Is your work productivity dipping at the moment? This could be why

Researchers have found a link between financial fears and low energy, and it could be impacting you at work

It’s fair to say that we all have a lot on our minds at the moment. The cost of living crisis is dominating news headlines, and our day-to-day conversations, too. And many of us are having to take a hard look at our finances in order to navigate the time ahead of us.

Financial worries can affect each of us in a number of different ways, most commonly stirring up feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. But a new study from Censuswide and Unum has highlighted the way that it might be affecting us at work.

What they found was that 29% of UK workers said financial worries from the cost of living crisis had negatively impacted their productivity at work this year, with 31% expecting this to continue into 2023. A further 40% said that their worries about financial pressure leave them feeling physically tired, and 32% said that the pressure keeps them up at night.

From there, it’s easy to see how an individual may slip further into mental health struggles. In a Mind survey of more than 1,000 people, 73% reported that when their mental health is poor, they struggle more to manage their money, and 74% also said that difficulty managing money then went on to affect their mental health – a demonstration of the cyclical trap that financial trouble can turn into.

Money worries can also lead to feelings of isolation. Generally, we don’t find it easy to talk to others about our concerns, even (and sometimes, especially) those who are close to us. We can also feel pressure to put on a front – to continue to turn up to pricey social events when, really, we don’t have the spare cash to do so. Overall, the situation can feel quite hopeless, but Mark Till, CEO of Unum UK believes that workplaces should be stepping in to help employees.

29% said that financial worries had negatively impacted their productivity at work

“Our research captures some major red flags in the lack of support from businesses and the resulting impact on productivity, as well as physical and mental health,” Mark says. “With only 15% of workers expecting their productivity to improve in 2023, employers need to be aware of the long-term implications of not helping employees during the current difficult economic climate.

“High-quality employee benefits and support services are essential, but employees can’t utilise these unless they’re aware of them. Communication and embedding these benefits are critical, as well as enabling a culture where employees feel they can speak freely about concerns and understand where to go to access early intervention support.”

Are you aware of the support that you might be entitled to? Read our guide to checking your Employee Assistance Program, and we’ve also got advice for managing your money and your mental health, as well as dealing with financial shock.

A solution for financial worries often feels out of reach. Afterall, if the problem is ‘lack of money’, most of us don’t have the ability to conjure up some more. But when it comes to managing the feelings caused by the worries, you do have more options. Reach out for mental health support using EAPs or charities, and try – as hard as it might be – to be honest about your feelings with your loved ones. You never know, they could be going through exactly the same thing, just waiting for the right moment to share and lessen the load.

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