HomeFinancial LiteracyBehind the facade: Why mental wellbeing at work needs a reboot

Behind the facade: Why mental wellbeing at work needs a reboot

  • 4 Min Read

Traditional perks don’t cut it. Learn how financial wellness programs boost mental wellbeing and productivity at work.

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The traditional approach to employee wellbeing, focused on in-office perks and gym membership, is falling short. Mental Health Awareness Week shines a crucial spotlight on the unseen struggles many employees face. While polished resumes and professional facades might paint a picture of stability, the reality is far more nuanced. Today’s workforce battles a persistent undercurrent of poor mental health, and increasingly, the benefits that are offered to employees are becoming a lifeline.

According to recent research by BHN, a staggering 74% of Gen Z and 69% of Millennials are dissatisfied with current mental health offerings at work. This dissatisfaction isn’t a mere generational quirk; it reflects a genuine shift in employee expectations. Today’s workers understand the link between personal and professional lives.

With the cost of living crisis continuing to bite, financial security and mental wellbeing is becoming increasingly tied together. Employers must adopt a new approach to what it means to look after their employee’s wellbeing. Expectations are increasing that businesses should take on a more holistic approach that helps all areas of employee wellbeing – including financial anxiety.

Research by EY reveals a staggering cost: for every £1 million spent on payroll, poor financial wellbeing leads to an estimated 4% loss in productivity. While there are many aspects when it comes to mental health in the workplace, financial wellbeing is often forgotten.  Businesses must educate themselves and take action to prioritise their employees’ financial health and well as mental and physical

Invest in a healthier, happier workforce

Studies from the CIPD have shown that financially empowered employees experience a range of benefits, including reduced stress, improved health, and higher job satisfaction.  But despite this, I still see a lack of awareness about the return on investment (ROI) associated with financial wellness programmes. These factors in turn translate to increased productivity, lower healthcare costs, and decreased turnover – all contributing to a healthier bottom line for the company.

So, what are some small changes businesses can make to contribute to the financial health of their employees?

We all know the feeling when an essential appliance like a washing machine breaks down.  It can often catch us off guard and the unexpected cost can feel overwhelming. But businesses can offer employees a helping hand through salary sacrifice schemes.

These schemes allow you to spread the cost of big-ticket items like white goods over manageable instalments, deducted directly from your salary. This can be a financial lifeline during stressful times, allowing you to replace a broken appliance without derailing your budget.

This was one of the key motivators for BHN’s recent partnerships with IKEA. Through Home and Tech Scheme, employees now have access to a range of products, without the barrier of credit checks, meaning that when things go wrong, there is always support available to help.  Big ticket costs can be spread with savings paid through salary sacrifice.

Continued investments into benefits that make affording everyday life just that little bit easier is a lifeline for a lot of employees and can leave them feeling much financially healthier.

Beyond the barriers: Making financial wellness accessible

Going one step beyond benefits, employers should consider the financial literacy of their employees. Financial wellness might not be a term that everyone is familiar with, nor may they realise how impactful it is on their mental health.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to make it easier and more affordable. From online financial literacy tools to partnerships with financial institutions, these programmes can be tailored to fit the specific needs and budget of any company.

By investing in financial wellness, companies are not just helping their employees, they’re investing in a stronger, healthier, and more productive workforce.

Mental health awareness all year round

Mental Health Awareness Week serves as a stark reminder that the traditional workplace model needs an overhaul. Many companies have taken steps to help the wellbeing but it is a holistic approach that nurtures employee wellbeing that will see the happiest employees.

By offering comprehensive mental health support, from financial guidance to emotional support, companies can attract and retain top talent, create a positive work environment, and ultimately reap the benefits of a happy, healthy workforce.

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