According to a recent study by Prudential, employees who have and use health wellness and financial wellness benefits are healthier than those who don’t. These employees also report lower stress levels, increased productivity, and an increased ability to tackle new challenges at work.
The link between financial wellness and health wellness – both physical and mental – is becoming ever more clear. Stress associated with financial concerns can negatively impact both physical and mental health in the form of greater susceptibility to illness and disease as well as impaired cognition, reduced work performance, and higher rates of absence. Having a low income or dealing with other forms of financial scarcity (ability to pay for debt, emergencies, healthy food, etc.) are examples of what are known as socioeconomic determinants – or influences – that can impact health. Faced with these financial challenges, people often experience emotional stress which can impact physical health directly through stress-induced illness and indirectly through the use of alcohol, tobacco and other coping behaviors.
How can employers help?
The good news is financial wellness services can help employees develop greater financial security to counteract the negative consequences associated with financial insecurity. Some of the financial support services most desired by employees include: debt reduction counseling, retirement planning, identity theft protection, after-tax emergency savings accounts, and financial coaching services, to name a few.
What does this mean for employers?
The Prudential study reported that employees who knew they had access to financial wellness services, even if they hadn’t used them, were less stressed than employees who didn’t have access to these services. Employees who are less stressed are more productive, absent less, and have a more positive view of their employers. That sounds like a win for everyone!