How personal issues such as debt can affect your employees

Despite their best efforts to keep their personal issues and their working life separate, from time to time your employees may find that things at home can have an impact on their work. One of the most common outside influences that can have an impact is debt.

Debt is something that everyone may find themselves facing during their lives, and it can be a difficult thing to rectify, however with specialist debt help there is a way to make things better. We have dedicated this particular blog to how these personal issues, particularly debt, can have an impact on employee performance.

Personal debt in the UK

In the UK, it seems that personal debt is a rising issue, and one that most of us will have experience of at one point in our lives. Research carried out by The Money Charity in the UK shows that the average amount of debt per household (mortgages included) is on average £55,982. When you take away the mortgage, which of course is the most substantial amount owed, then you will see that the amount is still around the £7,118 mark for each household and this is something that is always rising.

For some, personal debt is something that is easy to manage and causes little to no feelings of stress for them on a daily basis. On the other hand, for some, it can be a source of constant worry, anxiety and concern. This is not only going to have an impact on  how they feel at home, but it can also cause problems at work too.

How debt can affect day to day work performance

With debt on the rise, and the likelihood that this could be a source of concern for your employees, there is a good chance that at some point debt may have an impact on their working day. There are a variety of ways that this can manifest itself.

An increase in phone calls

If the employee has creditors chasing them for payment, then chances are that these calls are going to be made during working hours. Not only may this mean that they are taken away from their desk to speak to them, but when they return, or if they ignore the calls, they are going to be a little distracted and not quite as focused on the task in hand.

A likelihood that they may take on another job alongside their current employment

Someone who has money concerns is likely to want to find others ways to raise funds. This could be by working overtime in their current employment. However, if this isn’t an option then they may look for extra work outside of their main employer. Whilst there is nothing to stop them doing this, if they are already working full time, then having this extra work is likely to make them tired and not able to give 100% to their current and full time role.

Lack of sleep

Being kept awake at night worrying about money is something that often happens for those in debt. If you have work the next day then this is going to have an impact on your focus, your motivation and of course your mood too. All things that can have a negative influence over your work, as well as how you interact with your colleagues too. All things that employers will want to avoid.

Poor attendance

Lack of sleep and anxiety or stress about debt is all going to catch up with the employee at some point. This may mean that they end up taking time off work ill. A high level of absence in a workplace is never a good thing, this will not only affect the employees work. But also will have a knock on effect for other staff in the team. This can lead to feelings of resentment, as well as a lack of team morale.

How you can help

Whilst it may seem bleak, particularly for the employee, the thing about debt is that it is something that you can get yourself out of and recover from. As an employer, you may think that it is not your place to become involved in debt matters, however, you have a duty to care for your staff.

There are a variety of ways that you can try to help them with their persona debt management concerns.

One of the simplest is to educate your staff about financial aspects of their life. This could be in the form of workshops or perhaps leaflets or even email newsletters. All of which teach them the right way to approach any debt issues that they may have.

Another way is to set up employee assistance programmes and ensure that debt advice is a part of this. This will mean that you need to find a specialist debt service that will be able to advise and guide any employees that call it. It will prove incredibly valuable as a way to help them cope with, and move themselves out of debt.

Finally, it is important that you, or your HR team are approachable. Sometimes a staff member is just going to need someone to talk to. If they don’t have that in the workplace then this could quickly have an impact on the way that they work. The person they speak to doesn’t need to be an expert in debt advice. They simply need to be someone who will listen and ensure that the employee feels supported through their issues.

Personal debt doesn’t always have to be a problem, particularly in the workplace. However, if, as an employer, you find it is, then it is important that you have some methods put in place to rectify it and ensure that your employees can start to live their normal life again.

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