The best of financial wellbeing in 2020
2020 was a year like no other for many organisations and their employees. Being at home more, seeing family, friends and colleagues less and remote working, were just a few. Many also faced financial hardship and significant financial challenges which resulted in living very different lives to what they were used too. But even though there were many negative aspects to 2020, there were some positives as well.
With working conditions changing for a lot of businesses and Covid-19 having such an impact on the finances of the nation, it gave many employers the opportunity to look at how they can better support their employees financially.
To help shine a light on what good came from such an unprecedented year, here are what we think were the best financial wellbeing bits of 2020.
A reason to assess our finances
With some employees facing the prospect of them or a family member having reduced income throughout the pandemic, it gave many individuals a reason to take a good look at their current finances. With many forced to cut back on luxuries, some people realised just how much money they were unnecessarily spending. For example, old contracts which were still being paid via direct debit, TV subscriptions they were never using or even the daily coffee they were getting on the school run or commute. Taking this opportunity to really assess where their money was going, has led to better financial habits for many.
Mental health and financial wellbeing
For many years now, the links between mental health and financial wellbeing have been well documented; from decreased moral, lack of productivity and increased absenteeism. But the signs can sometimes be hard to spot and 2020 added a whole new dimension to this. It can be hard to tell if someone is struggling financially, even when they are stood right in front of you, so when employees are working from home the challenge became even greater for employers. Looking for new ways to ensure their employees felt supported, some introduced regular video calling and team catch ups, online resources, videos and more in a bid to help improve the mental and financial wellbeing of their employees. So, no matter where employees are working in 2021, the effort employers made to reach out to employees about financial wellbeing in 2020, should definitely continue.
A lot of us found we had a bit more time on our hands in 2020. For some employees it has given them the opportunity to spend more time at home and improve their work-life balance. Others realised what was most important to them and how they can shape their lives going forward. Because of this, many employees started looking at their short, medium and long term financial goals. As financial goals are incredibly important to maintaining good financial wellbeing, this had a real impact on many employees’ lives.
Savings and paying off debt
With employees being forced to stay inside during lockdowns, some found they actually ended up gaining money each month. From freeing up their commuting spend, gym memberships, work lunches or just an unplanned trip to the shops, it all began to add up. Because of this, employees managed to pay off or reduce outstanding debt and put the money towards their savings goals. When life resumes to normal, whatever that may look like, employers could use this opportunity to encourage employees to stick to these new saving habits and improve their financial health long term.
The (bigger) shift to online working
Many organisations already had remote working as an option for employees. But usually it was a choice. With the majority of employees spending minimal time in the office and working from home during 2020, it forced employers to look at other ways to communicate with their employees. Offering online webinars proved a popular way for employers to ensure employees were getting the financial wellbeing support they needed. Online support was also popular with employees, as it gave them the opportunity to attend webinars relevant to them, some anonymously and even on catch up at a time that suited them. Again, this is probably something for employers to continue in the future.
As we cautiously enter 2021, it feels like not much has changed with another lockdown now taking place. But what we can take from 2020 is that employers are better equipped to ensure financial wellbeing support is easily accessible by all employees and at a time when they are likely to need it the most.
If you are also interested in an online solution, find out more about our new Wellbeing Hub.
Secondsight is a trading name of Foster Denovo Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Information correct as of 14/01/2021