It’s natural for a lot of people to worry about their general well-being during these times, especially their mental and physical health as well as their finances. Employers also play a big part.
MetLife Australia looked into the health and happiness of its employees and found big differences between those who feel supported by their bosses and those who don’t.
MetLife paid for three studies in 2020: the COVID-19 research in March and May, and the 2020 Employee Benefit Trends Study (EBTS) in September. The results showed that Australian workers who had a positive employer response to COVID-19 reported better health and wellbeing than workers who had a negative employer response to the pandemic.
Four out of ten workers polled for MetLife’s 2020 EBTS study said that their companies don’t offer any programs or benefits that help them stay healthy or happy. 28% of workers who get some benefits or programs say their boss could do more, 28% say their boss is doing enough, and only 4% say their boss goes above and beyond what is expected of them.
What can companies do to make things better? MetLife’s 2020 EBTS has a model of holistic health that can help companies create and run programs that focus on four important aspects of an employee’s health:
- Health of the body
- Health and mental
- Health in terms of money and relationships
When asked to rate how important these factors of well-being were, employers and employees gave slightly different answers. Even though it’s good that 70% of employers put mental health first when it comes to their employees, the biggest worry for all employees is their financial health (27%). In fact, 30% of employees who also said they had poor mental health said that money problems were the main cause of their stress.
One person who answered the poll for MetLife’s EBTS 2020 report said, “Finances are probably the forerunner for everything.” “That’s life…” Almost all of us worry every day. Are we taking care of our kids and our spouse okay?”
Making sure long-term financial health
One important thing you can do to lower your financial stress and overall improve your financial health is to put some of your normal income into insurance now to protect yourself from future financial problems.
Why should you get life insurance? For example, you should get life insurance for total and permanent disability and income protection so that if something happens, your family and you will be able to pay your mortgage and other bills.
Long-term financial security can also improve your daily happiness: the MetLife pre-COVID-19 2019 Employee Benefits Trends Study found that people whose financial goals are on track are happier (76% say they are happy) than those who aren’t on track (52% say they are unhappy), and they are also happier with their job (72% say they are satisfied vs. 50% who are unhappy).
Benefits for employees protect your finances
According to MetLife’s 2020 Employee Benefit Trends Study, some people already save and insure a portion of their salary. However, workers who receive a variety of benefits from their employers say they feel safer about their finances.
That feeling of safety goes beyond making a good salary. When workers were asked what programs they would like their boss to offer to help them deal with stress and feel better, seven of the top ten were directly linked to worries about money:
More paid time off (#2); extra contributions to their superannuation from their employer on top of the required contributions (#4); Income Protection Insurance (#6); Paid family/caregiver leave (#7); access to financial planning, education workshops, and tools for financial wellness (#8); help in an emergency (#9); life insurance (#10).
The other top 10 things that had to do with health and wellness were mental health programs (#5), flexible work arrangements (#1), and the right to work from home (#3).
MetLife’s research shows that employees are more likely to think that their employer programs help their mental and financial health if they know exactly what programs are offered. Plus, they’re more likely to say they feel less stressed, more involved, more valued, more loyal, and more valuable.
But the study also shows that some workers aren’t even aware of the tools their companies offer. And even if they do know about some programs, they don’t see how they can help them.
The 2020 EBTS showed that there was a big difference in how workers described themselves as “financially healthy” based on whether they said they had life insurance, were offered benefits to help their health, and knew more about those benefits:
39% of people who say they have life insurance or insurance at all rate their financial health, compared to 32% of people who don’t have insurance; 42% of employees who are offered benefits to help or improve their health rate their financial health, compared to 29% of employees who aren’t offered benefits; 53% of employees who fully understand the benefits they are offered rate their financial health, compared to 32% who have a reasonable.
The most important thing is to get educated about these perks. Learn what they are, how to get them, and then how to make the most of them when you need them.
Also Read: Best Life Insurance Policy 2024
An encouraging fact is that just over half of all Australians are doing something about their life insurance. This could be checking or reviewing their coverage or doing research online, according to the 2020 EBTS. Younger Australians are especially involved in this.
MetLife Australia is working to teach all Australians about the benefits of life insurance and make them more aware of the insurance they have in their superannuation. Checking to see if you have it, knowing what you might have, and knowing that you can change it can help reduce stress about money.
Knowing you have enough money to cover your future expenses is a good feeling that can affect other parts of your health, especially your mental health. Because of this, you should talk to your boss and a financial advisor about how they can help you feel better.