Pandemic impact on mental health prompts UK employees to improve finances

Close Brothers study finds 39% of UK employees have experienced an increase in worries about their financial health

Employees across the UK have reported increased concerns about their financial health over the past year as a result of the pandemic, but plan to make changes to their financial preparedness as a result.

A study carried out by Close Brothers, surveying 2,000 UK based employees working for companies with 200 or more employees between 22-28 January 2021, found that more than half (51%) of employees experienced an increase in worries about their mental health due to the pandemic, and around two in five (39%) employees have experienced an increase in worries about their financial health.

The findings, detailed in the report Expecting the unexpected: a spotlight on preparing for a crisis, also discovered almost half of women employees (44%) have been significantly more impacted than their male colleagues (34%), while it’s those aged 18-34 that are the age demographic which has felt it hardest, with more than half of them (51%) experiencing greater money worries.

See also: – Covid recovery net-negative for women despite home-working potential

Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers, said: “Understandably, the pandemic has had a direct impact on employee wellbeing and specifically on their mental and financial health. Tackling this, and providing the support needed, even as the majority of employees continue to work remotely, is an area of growing importance for organisations.”

The report also said the positive outcomes of the pandemic has been a greater focus on ‘building back better’ for those impacted by Covid-19 and the numerous months of lockdown. Close Brothers said more than half (57%) of employees either have made or plan to make changes to their financial preparedness – notably almost three quarters (73%) of 18-34 year olds and around two thirds (65%) of 35-44 year olds.

Furthermore, around a third (30%) of UK employees are now more confident in their ability to weather a fresh financial storm compared with when the pandemic hit, rising to 36% among those 18-34 years old.

Makings added: “Mental wellbeing has always been impacted by poor financial wellbeing but over the past 12 months this has touched more people and some have been particularly badly affected. Sectors have been hit at all levels and so it has never been so critical to ensure that everyone understands and is confident about the choices they have so they can make the absolute best decisions with the money they have.

“This is where employer can help. An employer-led financial wellbeing strategy with hyper-personalised guidance and insight, can play a key role in enhancing the mental and financial wellbeing of their employees.”

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Natalie Kenway

Natalie is global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist for 16 years. She won Editor of the Year at the Aviva Investors Sustainability Media Awards 2021, and was Winner...