Making a difference: financial wellbeing, mental health and performance at work

The recent Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health in the workplace painted a stark picture of the impact mental health difficulties are having on UK employers.


Their report, Thriving at Work, found that poor mental health costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion a year, with an annual cost to the UK economy of between £74 billion and £99 billion.

Research by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute released in May 2017 found a clear link between financial difficulties and mental health. Not only do 45% of UK employees report at least one sign of poor mental health, but those with money worries are 50% more likely to say that their mental health is affecting their performance at work.

This builds a strong case for running a financial wellbeing program within your business. By providing practical financial support, employers can help manage or mitigate a common cause of mental health issues within their workforce.

The research found that even less intense financial strain can have an impact on both wellbeing and productivity. 41% of employees that identified themselves as financially comfortable reported at least one sign of poor mental health, however this rises to 51% for those just about managing and 67% for people in financial difficulty.

This is perhaps not surprising when considering the fragile financial situation of a large proportion of the UK workforce. Nearly 17 million working age people across the UK have savings of less than £100, meaning something as simple as an unexpected vet bill can create a significant issue. The survey found that the consequences of financial worries on an individual's ability to work include struggling to concentrate, losing sleep and reduced motivation.

The Money and Mental Health research highlights a two-way street between concerns about money and mental health. This suggests action to improve financial resilience and alleviate problem debts could play an important role in preventing mental health problems in Britain's workplaces.

The report suggests steps that employers can take to alleviate these issues for their employees, all of which can be addressed by financial wellbeing benefits: 

  • Boost short term savings: Access to savings of just £1,000 could protect half a million households from problem debt.
  • Support access to affordable credit: 52% of research participants suggested that the provision of affordable credit products through payroll would have helped them.
  • Financial capability: Access to tools and apps can help people to understand and manage their money better.

This article was provided by SalaryFinance. 


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