Financial stress and its impact on mental health has seen a rise in absenteeism, poor work performance and a lowered concentration span at work, says a South African corporate healthcare consultancy.

Statistics from the World Federation for Mental Health show that on average 36 workdays are lost due to mental health issues and that more than 10% of the employed populations have taken time off work for depression. There has been a steady increase in the number of South African employees suffering from mental health problems over the past five years. And when financial difficulties and mental health problems are combined, you create a spiralling vicious circle where one compounds the other. Our workforce is stressed and depressed mainly due to job shortages, economic instability and inflation rates.

When people have debt which is causing them to worry, they don’t focus on work; they might be present but they are not productive. Poor work performance has a knock on effect on promotions and bonuses which further reduces earnings progression. With less than 50% of employees fully engaged while at work, businesses are not flourishing the way they should.

If you, as an employer, can help your employees overcome personal financial challenges, you will experience more success in your business. The signs of a financially stressed employee include; Inability to concentrate at work, low productivity, irregular attendance, taking out loans, salary increase requests, and general unhappiness.

How can you, as an employer, assist financially stressed employees? Encourage employee wellness, which includes Financial wellness. You can also provide them with tools and techniques to better manage their finances. can assist with effective financial wellness programs.

The main thing you need to remember is that you need to treat the symptoms as well as the cause of financial stress to ensure employees are happy in the workplace. At the end of the day, investing in your employees’ happiness will boost your business.