Employers are not grasping the depth of concern staff feel about their financial, physical and mental health, according to new research from Neyber into the mindset of UK employees. Two of the three biggest issues for employees were money-related. Thirty percent cite financial worries as the biggest concern, retirement provision came third at 24% and health is the second biggest worry, slightly more, at 25%.
Employers, however, think employees worry about entirely different issues. They believe that work/life balance is their employees’ most pressing concern (44%), followed by workload (33%).
Staff concerns are understandable. Since last year, there has been a significant increase of those affected by financial worries – up from 58% to 63%, as well as those with less than one month’s savings – up from 24% to 32%. Fourteen percent say they have zero savings.
The DNA of Financial Wellbeing, Book One, highlights the views of 10,000 UK employees and 580 employers and shows the impact of individual wellbeing and the toll it takes in the workplace. This is the third annual report commissioned by financial wellbeing company, Neyber.
Stress and strain – the impact at work
Thousands of employees reported how financial worries are impacting them. Thirty-five percent have felt stressed, 33% felt anxious, 26% lost sleep and 20% felt depressed.
Both employers and employees are largely aware that these issues impact work behaviour. Forty-five percent of employees and 69% of employers feel that employee financial pressure impacts their job performance. Sixty percent of employees said that money worries change their behaviour. This rises to 72% under the age of 34.
For the first time, the survey asked respondents about mental illness. Sixty-two percent of employees have either had a mental health issue (18%) or know someone that has (45%).
Heidi Allan, Head of Employee Wellbeing at Neyber, said:
“Our physical, mental and financial health are all interlinked. If employees feel less confident in their finances, this has a knock on effect on other areas of their lives.
“This year’s findings show areas of positivity and deep concern for employers. For instance, we asked employees whether they feel that their employers care about certain aspects of their wellbeing. Career and personal development (73%), later life/retirement provision (66%) and overall wellbeing (65%) all scored highly by employees.
“Yet, when it comes to financial health, only 50% said their company cares. This is less than those who think their employer cares about their mental health (62%), physical health (60%) or later life and retirement provision (66%).”
Jonathan Hollow, Financial Capabilty, Strategy and Innovation at Money Advice Service, said:
“Currently about 28.7 million working age adults in the UK are not satisfied with their finances1. No wonder – we live lives of ever-increasing financial complexity. We must deal with busy lives and the complexities of major financial decisions, as well as key life events such as bereavement, buying a home or nearing retirement.
“Every employer should care about the findings in this report. A growing body of evidence shows that anxiety about finances leads to poorer mental, physical and social wellbeing, and that this affects attendance and performance at work. When your workforce suffers, your business can suffer too.”
The survey also showed:
Financial worries are top of mind for all age groups – until the age of 55 when they worry about later life.
It takes until the age of 65 to be more likely to be worried about physical health – although ‘not worried’ is in the top three for the first time at this age for 24% of respondents.
A salary of at least £40k is when financial worries are not the biggest worry.
The top four things people feel happy about are their living arrangements (81%), social lives (81%) and overall wellbeing and mental health (joint 78%).