More than 88million worth of working days were lost in Britain due to financial stress last year, prompting business leaders to prioritise employee experience (EX) in 2022.
New study from borofree reveals that the events of the last year meant that financial worries caused workers to take off an average of three working days
HR Directors are keen to reboot employee productivity as people return to the office, with 83% saying they will be prioritising plans to improve employee productivity over the next year
Since the start of the pandemic, rising financial stress due to an uncertain economy has created a downward spiral on employee wellbeing that has ultimately impacted employee performance and therefore companies as a whole. New data released today has revealed that an average of 3.05 working days (88,755,000 nationally) were taken off by UK workers last year due to the financial stress felt by employees.
The study by borofree, a UK salary advance start-up that helps people avoid debt, by providing free access to a proportion of their next pay cheque in advance, examines the plans that companies across the UK now aim to implement in order to improve employee productivity, financial wellbeing and increase morale in the workplace as business recovery begins to take shape.
The research, which was conducted online by YouGov, highlights that HR decision makers are feeling optimistic about building stronger employee productivity as the economy settles into a ‘new normal’ , with over half (57%) believing that employee productivity is set to increase over the next 12 months.
Action taken from businesses to increase employee wellbeing over the next year will be critical for them to regain strong post-pandemic productivity growth and recover from a challenging 18 months. In fact, 83% of HR decision makers surveyed revealed that their business will be prioritising plans to improve employee productivity over the next year. Improving pay and working conditions for employees is high on the agenda for companies looking to regain lost morale due to the pandemic, with almost a third (31%) stating that this will be a business priority for them this year.
Across Britain the study highlights that employers are searching for new ways to increase productivity. The research shows that wellbeing is now a vital part of ensuring that teams remain productive, with over one in five (23%) companies looking to introduce new or improved health and wellness benefits for employees to improve morale and productivity over the next two years.
Minck Hermans, CEO and Co-founder at borofree, said: “Whilst it’s great to see that businesses are prioritising incentives to build stronger employee productivity following a challenging 18 months, it’s critical that they do not overlook initiatives to promote better financial wellbeing amongst teams.
“Our findings show that financial stress can lead to increased absenteeism in the workplace and the effect of this will hit a company’s bottom line. To ensure that companies are in a good position for recovery and growth, organisations should not underestimate the value or importance of offering financial benefits to support employees struggling with low morale and productivity due to financial stress. For employees that seek a certain degree of financial security from their employer such as being able to absorb an unforeseen financial shock, only one in ten (10%) businesses surveyed have stated that they are looking to introduce earnings on demand and paid weekly options for employers within the next two years and just over one in ten (14%) confirmed that they’ll be introducing salary advance facilities (e.g., a loan a company can give an employee from their future salary).
“Financial support packages, such as borofree’s ‘all zero’ salary advance solution gives businesses the opportunity to support staff wellbeing and mental health by giving greater financial confidence, at no cost to either the employer or employee. Not only is this something that companies can offer completely free of charge, but in doing so they are playing a valuable role in driving employees’ wellbeing and relevant benefits.”
The research also uncovered that workers from bigger companies will stand to benefit from increased wellbeing initiatives over the next year, with 47% of HR decision makers from a large corporates (those with 250+ employees) looking to improve employee mental health in the next year by offering new initiatives such as conducting wellness programmes and leave, as opposed to just 18% of those in small businesses (with 10 – 49 employees).
Despite financial worries among the UK workforce being a cause of emotional stress, the study shows that offering financial wellbeing initiatives as part of a businesses’ productivity recovery plan is still being overlooked. Whilst financial stress is a contributing factor to absenteeism in the workplace, only 12% of HR decision makers are looking to introduce personal finance coaching and training to employees to improve morale and productivity amongst teams within the next two years.