March 29, 2016
Work Absenteeism Tied to Money Stress
Most of us know how distracting and stressful it is when our credit card balance creeps up or there’s a gap between a bill’s due date and when our paycheck gets deposited.
But financial stress can also create serious problems at work like absenteeism, problems that can turn around and compound the financial problems.
More than one in four employees who said they deal with “financial stress” admit that it interferes with how well they do their jobs, says a new survey of 5,000-plus workers by the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson.
It also increases absenteeism. The study found that workers stressed about their finances are absent from work 3.5 days per year, on average – nearly double the absenteeism of people who are not stressed. And when the worriers are at work, they are “highly distracted” – this distraction can gobble up 12 additional days per year, interfering with how well they do their jobs, the survey found.
The workers expressed broader concerns than their unpaid bills, too, said Steve Nyce, a senior Willis Towers Watson economist. Many are very concerned about their long-term financial future and retirement.
Lower-paid employees, in particular, find it “really difficult to put money away when all of the other expenses [healthcare and tuition] are going on around us,” he said.
Employers often try to figure out how to improve their workers’ well-being or their productivity. But the workers might simply prefer a raise.