Staff money worries at Christmas

01 November 2019

For many people, Christmas is a time of festive celebrations, but it can also burn a big financial hole in our pockets. One in three people are putting Christmas presents on credit this year, and one in 10 are feeling worried and stressed about money. This can create significant money worries that can affect our mental and physical wellbeing, both in and out of work.

Findings from recent research on the financial wellbeing of 5,000 employees has also shown that a high percentage of UK employees are suffering from money worries, with employees saying that it impacts them at work. And more significantly, over half of those surveyed did not have any sort of financial plan.

Recognising the early signs of worry

Head of Advice and Occupational Health Services at Bupa, UK, Kirstin Newman, believes a big step forward is for managers to recognise the early signs that an employee may be struggling at work. “If a team member starts to behave uncharacteristically or they start to take time off work, engage them in an open conversation to show your concern. Then explore what might be at the root of the issue. You can then point them in the direction of support available if financial concerns are shared with you.”

Ways to offer employee support

But, with Christmas around the corner what else can employers do to support staff burdened with financial worries? Practical steps can include being conscious of people’s finances when planning a team Christmas party or social occasions. Or consider letting people work from home on days around Christmas when the office will be quiet – this could save people the cost of their daily commute.

Employee assistance programmes (EAPs) can also be a valuable way of supporting people with conditions like stress and mental ill-health.

Some employers may also offer employees the option of affordable loans and financial education through partnerships with independent financial organisations, who work with employers to support financial wellbeing in the work place.

Other sources of financial support

For employers who may not be able to offer employee benefit schemes there are plenty of organisations out there that can offer advice on spending less and avoiding debt. Organisations like the Money Advice Service, Citizens Advice and StepChange offer a rich source of online free and independent advice on managing finances over the festive period, including these tips.

  • Free financial advice. Anyone who is worried about money or debt, can get advice from charities like the National Debtline.
  • Plan your Christmas budget. Pencil in time to work out how much you can afford to spend over the festive period, and then decide what you can cut back on to reduce costs.
  • Ignore what others are doing for Christmas. Don’t look at what other people have got or are doing for Christmas, and just focus on you and what you can afford.
  • Don’t neglect your bills. Try and stay on top of your bills, including paying your bills in December if you get paid early.
  • Shop around. Make time to browse the internet to get the best deal on a specific present.
  • Control your borrowing. As tempting as it is to borrow to pay for Christmas related stuff.

You may want to consider circulating tips like these to your team as part of your internal communications, or signpost them to the support organisations mentioned above.

“We could all do with learning more about our finances – whether that's knowing what your credit score is, and why it's perhaps low or simply understanding ways you can save for the future or an event like Christmas,” adds Newman.

You may want to consider circulating tips like these to your team as part of your internal communications, or signpost them to the support organisations mentioned above.

“We could all do with learning more about our finances – whether that's knowing what your credit score is, and why it's perhaps low or simply understanding ways you can save for the future or an event like Christmas,” adds Newman.

Sources

Want to find out more information on our business products and services?

ajax-loader