With the mounting cost of monthly expenses such as rent, transport, food, and electricity, financial stress has become a growing concern for South Africans who are trudging through these tough economic times. Research done in 2022 for the Floatpays State of Employee Wellbeing Barometer looked at employees’ experiences of their working environment and how their employers support their well-being.
It showed that financial wellness is a key factor influencing overall well-being and ultimately, productivity in the workplace, with one in five participants reporting high levels of financial stress. Financial constraints often result in changes in both their home and work environment, and the stress can cause a direct impact on their efficiency and productivity at work.
Ways that debt stress affects employees:
- Lack of concentration – Debt stress often causes a lack of sleep and motivation, seeing employees coming to work stressed and tired.
- Absenteeism – Debt stress can result in employee absenteeism – The need to take excessive time off to deal with financial issues, become ill due to financial stress, or be unable to afford transport costs to get to work.
- Decreased employee morale – Financial stress has a direct impact on one’s well-being, and this might lead to various mental health issues.
- Phone calls from debt collectors – Employees who are over-indebted will be chased by debt collectors on payments during working hours, and this could cause them to be distracted.
How employers can offer support to financially stressed employees:
It’s important that employers help educate and alleviate stress around financial issues by assisting employees to understand their finances. Exposure to financial education can assist people outside of debt review to take control of their finances.
- Workplace financial literacy programmes – Increased knowledge of financial matters will help employees regain control of their finances.
- Providing a safe working environment and regular employee check-ins can assist them to stay motivated, and manage their financial stress.
- Provide access to debt solutions – Providing employees with financial knowledge that can be applied to better money management, helping them reduce their reliance on debt.
We encourage employers to have open conversations with their employees on better money management and to help avoid debt traps. A financially secure employee is more likely to be engaged and productive in the workplace, and this makes for a happy work environment.
National Debt Advisors is South Africa’s number one debt counselling company and is perfectly positioned to help South African consumers who are struggling with their finances, become debt-free in under 60 months.