Categories
Financial Wellness

 5 Good Money Habits Your Team Needs To Start Doing Now

Is your team struggling with financial anxiety? The MindNation CareNow© Plan includes 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches to help ease their stress and worries. Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] now.  

When it comes to financial well-being, there is no better time to build good habits than today. With your guidance and help from MindNation WellBeing Coaches, your employees can commit to their money goals, budget better, and be happier, healthier, and more productive. Below are some healthy money habits they can start practicing:

  1. Track their finances regularly. Every month or every payday, remind your team to sit down and go over their cash flow. How much income came in and what are their expected expenses? Of the amount that they are able to save, how much will be allocated to the different funds?

“People tend to just go with the flow — ‘Oh, my expenses this month are high so I need to remember to spend less next month’ or ‘Wow, I was able to save a lot this month, I can spend more next month!’” explains financial coach Yani Moya. Yani is also the founder of Peridot Consulting, a financial consulting firm . “But this is a bad habit because money ends up controlling them, which can cause stress; a good habit is one where you control money.”

  1. Save before spending. “When people receive their salary, they spend it first on their needs and wants, and whatever is leftover is what they consider to be their savings,” Yani reveals. “But income is not the capacity to spend. So set aside money for savings first, then budget whatever is left for their different expenses,” she adds. 
  1. Set boundaries when giving money to family. It has become part of Filipino culture for an adult child to give a portion of their earnings to their parents as a way of repaying the years spent raising them. “There is nothing wrong with this if they are giving the money whole-heartedly,” Yani clairfies. “But if they are doing it because they feel obligated, this will lead to poor mental health. So remind them that if they must give, give only what they can.” 

Unpaid bills or outstanding loans are forms of negative money energy that contribute to stress, anxiety, and poor productivity.

Yani Moya, Personal Finance Coach
  1. Clear up negative money energy. Unpaid bills or outstanding loans are forms of negative money energy that contribute to stress, anxiety, and poor productivity. The only way to clear up negative money energy is to start paying them off, so help your employees make a plan to achieve this. “For example, this month’s focus will be on finishing off the remaining balance on Credit Card X; next month’s goal is to settle the loan they took out from Person A,” Yani explains. 
  1. Give back. If there is negative money energy, there is also good money energy. And when you give out good energy in the form of tithing and sharing, it will be returned to you, if not in the form of money then in terms of better opportunities, relationships, and even well-being.

“So just as much as your team member has to allocate money for their wants, they also need to build the habit of setting up a giving fund,” Yani advises. “The amount does not have to be big, it can be whatever they are comfortable with giving.”

By practicing these good money habits, your team will develop the skills and confidence needed to handle anything that comes to money. “How we are in one thing is how we are in everything,” Yani points out. “So if we want mental clarity, emotional peace, and good relationships, fixing your finances can be a big help.”

Categories
Mental Health 101

5 Myths And Misconceptions About Therapy Debunked

There is no shame in seeking help. MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now https://bit.ly/mn-chat  or [email protected]

No one bats an eye if you go to a doctor for a heart problem; but mention that you are seeing a psychologist for mental health concerns and people will judge, shame, or even criticize you. 

“People avoid therapy because of the stigma surrounding mental health,” explains MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo. “And because no one wants to talk about it, people just come up with their own ideas of what therapy is about.”

Myths and misconceptions about therapy can prevent those affected from getting potentially life-changing support. If you or a loved one is in distress and are considering professional help, below are five common myths about therapy to stop believing:

MYTH: “Going to therapy means I am crazy.”

FACT: “While there are people who go to therapy for serious mental issues, this does not mean that they are crazy, weak, or hopeless,” Maria stresses. “Rather, going to therapy is an indication that they are mature and have the strength to come out, ask for help, and do whatever is necessary to make themselves better.”

Additionally, you can go to therapy even if you don’t have a major mental disorder. “Majority of people who go to therapy just need help managing everyday problems,” Maria points out. “During this pandemic, for example, my clients are mostly those who want to deal with work stress, relationship problems, and adjustments to the new normal. Many others just want to improve their well-being, relationships, or self-esteem.”

MYTH:  “I need to divulge my deepest and darkest secrets in order to get better.”

FACT: “You and your therapist might have to explore these if they are directly related to your current problem,” Maria admits. “But do know that talking about them can help ease your emotional burden.” 

That being said, going deep and personal is not a requirement for treatment. “Therapy is a safe space. If there are things that you do not want to talk about just yet, we will not pressure you,” she assures. Once you are ready, rest assured that MindNation teletherapy sessions are guaranteed to be secure, and confidential. 

MYTH: Follow-up sessions are not needed.

FACT: Because most patients feel an improvement in their mood after the initial or second session with a therapist, they no longer return for additional sessions. But follow-up sessions are important because they reinforce the practices taught, ensuring that you do not end up repeating the negative thoughts or habits that caused you to seek help in the first place. “When you feel better, have a clearer headspace, and are no longer as sensitive or emotional as the start, then you will be in a better place to work on your triggers,” Maria explains

MYTH: Therapy is expensive.

FACT: If your company does not yet have an Employee Assistance Program that includes sessions with mental health professionals and you have to pay for therapy out of your own pocket, this article lists the reasons you should consider therapy as an investment and not an expense. 

[J]ust as you would not think twice about paying a doctor to treat physical health concerns, you should also regard psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches as experts in treating mental health concerns. 

Maria Teresa Empleo, MindNation psychologist


Also, just as you would not think twice about paying a doctor to treat physical health concerns, you should also regard psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches as experts in treating mental health concerns. 

MindNation psychologist, psychiatrist, and WellBeing Coach teletherapy sessions are available singly or in packages so you save more on follow-up sessions. Purchase at bit.ly/mindnation-shop or thru the Goodwork.ph app.

MYTH: “I’d rather talk to a friend, at least that’s for free.”
Friends are a great source of support during tough times, but because of your close relationship there will always be that fear of judgement. On the other hand, because psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches are strangers, there is no need to worry about bias and censure. More importantly, they are trained and licensed mental health professionals, so they can offer science-based solutions to help you cope with life issues and mental health challenges.

Are you ready to talk to a MindNation psychologist, psychiatrist, or WellBeing Coach? Read this article to find out how you can choose which therapist is right for you. IF you are curious to find out what goes on during the first therapy session, we give you the rundown here. Finally, here are some things you can do to make sure that you get your money and time’s worth during your therapy session.

Categories
Financial Wellness

The Emergency Fund: Help Your Team Build Theirs Even During A Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, many employees learned the hard way how important having an emergency fund was. Having money tucked away in case of job loss, reduced income, or other large and unexpected expenses can help ease stress and create a financial buffer to keep one afloat during times of need without having to rely on credit cards or taking out a loan (both of which they might have difficulty paying off in the end).

“An emergency fund is a form of savings account. You keep it in the bank and only spend it on dire situations,” advises financial consultant Nicole Suarez. “Only when you have met your target amount can you explore putting the excess in investments.”

If your team is experiencing financial stress or need help building better budgeting habits, partner with MindNation to avail of 24/7 teletherapy sessions with WellBeing Coaches who can help ease their anxieties. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] now.

How much is needed?
The general rule would be to set aside three to six months’ worth of living expenses,” Nicole suggests. But even then, she says that it also depends on one’s personal and financial circumstances. “Is the person a breadwinner? A parent? Or are they single and living with parents who provide for all their needs?” she enumerates. All these factors should be considered when computing how much money to set aside. For example, employees who are breadwinners will need to save even more, while those who are single can put small amounts into the emergency fund and just increase it over time. “The important thing is to build the habit,” she adds. 

How to build the fund during the pandemic

Replenishing an emergency fund on a reduced salary can be hard but it’s not impossible. Here are some suggestions you can offer your team members so that they can find extra money to set aside:

  1. Just start with what they can. Employees who are living paycheck to paycheck should not be expected to set aside an entire month’s salary right off the bat; it’s unrealistic and will set them up to fail. “Suggest that they set aside whatever they are comfortable with,” Nicole stresses. “When it comes to saving money, any amount will help.”
  2. Turn clutter into cash. “Look for things at home that they no longer need but can sell,” Nicole advises. These include pre-loved clothes, toys, and other household items. “Of course, they won’t be able to price them as high as they would want, but assure them that a small amount is better than nothing.”

“When it comes to saving money, any amount will help.”

Nicole Suarez, Financial consultant
  1. Cut down on expenses. “Remind them to be mindful of how much takeout they order in a month and to resist impulse buying during payday sales,” Nicole says. “Ask them to review their monthly subscriptions, like meal services or streaming services — is it possible to downgrade the subscription or cancel it entirely?”
  1. Look for other sources of income. “If your employee is particularly skilled at something, encourage them to turn it into a side business,” she suggests. This article by Forbes lists the reasons you should let your team moonlight: it will boost their financial health, give them an outlet for pursuing their passion, improve their creativity, and make them happier overall — all characteristics of a good employee.
    But to make sure that their side hustle does not interfere with their work in the company, clearly communicate your rules and boundaries during you regular one-on-one sessions; having an honest and open conversation will benefit you both. 
  2. Don’t go into debt. “An emergency fund is something that is built over time; because there is no pressure to come up with the money right away, it does not make sense to borrow money to fill it,” Nicole explains. 

During these uncertain times, an emergency fund can go a long way to boosting your team’s financial and mental health.

Categories
Self Help

5 Ways To Cultivate Mental Agility

Mental agility is all about taking in change and finding the best course of action to move forward despite undesirable circumstances. It also means successfully overcoming difficulties so you can achieve what you wat out of life.

How do you improve your mental agility and achieve a thriving state of well-being? By balancing the five different dimensions of our WellBeing Capital®:

Physical Wellbeing: This is ensuring that you have a safe place to live, enough to eat, adequate clothes and access to transportation. Other aspects of the physical capital includes having good physical and financial health.

Emotional Wellbeing: This is more or less who YOU are and what you feel. It includes your values, skills, knowledge, experience, education, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving abilities.

Mental Wellbeing: To be mentally well is to create authentic happiness in our lives and tune into our feelings.

Social Wellbeing: This refers to the connection and relationship that we have with others. When you feel a sense of belonging, you increase your mental health.

Cultural Wellbeing: This is all about the support you get from your community, your happiness in it, your workplace culture, and your country. It means that what you are doing at work is aligned to your reason for being.

Self-care to boost your WellBeing Capital®

To build your mental agility and overall well-being, you have to make sure all of the above dimensions are functioning to an extent. This is where self-care comes into play. We must make self-care a habit so that the next time we’re faced with stress in any aspect of our WellBeing, we have enough self-regard to step back and work on what’s missing.

I used to think of self care as something that I had to deserve. That I can only allow myself to rest and recuperate when I’m tired or burnt out. But when you’re already burnt out, a weekend or a day off isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Instead, make self-care a daily habit through the following ways:

  1. Keep your mind and body in check. Listen to what your body needs; if that’s extra time to breathe or a little stretch in the morning, do it. But don’t overdo it; always remember that rest is productive too.
  2. Limit your news intake. We don’t need that much information, all we need is to be informed well enough for our peace of mind.
  3. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Please do keep connected, and as much as possible CALL. Hearing someone else’s voice, especially someone we love, can give us instant calm and we need.
  4. Get some sun. Feeling locked up isn’t the best thing for our sanity, so only if you can and only if it’s safe, open the window and bring in that vitamin D.
  5. Meditate. Simple acts of breathing, grounding, and being aware of our surroundings can make us less anxious and bring us back to what we need to address. Prayer is one very practical way we can apply mindfulness to daily life.
  6. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for anything and everything good. Starting or ending your day with a grateful mindset will only set you up to see things in a better light.

Taking good care of all aspects of your life is paramount to achieving improved mental agility. If your physical, emotional, mental, social, and cultural dimensions support one another, it will increase the likelihood that you stay healthy and face uncertainties with more resilience.  The key here is to always have that unconditional self-regard: to understand that there should be no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ in taking care of ourselves. Now more than ever, we have to put utmost value on our well-being.

How’s your well-being today? Take our FREE WellBeing Quiz! It’s a simple True or False test that can be completed in just 2 minutes. Visit here to get started. 

Categories
Financial Wellness

The Financial Accountability Partner: Your Buddy For Better Financial Health

An accountability partner is a person who helps another person keep a commitment. You can have an accountability partner for the different areas of your life — someone who will hold you to your work deadlines, another person to remind you to do your exercises for the day, or even a loved one to remind you to set your boundaries or to unplug at the end of the work day. And if you are struggling in some areas of your financial life, having a financial accountability partner can be a big help. Specifically, they can:

  1. Help you set financial goals
  2. Brainstorm the steps you need to take in order to achieve those goals
  3. Make sure you stay on track

How to find the right financial accountability partner

“A financial accountability partner does not have to be a financial adviser or financial planner, it’s just a bonus if they are,” assures Enery Franklin Dy, a licensed financial adviser and founder of Financial Literacy PH, an online community that aims to spread financial literacy and where anyone can talk freely about savings, budgeting, insurance, and investments. “Friends, family members, or even team members can be good accountability partners if they are enthusiastic about money and investments and practice good money habits.” If your organization partners with MindNation, MindNation WellBeing Coaches are also available to help team members build better financial habits or have a better relationship with money.

Friends, family members, or even team members can be good accountability partners if they are enthusiastic about money and investments and practice good money habits

Enery Franklin Dy, Financial Adviser

That being sad, it’s also important that the person you choose to be your financial accountability partner posses the following traits:

  • Trustworthiness. “Money is a sensitive issue, and some matters like salaries should be kept confidential,” Enery reminds.
  • Honesty. “They should be able to give you constructive criticism and push you to achieve your goals,” he adds.
  • Diligent with record-keeping. This is important if you need help budgeting, although Enery admits this is not a deal-breaker since there are already many apps available to help you track your money’s movements. 

At the end of the day, what’s more important is you find someone who has the same financial goals as you, or who has faced similar financial struggles as you but emerged successful. 

  And if you absolutely cannot find anyone who fits the above bill, communities like Financial Literacy PH and other personal finance groups are available to anyone interested. 

How to work with an accountability partner
Enery says there are no set rules on how often or how long you should meet; it can be daily or weekly, as long as it is done regularly and there is ample time to go over progress and answer any questions that you may have. And even if you don’t have a goal due for completion, it’s still advisable to check-in on your partner so that you monitor your progress and build the habit. 

And speaking of building habits — remember that just like with eating healthy or setting boundaries, doing the work is your responsibility. At the end of the day, your success will depend on the efforts you exerted. The financial accountability partner’s job is to simply listen to your progress and provide helpful suggestions if they can. 


The MindNation CareNow Plan© includes teletherapy sessions with WellBeing Coaches (available 24/7) to help team members build better habits or advance in their careers. Email [email protected] to learn more about what WellBeing Coaches can do for your organization.

Categories
Financial Wellness

Mariel Bitanga: 5 Rules For Better Financial Health

Contrary to popular belief, good financial well-being is not achieved by simply having a lot of money in the bank. For Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance, a boutique financial planning firm committed to empowering Filipino women, having adequate savings is a good start but it’s also important to regard personal finance holistically. This means saving and spending your money properly, borrowing wisely, and setting clear financial goals. “Good financial health is all about balancing each of these pillars,” she advises. 

Mariel provides more specific tips below:

  1. Have a savings plan. Saving your money is good, but don’t fall into the trap of  becoming an over-saver, or someone who constantly puts away money — and just leaves them there. While over-saving is an admirable practice on the surface and is better than over-spending, it’s better to invest your savings in money market accounts or mutual funds so that the money grows in value over time. 

Another way to maximize your savings is to split them up into different accounts, each with its own purpose. “By opening multiple savings accounts, it becomes easier for you to identify financial goals and make sure you are on track to achieving them,” she says. 

  1. Stick to a budget. The basic rule of managing your expenses is to make sure you are not spending more than you earn. This does not mean, however, that  you should forego buying your ‘wants,’ be they make-up, fashion, toys, travel, etc. “Buying these are fine on occasion,” Mariel assures. “Just make sure you spend more on the things that are important to you and less on items that are not as important.”
  1. Borrow wisely. “It’s perfectly okay to have debt, but don’t take out a loan to buy frivolous things or because you are in competition with someone else’s standard of living,” Mariel advises. “If you must borrow money, do it to purchase things that will increase in value over time, like a house loan or to further your education.” 

“It’s perfectly okay to have debt, but don’t take out a loan to buy frivolous things or because you are in competition with someone else’s standard of living.”

Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance

Furthermore, don’t forget to scrutinize the terms of the loan carefully before finalizing the deal. “Read the fine print, because some companies charge a higher interest rate after a certain number of years,” Mariel says. “Also check if the monthly repayments fit your budget or if they will bleed you dry. Lastly, make sure that the person or institution that you are borrowing from is licensed and legitimate so that you do not get scammed.” 

  1. Plan for the future. “Setting financial goals does not have to be intricate,” Mariel assures. “You can plan for as short as six months to as long as five years, although I recommend that you review your plan every year or even every quarter so that you can adjust accordingly.” For those who are wary of making plans because of the pandemic, Mariel counters that today’s uncertain times make financial planning even more important. “The more you don’t know what’s going to happen, the more you should have a roadmap that shows you where you see your money going, how you can optimize it, or even how you can attack debt, so that in case the situation worsens you at least have something to guide you.”
  2. Talk about personal finance with as many people as possible. Exchange personal best practices with peers and family members, not just with a financial adviser or financial planner. And rest assured that you do not have to be a financial expert to broach the topic with others. “The concepts about personal finance — such as saving and spending — are all very basic, simple, and what many of us already know to a certain extent,” Mariel shares. “Conversations about financial health need to be normalized. The less the topic is taboo, the more people can help each other to make smarter decisions about money.”

MindNation WellBeing Coaches can help you build better money management habits so that you can save, spend, borrow, and plan your money wisely. Message https://bit.ly/mn-chat  so you can book a teletherapy session now.

Categories
How To

No Time Wasted: 5 Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Therapy Sessions

Congratulations! You’ve finally found a therapist that you feel safe and comfortable with, and you’ve come out of your first teletherapy session feeling supported and empowered. Now comes the challenging part — staying the course on your journey to better mental health.

According to MindNation Operations Head Jen Alonte, it’s important to return for follow-up therapy sessions so that your psychologist or WellBeing Coach can check on your progress. “Most mental health concerns are caused by long periods of unresolved problems or issues that cannot be ‘cured’ in just one session, especially if the concern is something serious like depression or anxiety,” she says. “And even if you ‘feel better’ after just one session, it does not hurt to have follow-up sessions to solidify whatever therapy was introduced in case a trigger occurs.”

“Most mental health concerns are caused by long periods of unresolved problems or issues that cannot be ‘cured’ in just one session,”

Jen Alonte, MindNation Operations Head

That being said, continuously showing up for therapy is a fairly major commitment in terms of time, emotional space, and finances. This is why it’s important that you  put in the time, energy, and effort into every session so that you do not waste valuable resources — both yours and your therapist’s. Jen shares some tips for ensuring that no money, time, or energies are wasted:

  1. Eliminate distractions. Keep your cellphone on silent, and make sure you are doing your teletherapy session somewhere calm and quiet. “Make sure there are no other people around who will vie for your attention,” Jen says. Lastly, don’t schedule your session right before or after a meeting so that your mind is not filled with distracting thoughts.
  2. Come prepared. “A day before your session, think about what you want to discuss with the therapist and write them down so that you don’t miss anything,” Jen suggests. Also, don’t forget to check if your Internet connection is stable and that your device’s camera and microphone are working so that you do not run into technical problems in the middle of the session.
  3. Be seen. Even though MindNation teletherapy sessions are also available through voice chat or sms chat, the best set-up would still be one where the therapist sees your face. “This is because psychologists can learn a lot from facial expressions and other non-verbal cues,” Jen explains.
  4. Be open. No need to be afraid or shy; psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches are trained professionals whose job is to listen without bias or judgement and offer the best kind of support. “Our psychologists mostly use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a form of treatment, so what you say will help them determine the right course of treatment for you,” Jen explains. “So if you hold back, the advice that they will give will also be limited.”
  5. Give feedback after the session. MindNation Care Coordinators send feedback forms to clients after they complete a session. “Be sure to fill in the form honestly. This is because by default, we will always assign you to the same therapist for follow-up sessions since they already know your background. But if you are not comfortable with the therapist for whatever reason, let us know right away so that we can assign you to someone else,” Jen assures. 

Getting the most out of therapy might be challenging at times, but if you are committed to taking care of your mental health and participate in therapy sessions properly, you can help yourself achieve better mind, better you.

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions via video call, voice call, or sms chat. Rest assured that all conversations will be kept secure and confidential. Book a session now through Facebook Messenger https://bit.ly/mn-chat or email [email protected]

Categories
Financial Wellness

Money Talks: 5 Ways To Normalize The Conversation About Financial Matters With Your Employees

In a previous post, we discussed how financial stress can affect an employee’s mental health and productivity at work. As a leader, one of the ways you can help your team members maintain good financial footing and achieve better well-being is to normalize talking about financial health. 

But because financial problems are extremely personal matters, they must be addressed carefully. According to a report by Canadian multinational insurance company and financial services provider Manulife, feelings of shame and embarrassment make it difficult for people to reveal money issues.

To remove the stigma facing financial conversations, Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance, a boutique financial planning firm committed to empowering Filipino women, shares some ways you can approach the topic with your team members without seeming too intrusive or judgmental.

  1. Make sure you are giving your employees the right wages and government benefits. “The first step to ensuring that your employees have good financial health is making sure they receive what is rightfully due to them,” Mariel reminds.
  2. Regularly hold company-wide activities that actively promote or raise awareness about financial well-being. “If you are holding mental health awareness activities, why not have a Financial Awareness Week or even a Financial Health Month?” Mariel asks. “If your Human Resources Department is not equipped to facilitate finance-related activities, you can opt to invite experts to come and give talks about personal finance or smart investments.” Sessions like these usually lead participants to comfortably discuss their learnings with their peers afterwards and break the stigma about financial health. MindNation conducts virtual trainings to help employees take charge of their personal finances and make smart money decisions. Sessions are facilitated by licensed financial planners and financial health advocates. To book this talk for your organization, email [email protected].
     
  3. Include the topic in performance reviews or regular one-on-ones. Just like how you should frequently check-in on your team member’s physical and mental health, it’s important to do a financial health check as well. “Push through the embarrassment and have a frank talk about wages and expected bonuses or salary increases. Knowing this information can even incentivize employees to perform better at work,” Mariel points out.

Just like how you should frequently check-in on your team member’s physical and mental health, it’s important to do a financial health check as well.

Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance


4. Have an open-door policy. “Make your employees feel that they can come to you anytime if they need advice or discuss anything related to money struggles,” shares Mariel. “This way they feel safe instead of being scared to bring up concerns about their salary or benefits.”

5. And when concerns do arise, be honest and transparent. In case an employee asks for something more than you can give, i.e. a salary increase or a promotion, Mariel advises that you stick to the facts and not let emotions get in the way. Instead of saying something like ‘We’re all affected by this pandemic, don’t ask for a raise,’ present to them the company rules or policies involving raises and promotions. “Has the employee done something to merit a salary increase?” Mariel says. “Make it transparent so that expectations are clear and you do not give false hope.”  

Now, if the said employee comes back to you with a list of all their achievements but the company is really in a tight financial spot, be honest. “Apologize, explain the situation, and graciously tell the employee that you will not take it against them if they decide to look for opportunities elsewhere,” Mariel suggests. This way, there are no hard feelings on both sides.

By normalizing the conversation about financial health, you encourage your employees to talk more openly about their financial needs, share ideas and best practices, and make them more compelled to work on their financial wellbeing. Download our free Achieving Financial Wellbeing toolkit https://bit.ly/MN_financialtoolkit to learn how else you can help your employees increase their financial health, meet their short-term and long-term financial goals, and balance today’s challenges with tomorrow’s needs.

Categories
Financial Wellness

10 Ways Financial Stress Impacts Employee Productivity

In a survey of more than 6,000 full-time employees in the Philippines, financial pressure was ranked as the second source of stress during the COVID-19 pandemic (the first one being fears of the COVID-19 virus).
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Organizations that fail to address financial stress are more likely to encounter poor work performance. This is because a team member who is overwhelmed by money worries will most likely experience a decline in physical and mental health and productivity, specifically:

  1. Physical ailments such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In countries without free healthcare, money worries may also cause a person to delay or skip seeing a doctor for fear of incurring additional expenses.
  2. Insomnia or sleep difficulties due to worrying about unpaid bills or loss of income.
  3. Weight gain or loss. A person may resort to overeating to cope with financial stress, or may even skip meals to save money.
  4. Depression. People who struggle with debt are three times more likely to feel down and hopeless, and struggle to concentrate or make decisions.
  5. Anxiety. Uncertainties about one’s financial situation may leave the person feeling vulnerable and distressed. Also, constantly worrying about unpaid bills or loss of income can trigger anxiety symptoms such as a pounding heartbeat, sweating, shaking, and even panic attacks.
  6. Relationship difficulties.  Money is often cited as the one of most common issues couples argue about. Left unchecked, financial stress can make one angry and irritable, cause a loss of interest in sex, and destroy the relationship if differences cannot be worked out in a constructive way.
  7. Social withdrawal. Financial stress can cause an individual to withdraw from friends, curtail their social life, and retreat into their shell — which will only aggravate stress.
  8. Unhealthy coping methods. Money stress can lead to drinking too much, abusing prescription drugs, taking illegal drugs, gambling, overeating, or suicidal ideations and self-harm. 
  9. Increase in absenteeism. Absenteeism is defined as the practice of regularly staying away from work without good reason. According to the 2020 Financial Stress Survey conducted by John Hancock, a U.S-based insurance company, the average number of work days missed due to financial stress more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. 
  10. Reduced productivity. This is because even if employees are not missing work, they are bringing the worry to work, which has an impact on productivity and related cost to employers. Nearly 6 in 10 workers say they worry about personal finances at least once a week at work, and in terms of lost productivity, the John Hancock survey said that the amount of time spent brooding over personal finances at work equates to over 47 hours per year (equivalent to six working days) .

“The average number of work days missed due to financial stress more than doubled from 2019 to 2020.” 

John Hancock 2020 Financial Stress Survey



Additionally, there is a cyclical link between financial stress and mental health problems:

  • The decline in mental health makes it even harder to manage money because the person may find it harder to concentrate or lack the energy at work to tackle a mounting pile of bills. Or they may lose income by taking time off work due to anxiety or depression.
  • These difficulties managing money lead to more financial problems and worsening mental health problems.

When employees receive help and support for their financial stress, they become more focused at work and experience improved overall well-being. Download our free Achieving Financial Wellbeing toolkit https://bit.ly/MN_financialtoolkit to learn how you can help your employees increase their financial health, meet their short-term and long-term financial goals, and balance today’s challenges with tomorrow’s needs. 

Categories
Employee Wellness

No Health Without Mental Health: 5 Key Takeaways the IBPAP CEO Forum

Every month, members of the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) take turns hosting a CEO Forum to tackle issues relevant to the sector.

For this October — which also happens to be World Mental Health Month — Transcom Worldwide Philippines took centerstage and invited their mental health and well-being partner MindNation to join them in a discussion about “Brains and Body: Mental Health and Overall Wellness in Challenging Times.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that companies need to accelerate the conversation about mental health in the workplace,” says Mark Lyndsell, Transcom CEO for the Global English Region, in his opening remarks. “Many employees are struggling with feelings of isolation, despair, loneliness, and loss or lack of control.” 

MindNation co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Kana Takahashi agrees. “Mental health concerns are becoming more alarming because of the pandemic and it’s something that companies should really look into.”

Here are other key insights that were shared by Mark and Kana at the CEO Forum: 

  1. Mental health concerns in the workplace have financial repercussions. “Research by the World Health Organization and MindNation showed that 40% of employees are struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic,” reports Kana. “These mental health struggles have led to an increase in absenteeism, presenteeism, and staff turnover. All these productivity losses can cost companies as much as USD 400 billion dollars a year in revenue.”
  1. For change to happen, well-being needs to be holistically addressed. While some companies or mental health support groups offer teletherapy sessions or virtual training as a form of mental health support, Kana says that just relying on these will not yield meaningful results for the organization. “If you want the best for your company and employees, you need to offer more,” she points out. “Focus on your employees’ journey, on the company’s culture, and on the person’s overall well-being.”

This can be achieved by going back to the basics. “Create a mental health policy in the workplace that provides mental health leaves, flexible working hours, clauses for diverse groups, benefits, and other important protocols,” Kana enumerates. “Next is to make sure that basic support is there, such as virtual learning sessions and sessions with mental health professionals. Provide Critical Incident Support for emergencies. And finally, create a program for team members that encompasses the intersectionality of a person’s well-being — which means covering their physical, emotional, social, and cultural wellness, as well as financial well-being.”

  1. Change also needs to come from the top. “As leaders, we set the tone for the culture of the organization,” Mark explains. “In 2017, I embarked on a transformation within my organization to openly promote and hire folks from outside who actually met a specific EQ (emotional quotient) bar. And as a result, over time,  we were able to build a far more mature and empathetic leadership group that continues to provide dividends to the bottomline.”

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“If companies want to successfully address mental health at work, they need to make sure that their managers and leaders are equipped with the proper skills and training to handle employees with mental health struggles, such as empathic listening, handling difficult conversations, and even mental health first aid,” Kana shares. “Employees need to feel that the company and the people they work with are safe spaces.” 

  1. A company that invests in its team’s wellbeing reaps benefits. “Addressing mental health in the workplace has positive business ramifications, especially when it comes to attraction and retention of talent,” Mark stresses. “Our numbers speak for themselves; our Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) has continued to progress consistently through  the pandemic.”

The eNPS is a company’s way of measuring how employees are likely to promote the company to other people because of their positive experience. “An eNPS of 20 to 50 is considered healthy. Anything above 50 is very good to outstanding,” explains Transcom Asia Director of Employee Engagement And Communication Aldrin Carlos. “Transcom Philippines’ average eNPS in 2021 is 57.9; our score this third quarter was 62.1 versus the global score of 54.”

“As leaders we are wired to get results and to always look at the numbers, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Kana says. “But our people are the ones driving those results and numbers; if they are stressed and unhappy, it will take a toll on our business. When you invest in your employees, you also invest in the future of your company.”

  1. There is no health without mental health. “When I first came to the Philippines 14 years ago, the conversation at work was all about physical health — how do we make sure our  people have a healthy diet, how can we get them to stop smoking, etc?” Mark relates. “But given what we are facing now, I believe that mental health is just as important, if not more important, than physical health. In the same way that many of us exercise our physical self three to four times a week to avoid serious illness, exercise or support for our mental self also needs to become the norm.” 

“As employers, we need to transcend the traditional approach of treating mental health concerns to something more innovative and proactive,” Kana says. “The more you understand your people through empathetic leadership and policies, the more you will be able to provide the right kind of support.”

MindNation uses a data-based approach to create proactive, customized, holistic health programs for your employees. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit http://www.themindnation.com now!