A study of 2,600 UK employees has revealed that financial pressure is the leading cause of stress, with 34% citing it in a survey. Data gathered in the last eight months shows that financial woes have now overtaken relationships as the leading cause of stress for employees, when compared with Champion Health’s previous report.
Data released today by the global employee wellbeing platform, provides an insight into how the cost of living is affecting the mental health and wider wellbeing of the country’s working population between October 2021 and June 2022.
The data, published in the Cost Of Living Crisis report, which includes authors from Champion Health and its newly formed Global Wellbeing Advisory Board, including Global Head of Health and Wellbeing for Ocado, Arti Kashyap-Aynsley, is dedicated to exploring how the cost of living and rising financial stress affects the wellbeing of UK professionals. Concerningly, the report revealed that those experiencing financial stress are more than twice-as-likely to experience thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
Financial stress is also affecting productivity at work too; more than one-in-ten of all employees say financial stress is hindering their ability to perform their job.
Other key findings include:
- Younger employees are twice as likely to be affected by financial stress than older colleagues (35% of 25–34-year-olds vs 17% of 45-54-year-olds)
- Financial stress is the most common of stress (34%), followed by relationships (32%) and parenting (27%)
- Those with an unhealthy relationship with money scored 20% lower on a validated wellbeing score, revealing a link between poor wellbeing and a poor relationship with money
- Financial stress is linked with more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety – Over half of those with clinical depression also experience financial stress. Just 24% of those without symptoms of depression experience financial stress
- Female professionals are 33% more likely to experience financial stress
- On average, those experiencing financial stress report feeling ‘fatigued’, whereas those not experiencing financial stress are ‘energised’
Harry Bliss, CEO and Co-founder of Champion Health, said that while the findings were worrying, the data helped highlight the importance of financial wellbeing and its effect on overall wellbeing. He added that the findings should jolt leaders and businesses to take the wellbeing of their teams ever more seriously.
Bliss said: “The last six months have been extremely tough on every employee, and I’m extremely concerned by the results of this report. Just as the world began to return to something resembling normality, new global crises have emerged, resulting in increased stress on the wellbeing of our people.
“What we’re seeing is a workforce under continuous pressure, both financially and mentally. From the rising cost of living to the long shadow cast by a new war in Europe, organisations must do more to support their people.
“We need to see a significant step-up in the amount of investment made not only in improving financial wellbeing, but employee wellbeing too. As the data shows, financial wellbeing, mental health and physical health are all intrinsically linked. I call on leaders to address these challenges holistically, through a personalised approach for each employee.”
“At its most extreme, those experiencing financial stress are more than twice as likely to experience thoughts of suicide or self-harm. This alone must galvanise businesses to act. Companies can help to turn this dangerous pattern now. It’s not just a business challenge, this is a moral challenge too.”