Over 8 million UK employees take productivity hit due to financial worries

  • 29% of the UK workforce — an estimated 8.2 million people1 — say financial worries from the cost-of-living crisis have negatively impacted their productivity at work this year
  • 31% expect financial concerns to negatively impact productivity in 2023
  • 40% of UK workers feel physically tired or have low energy from worrying about financial pressures
  • 32% say financial worries keep them awake at night and 25% feel depressed

  • New research from Censuswide2 commissioned by leading employee benefits provider Unum UK, finds the knock-on effect of financial pressures on the UK workforce have negatively impacted productivity for 29% of employees. This rises to 31% of employees who expect such concerns to reduce their productivity in 2023.

    The top three issues affecting productivity this year are financial worries 29%; work/life balance 23%; and mental health issues 22%.

    Financial worries are also impacting both physical and mental health, with 40% of employees saying they have low energy, 32% unable to sleep and 25% so worried about their finances they’re feeling depressed.

    Of the employees who said they were affected by financial pressures:
    • 26% will seek help with their stress
    • 20% expect to need to speak to a mental health professional for counselling
    • 19% will seek advice from their GP
    • 15% plan to take time off sick
    These stats are not good news for the already struggling NHS, which currently has a community mental health waiting list of 1.2 million3 and further highlights the need for access to digital health and wellbeing services. Unum’s mental health support, available through its award-winning app Help@hand*, offers sessions with trained mental healthcare professionals. There’s been an 88% rise in the number of these consultations compared to the same time last year.4

    Despite the pressure employees are clearly feeling; the research also revealed 35%, or almost 10 million workers, have not been provided with any cost-of-living support from their employer this year.

    Mark Till, CEO of Unum UK commented: “Our research captures some major red flags in the lack of support from businesses and the resulting impact on productivity, as well as physical and mental health. With only 15% of workers expecting their productivity to improve in 2023, employers need to be aware of the long-term implications of not helping employees during the current difficult economic climate. 

    High-quality employee benefits and support services are essential, but employees can’t utilise these unless they’re aware of them. Communication and embedding these benefits are critical, as well as enabling a culture where employees feel they can speak freely about concerns and understand where to go to access early intervention support.” 

    *Help@hand is a virtual, value-added benefit service which connects the employees of Unum customers to third party specialists who can help manage their health and wellbeing, and that of their family. Access to the service is facilitated by Unum at no cost to the Unum customer. Unum is not the provider of the service, but can withdraw or change the service at any time. The service is entirely separate from any insurance policy provided by Unum and is subject to the terms and conditions of the relevant third party specialists. There is no additional cost or increase in premium as a result of Unum making this benefit available.

    1Based on 28.3 million employed workers in the 3 months to August 2022, Office for National Statistics
    2Research conducted by Censuswide 30th September 2022 – 4th October 2022 amongst a nationally representative sample of 3,005 employed people
    4Oct 2021 = 395 vs Oct 2022 = 744 mental health consultations booked via Help@hand app


    About Unum UK

    Unum is a leading employee benefits provider offering financial protection through the workplace including: Group Income Protection, Life Insurance, Critical Illness, and Corporate Dental cover.

    We are committed to workplace wellbeing for both employees and employers. We have a wide range of tools designed to help businesses of all sizes create or enhance their employee wellbeing strategies, including our award-winning Help@hand app powered by Square Health, which offers employees fast, direct access to quality health and wellbeing support services, including remote GPs, mental health support and physiotherapy.

    Our Income Protection customers also have access to medical and vocational rehabilitation expertise designed to help people stay in work and return to work following illness and injury. Our Employee Assistance Program provided by LifeWorks, includes help and advice on a range of work/life issues.

    Our Critical Illness customers can access our Cancer Support Service, provided by Reframe, offering personalized support for employees with a cancer diagnosis.

    Unum is a values-driven, purpose-led organization, with an operating model centered on doing good for society and being there for people when they need us most.

    Being a socially responsible business is at the heart of our ‘We are Unum’ values and where we aim to excel. We’re focused on providing positive and effective contributions to the communities in which we live and work, and see helping our communities as a natural extension of the commitment we make to our customers every day.

    Our mission is to be the most inclusive, diverse and welcoming company in our market – creating a place where people aspire to work, and where everyone is able to contribute their best and succeed, whatever their identity or background.

    We are signatories of the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, Business in the Community Race at Work Charter and the Armed Forces Covenant, where we hold the Silver Employer Recognition Scheme Award. We are also a Disability Confident Leader, Stonewall Diversity Champion, and have been awarded the Gold Payroll Giving Quality Mark for our charitable initiatives.

    At the end of 2021, Unum protected 1.6 million people in the UK and paid claims of £366 million - representing £7 million a week in benefits to our customers - providing security and peace of mind to individuals and their families. 

    Our parent company, Unum Group provides a broad portfolio of financial protection benefits and services in the workplace through its Unum US, Unum UK, Unum Poland, and Colonial Life businesses. In 2021, Unum Group reported revenues of US$12 billion and paid US$8.2 billion in benefits.

    For more information, please visit www.unum.co.uk.

    Unum Limited is authorized by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered Office: Milton Court, Dorking, Surrey RH4 3LZ. Registered in England 983768. Unum Dental is a trading name of Unum Limited.

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    About Unum Group

    Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®. 

    Visit the Unum Group newsroom for more information, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.