a health and wellbeing programme that includes financial literacy. To also design a work culture that encourages health through all phases of people’s lives. Considering that we spend most of our life at work, it’s no wonder that we want to believe the business cares about our happiness.
An emphasis on employee health and wellbeing contributes significantly to an employee’s entire interaction within the company. Promoting health and wellbeing is no longer seen as a ‘tick box’ exercise or an initiative that produces quick wins.
Instead, wellbeing promotion assures that your team enjoy, and want to, work. Long-term, this has a hugely positive effect on a business’s performance and improves many different areas—areas that not only improve employee productivity, but which also make money.
If you’re considering implementing or adopting a health and wellbeing programme in 2021, please feel free to get in touch and book your free 40-minute consultation.
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