Financial worry is one of the knock-on effects of Covid. From our work advising on company pensions and benefits, here are some tips to help you insulate your employees.
2020 has seen our workplaces turned upside down. A year ago, employers were thinking about pool tables and sofas to support their employees’ happiness.
Today, the couch has become the workplace, and it’s probably time to give the pool table back as there’s no-one there to play.
Truth is, your employees have more serious things on their minds. They are concerned about the way their workplaces are now operating with Covid restrictions, about their children going back to school and about contracting Covid in the first place.
Foremost in many employees’ minds is their financial stability. In the UK, for example, it’s reported more than half the adult population worry about money once a week.
From government subsidies to pay cuts and changes in benefits, it’s no wonder employees are struggling to keep up. Here are three ways in which employers can support their people during this difficult time.
1. Make it practical
Almost everyone in Ireland has experienced a change in their personal finances this year. Whether it’s new lines in their paycheck under the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme and its predecessors, the impact of markets on pension schemes, or even increased savings due to lockdown, your team’s personal finances now look very different.
Employers have a unique opportunity to help staff navigate these changes. Taking the time to do so will help bring people with you, and create understanding if further changes become necessary in the months to come.
The good news is that much of this can be supplied at little or no cost if you have a good company pension and benefits advisor.
If you’ve not heard from them in a while, it’s time to ask a few questions. How are they supporting your remote team with information and advice?
How are they supporting you as a business owner, particularly as tax deadlines approach?
Your company pension advisor should be reducing the burden on your finance and HR people. Can your team book a one-to-one with them online? Is there a website where they can see the company benefits, their pension wealth, and find out more?
2. Mental health and money
Employers need to offer psychological support as well as physical protection. Mental health was already rising up the agenda: lockdown just accelerated the trend.
In the old workplace – that is, just six months ago – a lot of this happened naturally at the water cooler. Those random encounters kept us close to our colleagues, and helped keep spirits up.
Now, employers need to be more deliberate in having these discussions, and giving their remote teams the information and support they need to perform at their best.
For a great example of this in practice, take a look at the Mind Yourself Now initiative from Dublin-based venture capital house Broadlake. Covering financial, and also physical and mental topics, it confronted the new reality head-on, and connected people in Broadlake’s portfolio companies at a time they needed it most.
3. Financial wellbeing is financial awareness
The wider world of personal finance and tax has altered a lot lately too. Smart employers can play a role in helping their staff take advantage of the changes.
Whether it’s the enhanced Cycle to Work scheme, the ‘stay and spend’ staycation initiative, or the more generous Help to Buy incentive, there is good news to share to help your people take advantage of the changes.
Lockdown forced us all to take life a bit more seriously. Supporting employees’ financial health and awareness can lighten the burden on your team and your business.
This article originally appeared in the Sunday Business Post on 27 September. You can read the original article here.