How employers can mitigate the financial stress impacting employee productivity

Employees are stressed about their financial situation, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Workplace Benefits Report. Among those who are stressed, 53 percent say it interferes with their productivity and ability to focus at work. Stress over personal finances extends into the workplace, impacting employees’ productivity, health and overall wellbeing.

Based on a nationwide survey of more than 1,200 employees participating in 401(k) plans at companies of all sizes, the report explores attitudes of employees on key financial topics, examines their needs and concerns, and offers insights for employers to drive employee engagement.

What the study revealed

Key findings from the study include:

  • Sixty-four percent of employees are worried about running out of money in retirement.
  • Millennial employees (67 percent) are more than twice as likely as Baby Boomers (32 percent) to report that financial stress interferes with their ability to focus and be productive at work.
  • Millennials dedicate the most time each week at work to their personal finances (four hours on average), double that of Gen Xers and four times that of Baby Boomers.
  • Forty-three percent of employees spend an average of three or more working hours per week on personal finances, and 21 percent spend five hours or more.
  • Nearly three in five employees say financial stress has a negative effect on their physical health. This stress wears most heavily on the health of younger employees (68 percent of Millennials vs. 51 percent of Baby Boomers).

How employers can help

Employees look to their employers to help manage several aspects of their financial lives. Half of employees rank saving for retirement as the financial matter they need help with the most. The study also found that support from employers is paying off.

Employers can best meet this call for help by offering programs that address a wide range of financial needs, such as education on building better money habits and access to advisors who can offer personalized guidance and more holistic financial services.


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