The Underappreciated Cost of Financial Stress in the Workplace

There are many causes of stress in the world, from daily events, family life, politics to work. There are also endless variables that need to be addressed to entirely eliminate stress, and even if you could, it probably wouldn’t be beneficial to our goals and daily commitments to getting things done. One of the best strategies is to focus on both the most significant contributor to stress as well as those that have the biggest impact on our output and productivity.

It should be no surprise that one of the most pervasive and damaging sources of stress in Australia is financial. The cost of living is rising, and there is always something new to buy or bills to pay. Financial stress can impact employees of any income level, as financial commitments often rise proportionally as income rises. As most of us have experienced at some point, if you’re worried about your finances, it plays on your mind all the time, including when you’re trying to work. Employers have it in their best interests to maximise their workforce’s financial wellbeing for their sake and their own interests. Let’s take a deeper look into why.

Financial stress hangs a cloud over daily life

If you’re worried about paying the bills, keeping a roof over your head and feeding your family, it can be extremely difficult to focus on performing at the highest level with a clear mind. While perhaps a striking example, if we channel Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it is clear that if our basic needs are not met, we cannot meet our higher-level goals. For an employee, this means that their ability to go above and beyond, or even to meet their daily minimums, is under threat by more pressing matters.

We know that 70% of financially stressed people worry at work due to their money problems. Studies have also found that 25% of financially stressed employees are losing significant sleep over their issues. Is a tired and worried worker able to bring their best to the table each day or contribute their most outstanding ideas to the meetings they attend? 

The reality is that financial stress is not a compartmentalised issue for most that suffer from it. It can’t be switched off and results in an additional loss of motivation. Another study found that employees with financial worries are 7.6 times more likely not to finish their daily tasks and 5.7 times more likely to have troubled relationships with their colleagues. The ultimate cost of these factors experienced by almost 2 million people is estimated to cost the Australian economy over $31 billion in lost productivity

How to address financial stress at work

Given the impact on employers as well, it is of mutual interest to offer support and appropriate benefits where possible to an impacted employee. Of course, employers cannot solve these problems, but they can offer the tools and support to help address the issue and get the most out of their workforce. Financial wellness programs are becoming an increasingly popular employee benefit, often spearheaded by a fair and easy-to-use Earned Wage Access (EWA) solution.

EWA solutions, such as Paytime, allows employees to access part of their earned wages before their next payday. Doing so empowers them with the cash flow flexibility to meet their expenses when they fall due, making it less likely they will turn to debt before their next paycheck. They’ll only be charged a small fixed fee, often less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Employers may often subsidise this cost to package the solution as a true workplace benefit. It’s NOT a loan; the money accessed is their earned wages – it does not need to be repaid, and there’s no interest owed ever. 

If you want to help your employees tackle their causes of financial stress and improve their productivity in the workplace, contact Paytime today.