Do you have anyone in your team who is out of sorts? Perhaps they look overly tired or seem withdrawn? Are they leaving the office more frequently than usual to take personal telephone calls? Do they seem to have lost interest in their work?
If you have a team member who fits this description, the chances are that you’ve wondered whether they might be experiencing relationship issues or problems with their health. But have you considered the possibility that they might be suffering from financial difficulties instead? Today 70% of the U.K.’s working population is “chronically broke”, according to a study by think tank the Royal Society of Arts and nearly a third (32%) have less than £500 in their savings. So the chances are that some of your colleagues and team members will be heavily in debt. You may even have financial issues yourself.
Given that we all spend so much time at work, it is inevitable that money worries will spill over into the workplace. In 2017, research by the U.K.’s Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that over two-thirds of employees who are struggling financially report at least one sign of poor mental health that could affect their ability to function at work. These signs include loss of sleep, poor concentration and reduced motivation. So financial wellbeing is clearly an issue that leaders and managers need to take seriously.
Helping employees to address their budgeting and debt issues will enable them to greatly improve their financial situation overall. In fact, research by lending platform Neyber has found that more than half (55%) of Britain’s workers actually want their employers to help them with financial planning.
So what can leaders and managers do to encourage employees to engage with their finances? Clearly they can’t tell people what to do, but they can show them pathways that will enable them to increase the wellbeing that they get from their finances. They can also break down the taboos around money issues that can result in people feeling ashamed and depressed.
For example, leaders and managers could host financial wellbeing seminars in the workplace that cover topics such as budgeting, debt reduction and saving for the future. They could ask for information relating to financial wellbeing to be posted on the organization’s intranet – for example, the contact details for Citizens Advice and other useful hotlines, as well as technological tools that can be used for financial management. They could also invite the organization’s pension provider into the premises to give a presentation on long-term investing.
It’s said that money doesn’t make you happy, but a lack of money can certainly make you unhappy, which in turn can impact on your work. That’s why financial wellbeing is something that matters to everybody, regardless of their role and seniority within the organization. It’s also why financial wellbeing is an important leadership issue.