As time goes on, we are beginning to see more of the long-term impacts of COVID-19. Experts warn that a sizeable minority could be left with mental health problems that outlast the pandemic, including long-term anxiety.
For many, money concerns have always been the greatest source of stress. Worries over one’s finances can significantly impact an individual’s physical and mental health. As a result, our financial wellbeing or lack thereof affects our overall wellbeing.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has only heightened people’s concerns with the pandemic resulting in millions of job losses across the world and many others forced to reduce their working hours. Nearly four in 10 Europeans have had their employment affected by the pandemic, and more than half (54%) have seen a decrease in their household income.
Even for those whose work situation or household income has not been affected, it's hard not to feel insecure and anxious about one's day-to-day finances in the current climate. Luckily, more and more employers are trying to put their employees' minds at ease by prioritising employee wellbeing.
Investing in Your Employees’ Financial Wellbeing
Recent research reveals that 60% of employees who use financial wellness programmes offered by their employers describe their overall mental health as “good”. On the contrary, 30% of employees without access to financial wellness benefits say they worry a lot about their current and future finances.
Many business leaders think of financial wellness in terms of pensions, insurances, and offering their employees incentive programs. But to truly understand what financial wellness means to employees, employers must put themselves in their employees’ shoes.
Financial Concerns Across the Ages
For most employees, an employer-sponsored retirement plan is expected, however, retirement isn’t what keeps them up at night.
Depending on their age, stage of life, and employment level, it’s likely employees have more pressing financial concerns. Below are the most common financial concerns for each age group:
- Renting an apartment
- Getting a decent job
- Leaving their parent’s house
- Learning how to budget
- Student loans
- Starting a family
- Buying a home
- Paying off personal debt
- Career advancement
- Trying to make ends meet
- The cost of raising kids increases
- Finding work/life balance without sacrificing career
- Saving for children’s college and my own retirement simultaneously
- Caregiving for aging parents
- Planning for retirement
- Paying off remaining debt
- Employability if laid off
- Anticipating growing healthcare costs
- Hoping one has enough saved
Offering the Right Support
Looking at the most common financial concerns above, you can see that each age group has its own unique set of circumstances. Offering your workforce the right financial support essential, but how do employers do this? This task would be unachievable if not for flexible benefit schemes.
An employer-created flexible benefits scheme allows employees to select from various pre-tax offerings to create a customised benefits package to fit their own unique requirements. Looking again at the common financial challenges above, employers should ask themselves what tax-free benefits they can offer their employees to alleviate their financial worries and, in turn, support their financial wellbeing.
With a flexible benefits scheme, employers can, for example, allow their employees to choose which pension or insurances they want. While you’re here, don’t miss our post on how health insurance can support UK Employees
Once employers decide to offer their employees the flexibility to choose their own benefits, employees can simply make their selections and enrol in their preferred benefits through their benefits platform or employee app on their phones whenever it is most convenient.
Looking for more tips on how to increase the financial wellbeing of your employees? Download our e-book, Financial Wellness: The Topic You Can’t Afford to Ignore.