How financial stress impacts employee mental health and performance

A recent survey by Schroders Personal Wealth, conducted before soaring inflation started making headlines, found that over half of Britons are already stressed about their financial situation.

Discussing money worries with employers is a conversation many employees are reluctant to have. Your workplace may have many people bottling up their financial difficulties and missing out on support that you could help with.

You might be wondering if financial wellbeing is relevant to your workforce. Worrying about money isn’t limited to only those struggling with debt or younger workers who are typically lower-paid (around half of under 35-year-olds say financial pressures impact their ability to do their job2); everybody can struggle with money worries at any point depending on their incomings and outgoings.

Financial wellbeing isn’t about how much people earn, it’s about feeling in control of their finances, no matter what the salary. The link between financial wellbeing and mental health is one you should be considering if you want your workplace to be performing at its best.

Financial worries can start a domino effect of health issues by increasing stress levels, which often disturbs sleep. Stressed, worried, and tired employees find it harder to concentrate at work. They become easily distracted and struggle to maintain focus.

If stress persists it can turn into poor mental health. Stress can even trigger physical health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Not to mention that when budgets become tight it might mean spending on the things that support physical health, such as expensive healthy foods and gym memberships, could be cut back.

With financial worries affecting mental health and workplace performance, you can play a supportive role in helping employees to talk about and overcome some of their financial stress.

You can take a positive step by helping to make conversations around money as easy as possible to have in the workplace. Because problems can’t be solved if nobody’s willing to talk about them.

You can also promote any employee benefits that can help, such as an Employee Assistance Programme with financial experts available to offer help or a health cash plan. For every employee with a health cash plan, there’s an employee supported with their everyday health costs, such as trips to the dentist or the need to see a physio.

Find out how a Health Shield health cash plan could support your employees.