In the fourth week of our Cost of Living campaign with NatWest, we focus on the mental and physical health of business owners and their workforce.
Changes in welfare can have an indirect impact from the increased costs of doing business and it is important to deal with them comprehensively.
Maintaining a happy and healthy workforce is responsible and ethical. If the well-being of your team can be improved, so can their productivity. Your employees may have similar concerns as yours regarding their increasing bills, so it is important for business owners to be aware of this.
According to Susan Galachan, senior counsel in labor law and human resources at NatWest Mentor, caring for your financial and emotional well-being can also have a positive effect on employee retention and hiring—something that many companies struggle with.
Invest in employee well-being
Companies have a duty to take care of their employees. Failure to make reasonable adjustments to a mentally struggling person may result not only in prolonged absence from work, but also in litigation and damage to the reputation of your business.
Investing in wellbeing is also beneficial to the overall productivity of your business, as employees demonstrate improved resilience, higher morale and higher engagement as a result.
However, it is critical that business owners and managers do not see luxury as a “nice” plus or minus.
Initiatives often fail because they stand alone and are isolated from daily business. Wellbeing practices must be integrated into organizational culture and leadership. Here are four tips that may help you take care of your workforce.
- Reassure your employees: Tell them they’ll continue to get steady work when you know it’s possible. Update it as you get new information regarding the impact of the crisis on your business.
- Talk to senior employees: Encourage executives to lead by example in creating a culture where discussing these issues is important. Give them the training and tools to provide meaningful support to employees. Be sure to review their duties outlined in your company’s welfare policy.
- Know your limitations: You don’t have all the answers, so it’s important to direct your teams to other forms of support and advice, whether through access to financial coaches, webinars, fact sheets, labeling, or counseling sessions. : Since the pandemic and the adoption of hybrid work models, your employees may have been accustomed to working remotely for at least some of the time. But personal contact helps build strong relationships and dissipate individual stress. Organize regular follow-ups and be sure to check in on all employees especially those working remotely.
Invest in your wellbeing
Financial stress can often lead to direct “survival stress”, activating the fear center in our brains and affecting an employer’s decision-making skills.
Specialists have described this severe paralyzing anxiety as “post-traumatic stress disorder”. Stress can lead to bad decisions, but financial PTSD can be much worse, resulting in the inability to make any decision at all, which can be even more detrimental to your business. If you are a business owner, it is important to address the cause of your stress and take the following steps to relieve it.
- Face your fear: it’s the only way to control it, and the constant hold on money matters is stressful and unhelpful.
- Start with something small: This might be as simple as reassessing your banking arrangements, consolidating loans and/or credit cards, or checking bank statements to get a clearer picture of expenses.
- Seek help from someone you can trust: If you are a small business owner, you may be able to consult your accountant, but if not, you can also hire a financial advisor or therapist.
- Find a “Money Friend”: Do you know someone who is similarly committed to improving their financial well-being? If so, consider pairing to share resources and keep both of you accountable for actions and goals.
- Accept what you can and cannot control: The high rate of inflation is not your fault. But where you can, take action to tighten spending, and see how you can change marketing strategies to better respond to current conditions.
Next week, we’ll look at how you perceive the risks and let you know some of the biggest scams to take advantage of small and medium businesses.
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