Why our money worries are costing business

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If you’re an employer, you already pay super contributions of at least 9.5 % of your employees’ earnings. This is money they’ll be able to access in retirement, so they’ll be able to provide for themselves and live comfortably.

So far so good.

But what if you found out you were saying goodbye to that same amount again for each employee, as it poured straight down the productivity drain?

That’s what our research into the financial fitness of working Australians found. One in four employees is spending at least three hours a week thinking about their personal financial situation while they’re at work, and 40 per cent are spending between at least two hours on it.

That equates to a massive loss of productivity for Australian businesses. Per employee, it works out to an average of $5,202, the equivalent of 9.55 per cent of each worker’s paid salary hours – or just more than our super contributions, one of our most important sources of financial security.

And it all adds up to a whopping $60 billion loss for Australian businesses each year.

Ouch.

How stress became an employer problem

One in three Australians is suffering major financial stress. A quarter of us are kept awake at night by our financial worries. On top of the damage to a company’s bottom line, there are real safety implications that arise from this for certain jobs. Who wants an overtired technician fixing their building’s lift? A groggy safety inspector on a building site? Not us.

So what can Australian businesses do?

Our survey results indicated that most working Australians (56 per cent) would be interested in some sort of financial wellbeing program offered by their employee. But only 13 per cent of respondents said they currently had access to such a program at work.

Nearly one in two said they would probably or definitely use a confidential online financial planning service paid for by their employer – and given that those respondents who did currently have a financial plan in place reported lower stress levels and had a higher overall financial fitness index score, that could have direct productivity and profitability benefits for businesses.

In fact, research shows that companies that look out for the wellbeing of their staff do reap the benefits. According to Right Management in 2009, in organisations where workplace health is managed well financial performance has increased more than 2.5 times.

The verdict is pretty clear – employee financial stress is costing businesses. And that’s why many businesses are now looking into workplace financial wellbeing programs.

Want to know how you can stop the productivity drain? Download our report into the Financial Fitness of Working Australians.

Here's an infographic outlining the Financial Stress in the Australian Workplace:

Test your financial fitness Try it and see how you compare. It'll take you two, maybe three minutes tops


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