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Spotting the 8 Signs of Employee Financial Stress

April 12, 2022

Employee Financial Wellbeing

In an era of economic uncertainty, more and more employees face financial difficulties. The net result is that many hardworking professionals are battling to pay bills and rent, which can seriously affect their mental health and overall productivity.

So, it's essential for employee financial wellbeing to think thrifty to save money. You can help them to do just that – which can have a positive impact on your organisation!


What are the 8 signs of financial stress?

Spotting the 8 signs of financial stress is important; You can then act to assist your member of staff - the signs are:

  1. Absenteeism.
  2. Increase in sick days.
  3. Agitation.
  4. Irritability.
  5. Difficulty concentrating.
  6. Insomnia.
  7. Drops in productivity.
  8. Anxiety and/or depression.

Impact finances have on employees 

With the ongoing cost of living crisis, more employees are finding it difficult to set aside their financial anxiety when coming to work. The pressure of financial troubles has caused people around the UK to take serious measures to stay afloat. 

Employees are doing everything they can to keep up with rising bills and everyday costs; some are even taking up second jobs. The ongoing pressure caused by financial troubles drives more people to become stressed over their financial position. The financial stress employees are experiencing has catastrophic effects on their mental and physical health and workplace performance. 


The effects of financial stress

Over 50% of employees say their main contributor to stress is their finances. This number is ever-growing, with Over 60% of workers admitting they are more concerned about their finances than last year.

If an employee is struggling with their money situation, it can cause a great deal of mental strain and severely affect their quality of work. It can also affect the morale of others and an employee's decision to leave an organisation. 

  • Morale financial stress can bring countless issues to a workplace. It can seriously damage employee morale to the point that stressed employees negatively affect their coworkers. Demoralised employees can weaken the overall culture of an organisation. 


  • Retention - employees really struggling with their finances may take a gamble and find better pay elsewhere. Employee financial wellbeing is one of the most attractive and important employee perks in 2023. Employees are not afraid to leave their current position for one that supports their employees' wellbeing. 


  • Productivity- When problems and concerns around money emerge, people find it harder to 'drop' these issues. This often means people are less focused on the work in front of them. Now, with more employees struggling with their finances, more workers are finding it difficult to concentrate on their job. This can have damaging effects on productivity and overall output. 


  • Burnout - employee burnout is a phenomenon brought on by the continuous stress employees experience in their working lives. Employees experiencing burnout face several challenges including mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Workers facing financial issues are more susceptible to employee burnout. If left unattended, burnout can reduce productivity and motivation, damage mental health and even lead to employees resigning.


So, how can you tell when an employee is facing financial difficulties? 

It is often challenging to understand when employees face issues with their finances. Employees often keep this information to themselves, making it difficult for employers to step in. 

On average, over 60% of employees hide their financial position from employers, often due to shame or embarrassment. However, this makes it difficult for employers to provide the right support to the people who need it the most. So here are some key signs of financial stress staff may show.


The 8 signs of financial stress 


Not showing up for work could indicate employees are struggling to balance work with external responsibilities such as childcare. 

Increase in sick days

Employees phoning in sick more regularly could mean they are struggling to face coming to work or taking more time off to focus on their mental health. 


Financial anxiety brought on by trouble with money can lead to agitated employees. When employees are agitated, they may become difficult to work with, distance themselves from coworkers and find it difficult to perform tasks. 


Stressed employees are difficult to work with and can often become irritable. Poor behaviour can lead to damaged relationships and even disciplinary action. 

Difficulty Concentrating

Employees struggling with their finances may face difficulties concentrating on their tasks. Stressed individuals may take longer to perform tasks, make mistakes or forget to complete tasks entirely. 


Insomnia is often linked to extreme stress and can seriously affect your mental and physical health. Employees experiencing insomnia may come into work tired, focus less on their work and appear run down. 

Drops In Productivity

Employee financial wellbeing has a dramatic effect on work performance and productivity. Employees experiencing poor financial wellbeing may appear less productive. They may procrastinate more and miss deadlines or quality targets. 

Anxiety And/Or Depression

Anxiety and depression are serious mental health disorders that employees may develop when facing struggles with money. Workers experiencing these illnesses appear more distant and deflated than usual. Depression can also affect employees' productivity, emotions and energy. 

How you can help your employee's financial wellbeing 

You can ensure that your employees are paid well and receive additional benefits through salary benchmarking, salary reviews, and bonuses. Happy employees will stay with your business and work to a higher standard.

Dr. Shaun Davis is the director of safety, health, wellbeing and sustainability with the Royal Mail. At a 2019 conference at the Mad World Summit he said:

"You've got physical health, mental health, and financial health, each making up one point on the triangle. Now, you might think, 'So what? What does that actually tell me?' Well, in a very simple way, your financial health has an impact on your physical health, which has an impact on your mental health, which has an impact on your financial health."

Another important tool for employees is a financial wellbeing program. Employees experiencing financial troubles can use this tool to receive support and financial advice. Financial wellbeing tools offer employees free resources such as budgeting tools and ways to save, including online discounts and helpful articles and tools to understand finances better. 

Benefits of a financial wellbeing program 

Improved wellbeing 

Poor employee financial wellbeing is terrible news for any business. Introducing a financial wellbeing scheme can help to avoid employees facing financial troubles. Supportive programs help to provide employees with the tools and resources to better their financial education and position. When introduced correctly, these programs are extremely valuable and helps to reduce stress brought on by poor finances. 

Productivity boosts 

As wellbeing programs aim to support employees with their finances, they are less likely to bring their problems into work. Employees can focus on their tasks and responsibilities in work. Wellbeing schemes don't just help staff, it can also see an increase in productivity across an organisation. 

Increased loyalty

Providing financial support to struggling employees allows employees to see how much you value them. Valued employees are more satisfied and more likely to remain at an organisation. 

How to create an effective financial wellbeing program 

Terryberry can help - we have introduced financial wellbeing products to several national clients as part of their overall employee benefits package, and the results speak for themselves.

HR departments report better staff retention rates, more engaged employees and a reduction in the number of days missed due to illness. This means happier staff with less concern over how they will make ends meet every month.

In lower-paid roles, this benefit can make a huge difference to the overall quality of your employee's financial health and in turn, their physical and mental health.


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