Business Management / Leadership

Why you can't overlook employees' financial concerns during COVID-19 crisis

Matt Shealy

Updated: Dec 21, 2023 · 3 min read

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COVID-19 employee stress

Many employees are feeling a lot of pressure at the moment given the situation with COVID-19 pandemic. It has scared many people, not just because they're concerned about potentially becoming infected, but also because it's straining one’s financial circumstances in many instances. It's so important at times like this that employers not ignore the very real worries that their workers are experiencing.

Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs, have seen a rash of new calls from employees worried about their finances and other aspects of their lives during this time. Employers should understand that EAPs are not just there for emotional support for employees, but can be a great way for someone to get help understanding and coping with their financial circumstances too. It just so happens that money issues and emotional issues tend to go hand-in-hand anyway.

That's a huge amount of extra burden added to the shoulders of the economy as a result of the fact that people simply don't receive the mental and financial support that they ought to at a time like this. Businesses end up footing a lot of that bill in the form of missed days from work and other issues that result from strain in the finances.

No group left untouched

Some in the public believe that only those in the lower income brackets are impacted by financial hardships. That's not the case. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all that the possibility to have financial hardship is there for all of us. It can simply mean a change in lifestyle is needed to get things back in order, or the measures taken may need to be more dramatic such as bankruptcy. Either way, the reality that all groups are impacted by this is something that should not be overlooked.

Employers are tasked with helping all of their employees and not assuming that those at the higher end of the income range are not without their problems as well. You never know what kind of issues even those making the most money can have.

As a business owner, put a communication plan in place for employees to get information and assistance if needed. If you’ve furloughed employees to keep the business open, provide assistance if they need to foreclose on their home or can’t pay for a medical bill. While you may not be paying your employee’s salaries, it may be in your best interest to help them with these bills in the short term so they come back to work once you reopen.

Addictions can occur

Don't ignore the fact that addictions can come into play when someone is undergoing a lot of financial stress. Things like gambling and alcohol can begin as a little innocent fun and turn into something much uglier.

A lot of people take on new habits to try to cope with their financial worries, and this rarely turns out well. It's important that we all recognize that our neighbors, co-workers, and friends could be going through something like this right now.

It's best if we can offer them a helping hand to pull them up and offer some assistance when they're spiraling. All in all, this is a time for us all to be there for each other.

Final thought

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how vulnerable many of us are when it comes to financial impacts that can and did happen. Employers need to recognize this and educate employees on the importance of saving for a rainy day. This ultimately creates happier employees who are more secure in their life.

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