As COVID-19 lockdowns lift and people start returning to work, a lot of organisations will be focussing their attention on employee wellbeing and wellness. If there’s one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, it’s that being stuck at home for abnormally long periods can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health.
Now, as people return to work under the so-called ‘new normal’ — which is going to require a lot of adjustment from employers and employees alike — any programmes and initiatives that proactively boost wellbeing will be crucial as the rest of 2020 plays out.
But while we often tend to think of wellbeing in terms of people’s physical and mental health, there is a third kind that has become increasingly important: financial.
The concept of financial wellbeing
Financial wellbeing includes how much control people have over their finances, their ability to respond to financial unpredictability and unexpected financial expense, and their ability to meet financial goals and make choices that allow them to enjoy life.
The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 situation will already have a lot of people concerned, especially when it comes to job security and financial wellbeing going forward. We are already hearing about how businesses may need to consider redundancies once the furlough scheme comes to an end on 31 October 2020 to ensure their survival. Such news is regrettable for employers and worrying for employees.
No wonder wellbeing, including financial, is such a big consideration for employers and employees right now. But don’t just take our word for it that the priorities of today’s workforce are changing. A recent multinational research project found that eight out of 10 workers are interested in one or more types of workplace wellness programmes.
According to the research carried out for Aegon, 86% of workers globally have wellness at the top of their agenda, with 78% of UK workers saying the same.
The research also reveals that workers across the globe say they will need, on average, 67% of their current income in retirement. However, relatively few — just 25% globally and 24% in the UK — believe they are on course to meet these needs.
How employers can help
For employers, the emphasis on wellbeing in general, plus the need to support employees’ financial futures, presents an opportunity. By implementing the right initiatives, programmes and benefits, companies can not only promote themselves as employers of choice, but also make a real difference in their employees’ lives.
Employers should look to:
- Cultivate an age-friendly workplace that recognises the value and contributions of workers of all ages
- Provide benefits that support retirement, health and welfare
- Offer retirement planning services and appropriate financial advice
- Facilitate access to training, education or financial wellness programmes to promote financial literacy
- Encourage health and wellbeing by offering a workplace wellness programme
- Offer flexible working arrangements to help employees achieve a better work-life balance
- Facilitate lifelong learning to help workers keep their job skills up to date and relevant
The Aegon research found that 73% of UK employers offer a retirement plan for their employees.
As the Aegon research highlights, the vast majority of employees are interested in wellbeing programmes and initiatives. When we take this into consideration alongside the fact that many employees are not on course to have enough money in their retirements, there are a number of ways employers can help. Contact us to discuss the options available.
I joined Premier Choice Group as a Healthcare & Protection Consultant in 2017, where I now look after the needs of over 200 clients nationwide. Prior to joining the Premier Choice Group, I worked for a large Private Healthcare Insurer, VitalityHealth, and managed SME and Individual clients across the country.