What's on Your Employees' Minds?: Financial Stress and Workplace Performance

What's on Your Employees' Minds?: Financial Stress and Workplace Performance

Financial stress and workplace performance are linked, causing increased absenteeism, loss in productivity and higher health care costs.

If your employees aren't as productive as you'd like them to be or maybe as they once were, there might be a dollar sign attached to the problem. Simply put, financial stress and workplace performance are linked. After all, it's almost impossible for employees to leave their personal issues at home.

Even though it happened a decade ago, many employees still haven't recovered from the last recession. So from paying off debt to planning for retirement, worries about money may be undermining your employees' ability to do their best work, impacting your business and keeping you from reaching your growth potential.

Here's are three negative effects of financial stress on your bottom line.

Increased Absenteeism

Financial stresses have resulted in a 34 percent increase in absenteeism and tardiness, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. And one study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that financially stressed employees miss almost twice as many days (3.5) each year compared to their unstressed counterparts.

When workers are missing, their workload goes undone. This means falling short of production goals or stretching resources thin by asking other employees to cover potentially resulting in even more widespread stress.

Lower Productivity

Financial problems also hurt an employee's ability to get stuff done when they are at work. Thirty-four percent of Generation X, 16 percent of baby boomers and 37 percent of millennials say they're distracted by their finances at work, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers Employee Wellness Survey. The PwC report also notes that nearly half of employees spend more than three hours per week distracted by personal finances. This means that even when your employees are present, they aren't working at full capacity.

Higher Health Care Costs

Playing a significant role in heart disease, migraines, obesity and accelerated aging, stress can also manifest itself physically, according to Fast Company. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 people put off or consider skipping health care visits due to the cost, per the American Psychological Association. This can result in higher health care costs for you later if your employees don't schedule preventive care or, worse yet, ignore symptoms of conditions that become serious over time.

From skipped days to sick days, the link between financial stress and workplace performance is of the utmost significance to your business. In addition to the damage these factors cause to your bottom line, no employer wants to see their team suffering from stress. While you may think that personal finances are best left personal, there are things you can do to help, including implementing financial wellness programs as part of your overall health and wellness initiatives. Financial health programs have been shown to improve productivity, reduce absenteeism and lower health care costs. In fact, some studies suggest that wellness programs may have a return on investment of $1.50 for every dollar spent, according to RAND.

You provide your employees with a paycheck, after all. Consider giving them guidance on how to make the most of it.