Stress in the workplace is not a theoretical matter. It is very real. Moreover, it is entirely negative in every aspect. Workplace stress inhibits productivity, interferes with customer relationships, and it causes friction among coworkers.
According to PwC's 2019 Annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, the biggest stress inducer among America's workers is financial problems. Some 59% of those surveyed cited financial problems as their number one stress creator. Financial problems beat out all of the other problems combined.
This is an incredible statistic. Where you might be led to believe that workplace stress is usually caused by poor relationships with management and coworkers, it turns out such problems only make up about 15% of the total. Financial problems are by far the biggest issue.
How Financial Stress Affects Lives
Financial stress is bad enough for employees in the workplace environment. Yet studies show that it also affects their lives away from work. For example, a 2015 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed that as many as 20% of American workers do not seek out basic healthcare services because they cannot afford them.
When surveyors broke down the healthcare question into smaller components, they discovered that 9% of the respondents at least considered avoiding medical care while 12% admitted to actually doing it. Simply put, they don't see the doctor when they should because they can't pay for it.
The APA survey also showed that 31% of respondents blamed financial problems for conflicts in their personal relationships. This is nothing new. Our culture has long known that financial troubles are one of the leading causes of separation and divorce.
Helping to Relieve the Stress
Employers cannot eliminate financial stress altogether. However, there are things they can do to help. Chief among them is to offer pay advances in order to help employees better manage their financial obligations. Pay advances can be addressed in several different ways, including extra paychecks and salary advance apps.
An extra paycheck is pretty straightforward. Employees are given an advance on their salaries with a payment made directly from the employer's bank account. The amount advanced is either deducted from the next paycheck or through multiple deductions over the course of several paychecks.
Salary advance apps accomplish the same thing but in a way that is more suitable to a tech savvy workforce. To make it work, employers hook up salary advance providers with mobile apps that employees can put on their phones or tablets. The apps are used to access a portion of an employee's already earned wages.
How It Helps
Understanding how pay advances help relieve financial stress begins by understanding that we employers are partially responsible for creating the stress. When we shifted from weekly payroll to biweekly and semimonthly options, we made it harder for our employees to manage their money. We made the problem worse when we asked employees to wait a full week after the end of a pay cycle to actually get paid.
A person who gets paid biweekly on the Friday following the end of the previous payroll cycle is effectively waiting three weeks to be paid for the first shift of that cycle. Waiting so long to be paid creates big budget problems for people who do not have a lot of disposable income.
Pay advances reduce the time between working a shift and getting paid for it. It gives employees faster access to at least a portion of their wages. Such access can relieve quite a bit of stress if you are living from paycheck to paycheck.