Managing Workplace Stress Comes with Benefits
Managing workplace stress continues to be important to employees and employers. Financial wellness programs are quickly becoming the go-to-strategy for managing workplace stress. These programs are designed to help reduce money-related stressors and increase workplace productivity by teaching workers valuable financial management skills such as budgeting, how to pay off debt, fundamental investing skills, how to save for retirement, and more. Now, some employers are taking the idea of financial support a step further by offering loan programs as an employee benefit.
Essentially, the idea is to help employees when they get into a financial bind. To reiterate, managing workplace stress can make for happier, more productive employees. This can be a good thing for employers. Americans under age 35 have, on average, a savings account balance of $1,580. Those 35 to 64 have savings of between $5,000 to $8,500. That doesn’t go very far when a transmission breaks or an unforeseen hefty medical bill arises.
More employers are managing workplace stress by starting to think outside the box when it comes to offering benefits that help reduce workers’ stress. Comcast, for example, recently instituted a loan program for its employees. According to the Texarkana Gazette, the loans of $1,000 to $2,000 will be available to most employees, don’t require a credit check, and are repaid through payroll deductions.
The article also points out that it seems employers are beginning to recognize that employees’ ability to save for retirement is being hindered by the high cost of housing, student loan debt, and lack of basic budgeting skills. As such, managing workplace stress continues to be a growing trend. Based on data from an Aon survey cited in the Gazette article, 14% of employers said they already have a strategy for helping employees improve their financial well-being, and 62% say they will have a strategy within the next three years. Additionally, more than 70% of the 150 multi-national companies Aon surveyed believe they have a responsibility to help employees save for retirement and pay for healthcare. Employer sentiment on helping workers in managing workplace stress will cover day-to-day emergencies and manage debt with just 15% believing they have a responsibility to do so.
Nonetheless, the rise of loan programs and student debt assistance in the workplace seems to indicate that employers are, indeed, listening to their employees’ concerns. Many workers saddled by debt and other financial concerns feel like they can’t “afford” to save for retirement until they can pay those off. So it’s possible that by providing loan programs as a benefit, employers can help workers in managing workplace stress. Striking a balance between meeting their near-term cash-flow needs and making room in their budget to set aside some savings for retirement is not a panacea by any means, but it is a big first-step forward.
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“Managing Workplace Stress”
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