Updated: Nov 29, 2021
There is no doubt that there has been an increased focus on the importance of mental health over the last 5 years. A study by Ginger, an on-demand mental health support platform, showed that over 90% of staff believe that their employers should care about their mental health.
Luckily, employers have started to pay attention. Running employees into the ground used to be seen as brutally 'efficient' - a way to get every last drop of human effort out of your staff.
Now, most industries seem to have come to their senses and realise that the concept of long-term productivity may be more important, and that only comes with employees' wellness.
Wellness is often thought to be made up of mental and physical aspects. They are strongly interlinked; tending to enable or inhibit the other. A study published in the Lancet showed that individuals who exercised had 43% fewer days of poor mental health than individuals who did not exercise.
There's no doubt that mental and physical health are important pillars of wellness, but at Otto we strongly believe that there is a third pillar: Financial health.
Whether you like it or not, money is central to our lives. Granted, past a certain point there are diminishing returns on your happiness but when we're up sh*t creek, money can be our paddle.
When we feel out of control of our financial situation, it can inhibit our mental wellness. The feeling of uncertainty of whether bills will be paid on time, or whether credit ratings are good enough for a mortgage, can be a huge strain on anyone's mental health.
Understandably, HR departments and People teams can feel powerless. Salaries cannot be magically inflated to make everyone's life rosy. There have been cases of companies taking this approach such as Gravity Payments with their $70k minimum wage, but they are rare and impossible to implement at an established company.
At Otto, we think differently about this problem. Increasing financial health doesn't have to mean increasing salaries, it can mean giving employees the coaching and tools to get the most from their money. Financial planning, pensions, budgeting, ISAs, mortgages - we all need help with these but are usually left armed only with Google. With Otto, not only will employees have access to a personal financial coach, but soon they will have access to a holistic dashboard - a place to see all of their finances in one place, set personal goals and learn what they need to do to reach them. A sure fire way to increase their financial health and overall wellness.