Money worries cost of living crisis

Over 8 million UK employees take productivity hit due to financial worries

  • 29% of the UK workforce — an estimated 8.2 million people1 — say financial worries from the cost-of-living crisis have negatively impacted their productivity at work this year
  • 31% expect financial concerns to negatively impact productivity in 2023
  • 40% of UK workers feel physically tired or have low energy from worrying about financial pressures
  • 32% say financial worries keep them awake at night and 25% feel depressed

New research from Censuswide2 commissioned by leading employee benefits provider Unum UK, finds the knock-on effect of financial pressures on the UK workforce have negatively impacted productivity for 29% of employees. This rises to 31% of employees who expect such concerns to reduce their productivity in 2023.

The top three issues affecting productivity this year are financial worries 29%; work/life balance 23%; and mental health issues 22%.

Financial worries are also impacting both physical and mental health, with 40% of employees saying they have low energy, 32% unable to sleep and 25% so worried about their finances they’re feeling depressed.

Of the employees who said they were affected by financial pressures:

  • 26% will seek help with their stress
  • 20% expect to need to speak to a mental health professional for counselling
  • 19% will seek advice from their GP
  • 15% plan to take time off sick.

These stats are not good news for the already struggling NHS, which currently has a community mental health waiting list of 1.2 million  and further highlights the need for access to digital health and wellbeing services. Unum’s mental health support, available through its award-winning app Help@hand*, offers sessions with trained mental healthcare professionals. There’s been an 88% rise in the number of these consultations compared to the same time last year. 

Despite the pressure employees are clearly feeling; the research also revealed 35%, or almost 10 million workers, have not been provided with any cost-of-living support from their employer this year.

Mark Till, CEO of Unum UK commented:

"Our research captures some major red flags in the lack of support from businesses and the resulting impact on productivity, as well as physical and mental health. With only 15% of workers expecting their productivity to improve in 2023, employers need to be aware of the long-term implications of not helping employees during the current difficult economic climate. 

High-quality employee benefits and support services are essential, but employees can’t utilise these unless they’re aware of them. Communication and embedding these benefits are critical, as well as enabling a culture where employees feel they can speak freely about concerns and understand where to go to access early intervention support.” 

More information

*Help@hand is a virtual, value-added benefit service which connects the employees of Unum customers to third party specialists who can help manage their health and wellbeing, and that of their family. Access to the service is facilitated by Unum at no cost to the Unum customer. Unum is not the provider of the service, but can withdraw or change the service at any time. The service is entirely separate from any insurance policy provided by Unum and is subject to the terms and conditions of the relevant third party specialists. There is no additional cost or increase in premium as a result of Unum making this benefit available.

1 Based on 28.3 million employed workers in the 3 months to August 2022, Office for National Statistics
2 Research conducted by Censuswide 30th September 2022 – 4th October 2022 amongst a nationally representative sample of 3,005 employed people
4 Oct 2021 = 395 vs Oct 2022 = 744 mental health consultations booked via Help@hand app

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