Financial and legal stress impacts employee wellness
Across businesses of all sizes, trends such as yoga lunch hours, active commute groups, onsite dieticians, fitness classes and healthy snack options are emerging.
Research has shown that employee engagement is clearly linked to an employee's well-being, so it makes sense that companies are focusing on wellness initiatives. But a person's well-being is impacted by much more than their physical health. What about mental and emotional health? Many employees experience near-constant stress because of financial, medical and legal issues that can eat away at their overall well-being and even cause physical issues like high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
A 2016 Gallup poll found that of the Americans surveyed:
- 60% worry about not being able to pay medical costs from a serious illness or accident.
- 64% worry about not having enough money for retirement.
- 41% are worried about being able to pay their basic monthly bills.
In addition to being stressed just thinking about potential money problems, half of Americans say they would have a hard time paying a one-time emergency expense of $400. ARAG asked consumers specifically about their ability to pay for legal expenses, and 76% had no plan for how to be able to do so. Yet, according to a new study commissioned by ARAG, three out of four Americans experienced at least one legal issue in the last year.
Also see: “The connection between LTC and legal insurance.”
The new study found that not only are the majority of employees experiencing legal issues every year, but they feel very or somewhat stressed about areas such as: Not knowing where to turn or how to get started; the time commitment that has been or may be necessary to deal with the legal issue; understanding their options; the amount of money they may have to or have already spent and finding an attorney to help.
This stress seeps into the work day. In fact, the study found that 68% of employees spend time at work dealing with their legal issues — and spent an average of 18 hours per issue. All this time spent worrying and trying to sort out what to do translates to less productive and engaged employees.
So how can you help employers deal with this? By providing valuable benefits and resources that remove the stress of these situations for employees. ARAG surveys show that 90% of plan members feel legal insurance greatly reduces their financial and legal stress. This leads to higher productivity, improved mental and physical health and a more successful company and workforce — which makes employers happy.