Financial Stress in the Workplace   

Financial stress can be a significant contributor to reduced productivity in the workplace, and it continues to be a prevalent concern for many employees. Financial stress ranks as the number one source of stress for Canadians, according to the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA), and 43% of workers also reported that their work performance had suffered because of it.

How Employee Financial Stress Impacts Your Organization

When an employee’s performance suffers due to stress, your organization suffers as well, making it difficult for your business to reach its full potential.

Financial stress contributes to lower workplace performance in three main ways:

Increased absenteeism—Financially stressed employees miss twice the number of workdays per year, compared to their unstressed peers. The absence of these employees can lead to missed deadlines, goals and objectives or stretching other employees to cover for their absent co-workers. The impact of this may be magnified in smaller businesses, where people and resources could already be limited.

Lower productivity—Financially stressed employees are also less productive when they’re at work, on average spending more than three hours per week distracted by their finances. This distraction directly affects the productivity of the organization as a whole.

Increased health care costs—Though stress can seem like just a mental state, it can also lead to lack of sleep, and other physical ailments like heart disease, migraines, obesity and even accelerated ageing.

How You Can Help Reduce Employee’s Financial Stress

There are several ways that you as an employer can help reduce financial stress for your employees. According to the CPA, 78% of workers are interested in having financial education available in the workplace, like how to budget, debt control and saving for the future. If you offer an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), remind employees about it. Most of these programs include tools to support financial wellness. You can also directly help their employees save for the future by offering a workplace savings program where you encourage savings by matching contributions up to a certain amount.

By making these options available to them, you will:

· Help decrease financial stress and the related physical health issues

· Boost employee well-being

· Increase productivity and engagement

If you’re looking to offer a financial wellness program to support your team, we can help. As a member of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, you have access to a suite of products and services through the One Source Advantage program. Our dedicated team of experts can work with you to introduce a workplace savings program, or, if you already offer one, develop employee communication strategies to support it and help improve your employees’ financial literacy and wellness.

Learn more at

This post was written by Teresa Norris-Lue, National Vice President, Retirement and Pension Consulting at Cowan Insurance Group.