A group of academics conducted an experiment which found that performing a relatively simple task can be more challenging for some individuals after having to think about a large, potential expense. As one of the researchers, Princeton University professor Eldar Shafir, put it, “a brain distracted by financial problems is ‘like a computer slowing down when you run too many things at once.’” Similarly, it is well-documented that high levels of financial stress can result in reduced employee productivity, and unsurprisingly more and more businesses are now exploring ways to help combat the negative effects of money-related concerns on workplace performance. An increasingly popular technique is to implement a financial wellness program which aims to teach employees better money management skills and improve overall financial literacy.
Seventy-six percent of employers recently surveyed by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health said that they currently have such a wellness program in place, and 20 percent intend to implement one soon. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents reported that they offer on-site financial seminars, and 59 percent said that they make a financial coach available to workers. Student loan debt is another growing source of financial stress, particularly for younger workers (see above), and 13 percent of employer respondents said that they currently offer a related repayment assistance program, and another 21 percent are considering doing so in the future. Since financial issues are not the only potential source of worker stress, many surveyed businesses reported that they also already provide their employees with access to emotional well-being and general stress management programs, or are at least considering to in the near future.
Sources: Squared Away, National Business Group on Health, Fidelity InvestmentsPost author: Charles Couch