Financial stress can have a massive impact on employee productivity

Picture: Pexels Many businesses are aware of the negative impact the stress can have on their employees’ productivity.

We don’t call January, Janu-worry for nothing, you know.

School fees, clothes and stationery top the list of nail-biting worries that most citizens across Mzansi will wrestle with over the next few weeks.

This leads to Stress, with a capital S, and that is because they cannot afford to make ends meet or provide for their families.
It is common knowledge that South Africans of all income brackets struggle with their finances on a monthly basis.

According to a 2022 study, most middle-income people spend 80% of their earnings within five days of pay day.

“The trend also points to a continued culture of consumption, leaving consumers with little to start saving and investing for financial independence,” said the then-CEO of FNB Retail, Raj Makanjee.

Indeed, an increasing proportion of South Africans use credit cards to purchase necessities such as food and clothing.
The recent economic stagnation and high inflation have exacerbated these challenges, making the situation even more difficult.

These financial difficulties may be extremely unpleasant for employees, as well as a burden on employers, because productivity levels decrease when employees are financially concerned.

According to financial wellbeing platform, Floatpays, 74% of South African employees assess their financial stress as medium to high.

And, while it cannot eradicate financial stress, the firm seeks to ease it with its portfolio of financial solutions.

“We all know how difficult it can be to focus on work when we’re dealing with something stressful in our private lives,” said Floatpays chief people officer, Andisa Liba.

“That’s especially true when it comes to financial stresses, which can range from worrying about debt and retirement savings to rising transportation costs, food prices, and even family commitments.”

Liba went on to say that many businesses are aware of the negative impact these tensions can have on their employees’ productivity.

“Historically, however, employers have primarily tried to address them through education. While financial education is undoubtedly a vital tool, it can only achieve so much.

“Financial education needs to be paired with the right corrective measures for people to move from a financially despondent place to a financial consciousness. To achieve this, employees need access to the right financial instruments, as well as guardrails that support the transition,” added Liba.

So how does a worker access financial education? One place could be online, where there are various platforms that cater to people at every level of their careers.

This includes services that you can access for free, such as many informative advice articles from IOL, career coaches and YouTube.

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