Canadians’ workplace productivity is affected by stress surrounding their personal finances, according to new research from the Conference Board of Canada published Nov. 1.

"Although many Canadians have adequate financial literacy, manage their resources responsibly, and have a retirement plan in place, there are some who face challenges in one or all of these areas, causing them stress and anxiety," said Louis Thériault, vice-president, Industry Strategy and Public Policy, The Conference Board of Canada. "Financial stress can translate into diminished productivity in the workplace, making it more than just a personal issue."

Financial wellness

The research found twenty-eight per cent of Canadians sometimes struggle to keep up with their financial commitments or are having real financial problems. In addition, nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of Canadian employers say they feel they have a responsibility to help their employees with their financial wellness.

The Conference Board says that that most programming being offered by employers focuses on information dissemination, such as webinars or information booklets. However, it suggests that employers provide more interactive programming, including face-to-face initiatives, which may be more effective in helping employees achieve financial wellness.”

Higher rates of absenteeism

"Financial matters are a key source of stress for employees and can impact their physical and mental health, which can be costly for employers – from higher rates of absenteeism to lower productivity," said Dr. Marie-Hélène Pelletier, Assistant Vice-President, Workplace Health, Group Benefits, Sun Life Financial Canada. "Now, more than ever, is the time for employers to build a financial health component into their overall health strategy". Sun Life has sponsored briefings on the Conference Board research.