Ilaine Anderson, AMP Director of Workplace Superannuation
Two in five Australians experience financial stress at some point in their working lives, according to AMP’s latest Financial Wellness research.
The impact is profound, both on the lives and wellbeing of individuals, and on Australian businesses.
On average, financially stressed employees take an extra two days sick leave each year and spend close to an hour each week at work sorting out their personal finances.
The cost to business is huge, with lost productivity and absenteeism estimated to set companies back $31.1 billion annually.
"... supporting a healthy work life balance is key."
While the triggers for financial stress are complex, our research has identified some common themes.
Interestingly, no demographic or income bracket is immune, but there are some groups far more at risk to financial stress than others.
Not surprisingly, single parent families juggling childcare and work were shown to be the most financially stressed.
Those living in share accommodation and women returning to work after a career break, often to start a family, are also at risk.
Workplace conditions also have a significant impact on the psychological wellbeing of employees, with many modern workplace practices having a negative impact on workers.
Staff who job share, work beyond contracted hours, or are on short-term contracts are all more likely to feel stressed.
But there are changes employers can make to help their staff feel less financially stressed.
Our research shows that supporting a healthy work life balance is key.
Encouraging flexible work arrangements, for example, the ability to work from home, helps improve employee performance and engagement.
Education is essential, and employers can play a big role in providing their employees with access to experts and supporting financial wellness programs.
"The good news is there are many things we can do to ease the strain."
There are also small and relatively simple day to day changes individuals can make.
For example, our research shows that setting up direct debits for regular bills can reduce stress.
Setting a budget and having savings set aside for rainy day expenses also helps.
The days of the never to open again spreadsheet are over, with mobile app technology now making budgeting easy.
And most importantly, goal setting.
If people take the time to reflect and think about their short and long-term goals, and then put a plan in place to achieve them, they feel more in control and have greater financial peace of mind.
It’s clear financial stress is a very real and ongoing problem for many people. It’s also a very real problem for Australian businesses.
The good news is there are many things we can do to ease the strain.
Pictured: Ilaine Anderson, Director of Workplace Superannuation