by Sylvia Walker, author of SmartWoman
A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body. If not more so! October has been declared national mental health awareness month in South Africa, and it is virtually impossible to talk about mental health without talking about money. There is often a very close link between financial stress and poor mental health.
As a business owner, this can have dire consequences for your business - financial stress can lead to a higher rate of absenteeism, a lower concentration span at work, and generally poor performance, all of which has a negative impact on your bottom line!
Some interesting facts and figures:
- Seven out of ten middle class South Africans have financial stress (SANLAM Benchmark Survey 2017)
- As many as three out of ten people in the workforce have symptoms of depression (SADAG).Amongst management it is one in three.
- Stress is fuelled by rising living costs, debt in the form of car payments, credit cards and personal loans and an inability to save for the future or be financially prepared for an unexpected event.
- Poor mental health impact negatively on your ability to manage your money, in turn causing more stress as your prospects for promotion and salary increases are negatively affected.
- There is a significant spoke in the numbers of people enquiring about debt counseling (Debt Busters)
- Nearly two million South Africans rely on payday loans to get through the month (Consumer Credit Market Report)
What to look out for – possible tell-tale signs of financial stress:
- Increase in garnishee orders or requests for employment declaration forms which may be needed to apply for debt.
- Increase in sick leave due to financial stress or other irregular absences from work where an employee might need to take time off due to a financial crisis.
- Increase in preventable medical issues simply because employees do not have the money to go and see a doctor in the early stages of illness.
- Constant request for a salary review or increase where financial stress forces employees to first look at their employer to pay them more so they can cope.
- Lack of focus, irritability and poor judgment at work, impacting negatively on performance.
- A visible decrease in their performance with a resulting loss in productivity, simply because their focus is elsewhere.
- Increased grievances or complaints in the working environment, possibly negatively impacting on relationships with colleagues.
- Greater staff turnover as financially stressed employees are forced to look for better paid employment elsewhere. This takes a huge toll on employers as it is costly to recruit and train new staff all the time.
- Employees taking on a second job in the evenings or weekends (with or without the employer’s blessing), leading to overworked, exhausted employees whose performance suffers.
Employee financial stress kills productivity. And that impacts on your bottom line. No doubt about it.
While many people believe the answer to financial stress is to earn more money, this is the furthest from the truth. As an employer you should play a pivotal role in ensuring your employees financial health. By providing them with unbiased, objective financial education, they will be empowered to make responsible decisions around their money, get rid of debt, protect themselves against financial crisis, and save for the future. All of which will lead to financial peace of mind, resulting in an employee that is happier, content and able to concentrate on their work, giving their best, and being entirely focused. You will see the difference in your bottom line!
MAKE MONEY MATTER is a five hour workshop that enlightens and empowers, allowing people to take control of their money and their financial security. For more information go to http://sylviawalker.co.za/speaking/make-money-matter/
Sylvia Walker is highly skilled and experienced in the financial services industry, having spent a large part of her career as a marketing manager for a blue-chip company. During this time, she worked closely with the media, conducting hundreds of presentations, doing radio and TV interviews and writing many articles for publications such as O, the Oprah magazine, Good Housekeeping / Goeie Huishouding, Sarie, The Mercury, Plus 50 and many others. She left the corporate world at the end of 2014 to pursue her interests further afield. She is also a published author. She contributed chapters on financial planning in Mary Ann Shearer’s Take Control the Natural Way and Nadia Bilchik and Lori Milner’s Own Your Space. She authored Dealing in Death – Ellen Pakkies and a Community’s Struggle with Tik and co-authored Steeped in Blood, the memoirs of Dr David Klatzow, which was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Award in 2011. She also co-authored and published Reflections for Old Mutual in 2013. Sylvia is currently a financial planner, writes articles, and conducts workshops on various aspects of financial literacy and planning. She is also the resident financial guru on the Cape Talk Early Breakfast Show, and is on air every Friday morning. Her latest book, SmartWoman, has just been published, and is a culmination of many years of experience in advising women on how to gain financial freedom and grow their wealth. SylviaWalker.co.za
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