Anyone with money worries will understand that the stress this brings can literally make you feel ill. Concern about the state of your finances is very unsettling yet talking about money issues remains a taboo topic for many people.
Financial ill-health can bring stress, worry, family conflict and a drop in productivity at work: in the UK, 94% of employees worry about their money and poor financial wellbeing is the number one cause of stress. That overriding feeling of being unsettled or unsafe financially underpins your every waking moment. However, the reverse is also true and good financial health can set your worries free, give your family security and give you confidence that things are under control.
In recent years, employers have taken great strides in safeguarding their employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. The Covid-19 pandemic threw this into the limelight as employers were quick to assume responsibility for keeping their workforce healthy and happy.
Financial health is now rising to the top of the HR agenda and rightly so. Not only can money worries lead to physical and mental ill-health – through stress, sleepless nights and anxiety – they can also seriously impact people’s productivity, ability to concentrate and make decisions. This itself can damage the bottom line of a business, not to mention the loss to a company if staff are off sick with anxiety or depression.
Recognising that employee wellbeing is inextricably linked to their financial health, leading corporate wellbeing platform Gympass offers financial health apps alongside its physical and mental health solutions.
“In the same way everyone is now encouraged to talk more openly about mental health, people now need to feel able to talk about their financial health,” says Luke Bullen, CEO UK and Ireland at Gympass. “These days, people aren’t afraid to seek guidance from a PT for their physical health or download a meditation app to calm their mind. We believe they should feel just as able to tap into financial health services to sort out their money worries.”
One major hurdle to overcome is feeling able to speak openly about your finances which, traditionally, has been somewhat of a taboo. Samuel Lathey, Co-founder and CEO of Bippit, understands this very well. “Money affects almost every decision we make, but it’s an area of our lives which is very sensitive and private, which means it’s hard to know where to turn for support and guidance,” he says. “At Bippit we’ve worked incredibly hard to make our platform a safe and confidential space for everyone to get 1:1 coaching from their very own financial expert, no matter their age, wealth, or situation.” Since joining Gympass, Bippit has seen an uplift in interest – showing that financial health set in the context of overall wellbeing is welcomed by employees.
“Financial health shouldn’t be seen as a ‘work perk’, it’s an absolutely essential tool: if people can manage their finances, they will feel all the better for it,” continues Samuel. “In an ideal world, getting financial support at work should be as simple and normal as getting an apple from the office fruit bowl and by partnering with Gympass we are able to put Bippit in many more people’s hands.”
“It’s important to recognise that financial health is less about how much you earn and more about how much control you have of your finances,” reminds Luke. “This means it’s as relevant to younger or lower-paid staff as it is for senior management and higher paid employees.”
Employers are well placed to start the conversation around financial health with their workforce, Luke believes. “Gympass has seen use of our financial wellbeing apps rise over 70% already in 2021,” he says. “Financial health is every bit as important as physical health and mental health. Put simply, sorting out your finances gives you one less thing to worry about which cannot fail to improve your sense of wellbeing.”