Prescribing a solution to financial worries?
“People’s finances and health are connected: debt, money worries and financial insecurity can have a profound effect on our physical and mental health.”
So said Kieron Boyle, the Chief Executive of Urban Health last week as they helped launched a new “Social Prescribing” initiative to direct people on low incomes in two London boroughs towards support for their financial and debt problems.
The new initiative builds on the intrinsic link that often exists between mental, physical, and financial health. For the reality is that a problem with any one of these three conditions can easily lead to greater issues with the other two. So the aim of Urban Health is simply to encourage local GPs to consider the impact of poor finances as part of their remit, and then even go on to “prescribe” free financial advice and guidance to their patients too.
It remains to be seen if the trial (which will run until September next year) will be a success, and if it is then similar schemes might well be introduced in other low-income urban areas across the country in the years ahead. But regardless of the outcomes, this worthy initiative is yet another useful reminder to employers of the need to support their workers in the area of Financial Wellbeing.
A new significance?
And right now – at what is (hopefully) the tail-end of a year of massive economic disruption in the United Kingdom – this matter assumes a new significance for employees and employers alike.
Our article in December 2020 outlined how the financial impact of the last year had varied massively for individuals and families, and looked at the support that employers could, and perhaps should, consider providing to their workers who might be struggling in these very difficult times.
And this short animation from our website outlines some of the key reasons why offering such support is very much in the employer’s interests too.
Time to take action?
The reality is that financially stressed employees may be less productive – and possibly even make more mistakes – as a direct result of the pressures of coping with the constant and all-consuming effects of existing with little money. This is bad news for the employee and his/her family of course, but equally bad news for their employer too given the very real need for every organisation to return to full productivity in the months and years ahead.
So if you haven’t recently considered the range of Financial Wellbeing support available to employees, then it should certainly be on the HR agenda as the nation continues along the roadmap to economic normality.
For more information on any of the above topics, please speak to your usual Howden Consultant in the first instance, or visit our website for other contact options. For the latest details on COVID-19 & Employee Benefits provision please visit our coronavirus hub.
Steve is Head of Benefits Strategy, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, and is an award-winning thought leader on Pensions, Employee Benefits, and Human Resources issues. He is occasionally accused of making Employee Benefits interesting.
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