Guest post: Supporting employee financial wellbeing in the lead up to the holidays

We are delighted to welcome Robin Wilson and Sharon Leadbetter, workplace wellness experts based here in Hawke’s Bay, to the blog. They have kindly written an article on financial wellbeing and how you can support your team in the lead-up to the silly season. Cole Murray and Workplace Wellness see an important connection between financial wellbeing and wellbeing in the workplace, by working together we hope to achieve beneficial outcomes for all our clients. 

The holiday season can bring with it lots of expectations, pressures, and rising stress levels. The current cost of living is a significant concern for New Zealanders and is impacting people’s financial wellbeing.

Understanding the current financial landscape

The Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report 2022 found 93% of people said the cost of living is their top issue of concern. Affordable housing was also an issue for 85% of respondents, highlighting the strain on individuals and families. Additionally, 78% worry about access to affordable healthcare, and 60% face barriers to dental treatment due to cost.

These challenges have given rise to what’s now called a “Cost-of-Living crisis.” Rising prices in food, petrol, mortgages, and rents, along with other expenses, have led to increased personal debt. Older individuals are working longer due to financial necessity, not choice. This crisis has also placed further pressure on the mental health system.

Why should employers care?

Financial wellbeing is a core part of an employee’s wellbeing and affects their overall life. The impact of financial stress on the workplace can include decreased focus, productivity and sleep quality at night, resulting in potential mistakes or safety issues and increased absenteeism. When employees experience financial stress, it affects their ability to perform their job effectively. It doesn’t have to cost organisations a lot to support their employee’s financial wellbeing at this challenging time.

This time of year brings end of year catch ups, work dos, gifts in the workplace and for kids in school. This can be a financially tough time for many people and the assumption is people can afford to attend all these things. Plus, pay for a babysitter, a meal, and an uber to get home safely afterwards, but maybe they can’t this year and are too embarrassed to say.

What can you do to support employee financial wellbeing?

Inclusive social activities: Make sure work social gatherings and events are accessible and affordable for all employees, regardless of their financial situation. Ask staff for ideas on what they might like to do and put on free transport to get people home safely if you are serving alcohol.

Look at your work schedules: Can you help reduce your employees stress levels by letting them take a longer lunch break or finishing an hour earlier in the lead up to the end of the year to help them complete last minute tasks

Flexible work arrangements: Explore the benefits of offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or adjusted schedules, to help employees save on commuting and parking costs and manage their time more efficiently.

Educate and raise awareness: Start 2024 by offering financial literacy programs and access to financial experts and useful online tools. Education is crucial when it comes to financial health.

Resource hub: Create a resource hub with articles, tips, and tools related to financial planning. This can be easily accessible to all employees. Free sites like Sorted have great tips and resources.

Open communication: Foster an open and supportive communication environment without judgement and provide resources or assistance to support their financial wellbeing.

The business benefits of supporting financial wellbeing

Taking steps to support financial wellbeing can have a positive impact on your business. It can increase employee productivity, engagement, and retention, while also contributing to a positive workplace culture. It’s a win-win situation, as employees are more likely to stay with employers who help support their financial wellness.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your approach should be tailored to your organisation’s unique needs so ask your people how you can help. Financial wellbeing is not just about money; it’s about giving people the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions and reduce stress.

If you want to know more about Financial Wellbeing, contact Robin Wilson or Sharon Leadbetter

Referral partner

Introducing Workplace Wellness

Robin Wilson and Sharon Leadbetter are workplace wellness specialists. They believe this isn’t just about ticking a box or adding a fruit bowl to your kitchen. It’s about harnessing the true potential that exists within your business through strategically re-energising your workplace culture.

With a blend of evidence-based strategies and creative ideas, they help businesses navigate the often-overwhelming information, and implement a wellbeing strategy that is aligned with the collective ambitions of the business.

Photo by Tim Douglas

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