By Andy Roe
As a business owner, you know all too well that stress is a big part of your life. No matter how hard you try, there will be times when you are stressed out and worried about the future.
While stress is a natural part of owning a business, it is also something that could be costing your organization a lot of money and significantly slowing the productivity of your employees.
A recent study from State Street Global Advisors in Boston found that 61 percent of workers are moderately to severely stressed about their finances.
Another study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 81 percent of workers feel financial strain hurt productivity, and 39 percent spend at least three hours each week worrying about financial matters while they’re at work.
According to the American Psychological Association, stress is a big problem for most American employees. Here is an excerpt from a 2012 study:
“65 percent of Americans cited work as a top source of stress. Only 37 percent of Americans surveyed said they were doing an excellent or very good job managing stress.”
If that statistic is not enough to open your eyes, the American Psychological Association has something else for you to chew on: stress costs businesses in the United States approximately $300 billion per year.
The evidence is mounting that stress results in reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and high turnover rates. All things that have a negative impact on you and your business.
For the small business owner, this is all the more prevalent, as you see the ups and down of the company’s performance on a daily basis, and you’re often solely responsible for fixing the problems that arise. You also know your employees personally and can see the immediate impacts of their financial uncertainty.
This information isn’t meant to add more stress to your life. Instead, it is meant to show you that this could be having a negative impact on your company. By making a few changes, you can help reduce the personal level of stress your employees are facing, and save money.
Here are a few tips for reducing financial stress in the workplace:
- Start a 401(k) for your business and encourage employees to contribute. Much of the stress around finances may stem from long-term planning, or a lack thereof. Offering not only the option of a 401(k), but education to your employees on how it works should make them more comfortable that they are at least building a nest egg for the future. Right now, only 28 percent of small business owners offer a 401(k), according to a SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard survey.
- Provide financial education. The personal development of your employees is an important component of your employees’ professional growth. As a business owner, it’s likely you have financial people you work with – advisors, accountants. Ask them to come to your office for a lunch and share tips with your staff on budgeting, investing and taxes. This sends the message to your team that you care about their financial well-being, as well as giving them tools to improve their situation.
- Remind them of the company’s successes. It’s easy to get caught up in the risks and potential pitfalls your company is facing. However, it’s important not to dwell on these things with the people who work for you. You want to create an atmosphere of positivity, success and momentum, so they feel good about working there. Remind them of the company’s growth, profitability and client acquisition as often as you can, so they know they’re in a good place.
Obviously you can’t be held responsible for the personal financial health of every employee. But you can create an environment that lessens the impact of financial stress on their working lives. This will serve both your business and the people you employ.
Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those with1-10 employees. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.