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Managing Financial Stress in your team – A guide for leaders

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Financial Stress is affecting work performance across all levels. The current cost-of-living crisis means the financial pressures on your employees are growing, whilst at the same time the finance of your organisation may well be under strain too.

The organisational cost of financial stress


A staggering 2.7 working hours per person per week are spent dealing with money worries. This has knock on effects for productivity and is likely to increase the risk of burnout and anxiety when combined with all the other sources of stress that contribute to overwhelm at work. The CIPD employee outlook survey found that, out of those experiencing stress, 64% took longer to complete tasks.

Cognitive focus

25% of employees say that their ability to do their job is being negatively affected by financial concerns. Collectively the effect of financial stress on employees is damaging productivity across whole teams with their ability to multi-task being affected. When we are under a lot of stress, activity is inhibited in the part of our brain responsible for planning, problem solving and memory.

Decision making

10% of employees are finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions as work due to financial stress. We’ve previously talked about the importance of effective decision making and how quick decisions can enhance careers and improve innovation.

Sick leave

Sick leave is seeing an increase with one extra absence day per year caused by financial worries. What’s more sleepless nights are increasing by nearly 15% and team members experiencing financial stress are 4 times more likely to have anxiety or depression.

Conflict and customer Satisfaction

Stress is creating conflict with 37% of people more likely to clash with others when their stress is elevated, and they are also less patient with customers as a result which is having negative consequences of relationships inside and outside of the business.


People are putting off more challenging work when they are stressed. When your team are under pressure from stress this stifles their creativity.

The trust effect

43% of people would not feel comfortable disclosing unmanageable stress to their manager as they felt they might not be trusted to do their work effectively after disclosing the information, however this means managers can’t help their employees as much, when they don’t have this visibility.

In Summary: The Impact of Stress at work

In summary the impact of stress can impact productivity at individual level but can also have a wider impact on company culture, productivity and engagement by effecting the mood of the whole team.

This means that leadership teams need to take financial wellbeing at work, and other sources of stress, seriously to reduce the negative impact on organisational goals and team performance.

Coping strategies for your team

In our financial stress blog for employees we explore ways for your teams to manage their financial stress and break the cycle through writing lists, using time limit problem solving and acceptance.

Here are some more ways you can help lead your team through times of financial stress.

How people managers can support their teams through financial stress

Managers, departmental heads and leadership teams play an important role in steering their people through times of stress. Here are some coping strategies to help your team navigate through times of financial stress.

Practice empathy

As a manager it’s important to recognise that life events. Recognising that life events and changes in personal circumstances can unexpectedly increase financial stress. This allows you to use compassionate leadership, use empathy and build relationships with your team.

Have an open-door policy

Being clear about the support available and having an open door policy to discussions around financial stress can help employees feel less shame and more confident in managing them.

Be sure to listen

Be careful not to assume you know what type of support your people need. Use employee engagement methods to establish what would help your people. Which brings us on to stress reduction methods.

Explore stress reduction methods

Be open to exploring options, within the capacity of the business, that may help reduce stress for employees and will therefore increasing productivity. For example:

  • Allowing pay advances - This may be something to consider around Christmas time or if employees pay for expenses and have to re-embersed.- consider having a company card that can be used.

  • Make people aware of options around their pension contributions and offer flexibility where possible.

  • Increase flexibility around working hours (even if this is just for a short, agreed period of time) to help save on commuting costs.

  • Make sure work events that expect employees to contribute are inclusive for all budgets.

  • Include financial wellbeing as a part of the agenda in returning to work meetings after long periods of leave.

  • Considering financial wellbeing as a part of any wellbeing check-ins that occur will help to normalise it as a topic that can be openly discussed.

  • Share information to break the stigma of financial concerns.

  • Consider workplace wellbeing sessions as part of team development.

Free Development Session - Managing Financial Stress Espresso

Our free Espresso session on Managing Financial Stress takes place on 18th October, exploring behaviours and thought cycles that impact our actions and teaching you techniques to help you and your team to take back control.

How D4S can support your journey

Develop your team’s inner strengths through workplace wellbeing sessions. At D4S we’re helping leaders to transform their team’s productivity. We’re also helping employees take control of their own wellbeing through coping mechanisms and building good habits that help them to build resilience and stay in control of their stress management.

Speak to us about our behaviour-led wellbeing programmes to explore options for your teams.

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