Do personal money problems impact on the quality of work?

Employment & Skills | Surveys

New research has found that nearly half of people experiencing money worries believe the quality of their work suffers as a result. Similarly, half also believe they are less creative or unable to complete tasks that should be routine due to concerns over personal finances.

The research, which comes from pension and investment company Aegon, found money concerns stem from a number of factors, including a feeling of unpreparedness for financial emergency (27% of all people), the everyday costs of living (26%) and a worry about a lack of preparedness for retirement (21%). Over two-thirds of people (69%) say they face money worries.

Having also spoken to employers, Aegon’s research found that most employers want to help. Just over three-fifths (61%) say that greater employee financial wellbeing would boost productivity. However, a large number are unsure how to support employees.

77% of employers either don’t understand or are not aware of regulations around the difference between financial guidance and advice, and therefore do not know when they might be over-stepping the line into “advice”, which can only be given by a regulated adviser. Added to this, 45% think they’d be intruding by approaching their employees about it.

Having spoken to HR departments across the UK, Aegon’s research also found:

  • Over half of employers (51%) feel that a lack of employee financial wellbeing, including concerns over long-term saving, retirement plans, budgeting, debt and living costs, is an issue for the business.
  • 63% of large companies are concerned about their workers’ ability to save for the future.

When speaking to workers, Aegon found that 70% would find general information highlighting steps to improve their financial wellbeing useful, while 64% said the same about face-to-face counselling and support around debt management.

Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, said: “Employees have told us that poor financial wellbeing is harming their productivity at work. Now employers are adding significant weight to the evidence on this issue.

“Poor financial wellbeing is not only stressful for individuals – it’s costing employers millions of working days a year and billions to the economy. Clearly, companies want to do more to provide the help their employees need. We need to start a ‘win win’ conversation about this issue so employees know where they can receive support, and employers feel empowered to give it.”

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