With the effects of COVID-19 health risks, social isolation, uncertainty and the rising costs of working from home for extended periods of time, it has certainly put a heavy strain on the wellbeing and financial stress of millions of workers across the UK & Ireland.
So what kind of role could employers play, or should play, when it comes to looking after employee mental wellness now and in the future?
We believe employers are perfectly positioned to help reduce employee financial stress, and thus boost their overall wellbeing.
At the core of most mental health and wellbeing struggles is the stress response. And while of course, there is more to the complex battle with one’s own mind, recognising and taming that stress response can be a powerful way to begin your journey back to optimum mental health and wellbeing.
One of the biggest stressors in the modern age is financial insecurity, with 4 in 5 people with financial worries also reporting high or above average stress levels, and 41% describing their health as poor, compared with just 17% of those who describe themselves as enjoying financial wellbeing.
Financial pressures have been linked to reduced productivity and engagement, and increased absenteeism at work, with 69% of employers say their employees’ financial stress affects their performance.
How to reduce this stress? Luckily, there are a lot of affordable and accessible initiatives you can launch to help reduce employee financial stress and promote mental wellbeing in your company.
Financial Management for Personal Finances
When contemplating how to relieve stress, one of the best ways can be through financial education. One-on-one sessions with an impartial financial management coach are one of the most popular methods, perhaps because they are so effective. However, if you’re not keen on subsidising an on-demand finance guru for your team, a more cost-effective solution could be hosting a monthly or quarterly lunch-and-learn workshop for your team, which can be held virtually along with food packages delivered to attendees homes with Feedr Home Delivery.
This is exactly what Nest DC, a boutique property management company in Washington, DC implemented. Turnout to these events was unprecedented, and the sessions ran three times as long as expected, demonstrating to the business just how engaged their people were with learning how to best manage their personal finances. The result? Boosted team morale and cross-team relationships.
CycleScheme to Cut Transportation Costs
Another key way to ease the financial pressure off your employees is by identifying where large chunks of their spending are going, and subsidising part of that cost for large savings on day-to-day expenses. A great example of this is a Cycle to Work Scheme like Cyclescheme, which helps employees save on daily public transportation costs, whilst also avoiding public transport when commuting.
The scheme allows companies to buy cycle schemes for their employees, enabling them to access commuter bikes and equipment at a fraction of the price. Payments are then taken tax-efficiently from their salary by their employer. Companies across all industries are doing it, from Teach First, to JPMorgan, to RyanAir, and its benefits extend beyond the money-saving incurred on the part of the employee. The scheme also helps to reduce pollution in urban areas, and promote cardiovascular exercise among those with largely sedentary office jobs. It’s a win-win all around.
Food Perks at Work or at Home – Subsidising Lunches
With millions working from home household bills such as electricity and gas are already on the rise, and will continue to do so during the colder months. But it’s not just utility bills that are rising, money spent on food will also increase as remote employees no longer have access to healthy food and drink at the office.
In addition to daily commuting costs, a large chunk of employees’ money is spent on food – particularly lunch at work. Averaging anywhere from £4-£10 per day, this kind of spending can really add up over time. Subsidising employee meals can save your employees a considerable amount of money, and time (no more popping out for 20min trying to find somewhere to eat!).
One great way to do this is through Feedr’s Cloud Canteen service. From as little as £15 per employee per week, you can subsidise employee lunches, giving them access to healthy, wholesome meals for the same price as a Pret A Manger sandwich whether they are at home or in the office. Plus, everyone loves food! And everyone needs to eat. This makes food perks a no-brainer option when looking to reduce employee financial stress, as you can be sure uptake will be high. And with forward-thinking companies like AirBnB and Founders Factory using the service, you know there’s got to be something to it.
In conclusion, there are several ways you can act to reduce employee financial stress. Whether it’s financial management workshops, signing up to a cyclescheme, or subsidising employee lunches, perks at work or at home make a huge difference not only to your employees’ mental health and wellbeing, but also to their productivity, morale, and your ability to attract and retain the best talent out there. Take care of your team during difficult times, and your team will take care of your business.
Updated: Due to the covid-19 pandemic and the new challenges faced by businesses and employees.