Why wellness programmes need to address financial wellbeing

Over the past two years, we have seen an increasing number of corporates turning attention to employee wellbeing. Reassuringly, there is a greater tendency toward long term sustainable wellbeing strategies, moving away from the traditional annual wellbeing week. Most organisations we meet offer their employees a diverse range of talks, supports such as EAP, and fitness programmes. However, a truly holistic wellness programme needs to go one step further to include financial wellbeing supports. According to the findings of a 2016 Financial Wellness Survey, “finances play a leading role in elevating stress levels for 52% of employees”. Hence there is a significant need to incorporate financial wellness initiatives to help employees manage debt, reduce stress and live happier lives.

Here are five services you can consider for your financial wellness programme.

  1. Literature and free supports: make sure there is literature available for all to access. Services such as MABS offer free advice for people managing debt and offer a free helpline. Keep this information visible throughout the year.
  2. Seminars: talks and seminars are a great way to educate a large audience. There is a myriad of experts who can give high level advice around budgeting and saving. Given the sensitive nature of money and debt these talks should be skills based and offer something for those who may not be in debt as well as those who are.
  3. 1 to 1 consultation:  consultations provide a unique opportunity for individuals to discuss their personal money challenges. Advisors will be in a position to help identify upcoming expenses and put a plan in place to ensure future financial goals are achieved.
  4. Offer discounts: any opportunity where you can help your workforce to reduce their everyday cost of living will contribute toward less stress and an overall happier workforce. Employee discount platforms will help individuals save on everything from grocery shopping, to fuel and holidays to family excursions to the cinema.
  5. Pensions: planning for future financial security can help reduce money worries, however in recent years there has been a concerning downward trend in the number of adults with private pensions and for most people, the state pension alone will not suffice. Offering pension contributions is vital and ensuring employees understand where their money is going, potential return, and risks will alleviate concerns and increase the numbers of people availing of this benefit.

Financial wellness programmes should be designed to demystify the world of financial planning and equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to manage debt and save for the future.

Author: Peter Jenkinson, CEO @ Wrkit

Wrkit specialise in the creation of better, healthier working environments. Our platform connects global, remote and local teams through five modules; Surveys, Recognition, POWR, Learning and Savings. Speak to an Engagement Specialist today – info@wrkit.com

Linking financial difficulty and mental health at work

A recent research project by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, sponsored by SalaryFinance, sets out the case for employers to provide practical support to employees experiencing financial difficulty, and how this could boost the mental health, wellbeing and resilience of their workforce.

The analysis found a clear link between financial difficulties and poor mental health. Not only do 45% of UK employees report at least one sign of poor mental health, but those with money worries are 50% more likely to report signs of poor mental health that affect their performance at work.

The research found that even less intense financial strain can have an impact on both wellbeing and productivity. 41% of employees who identified themselves as financially comfortable reported at least one sign of poor mental health. However, this number rises to 51% for those just about managing and to 67% for people in financial difficulty.

This is perhaps not surprising when considering the fragile financial situation of a large proportion of the UK workforce. Nearly 17 million working age people across the UK have savings of less than £100, meaning that something as simple as an unexpected repair bill can create a significant issue. Those with lower credit scores will often pay higher interest rates, exacerbating the issue and triggering a cycle of problem debt.

The consequences on an individual’s ability to work caused by financial worries include struggling to concentrate, losing sleep, feeling additional pressure and reduced motivation.

The results highlight a two-way street between concerns about money and mental health, suggesting action to improve financial resilience and alleviate problem debts could play an important role in preventing mental health problems in Britain’s workplaces.

The report suggests actions that employers can take to alleviate these issues for their employees:

  • Boost short term savings: Access to savings of just £1,000 could protect half a million households from problem debt.
  • Support access to affordable credit: Over half of the research participants suggested that the provision of affordable credit products through payroll would have helped them.
  • Foster financial capability: Access to financial tools and apps can help people manage their money more successfully.

The full research report – Overstretched, overdrawn, underserved – can be found at: www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/financialwellbeingatwork/

Big Cinema Savings Employees Will Love

A favourite source of entertainment

According to the Independent.ie, Irish people are the most avid cinema goers in Europe, with almost five million viewers in the first quarter of this year. However, it’s an increasingly expensive source of entertainment. In 2015, the nationwide average price for a cinema ticket in the Republic of Ireland was €6.94. While in the UK ticket prices have been steadily increasing over the past number of years from an average of £5.95 in 2010 to £7.41 in 2016. When you factor in the cost of popcorn and drinks the cinema can become an expensive night out.

The dream discount for Cinema lovers

With our Cinema Plus offer employees in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can utilise discounts of up to 40% at leading cinema chains. Launching earlier this year, Cinema Plus UK saw almost 1,500 orders made in the first quarter, a clear favourite among our users. With Summer holidays just around the corner and big movie releases such as; Despicable Me 3, Bay Watch, Wonder Woman and Pirates of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge all coming soon, this discount is one that every employee will love.

Getting Cinema Plus for your employees

Cinema Plus is the most recent addition to our employee savings portfolio. This product is included in the list price for the Wrkit Discounts and Savings module. This module also includes hundreds of exclusive offers from big brands and local retailers including restaurants, holidays, everyday savings, and luxury items. Offering employees savings on their everyday living expenses benefits their financial wellbeing, contributing to overall engagement and job satisfaction.

Talk to us today to find out more about this and other modules – info@wrkit.com

Author – Sara Glynn, Marketing Executive, Wrkit.