We need to talk about financial wellness at work

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If you find yourself stressing about finances even when you’re working,  you’re not alone. 

The topic of finances and earnings is a bit of a social taboo—especially at work. But with the cost of living soaring, many casual, part-time, and even full-time workers are under serious financial stress. You or your coworkers might be struggling, without feeling able to talk about it openly. 

The good news? We’re here to help. At Swag, we’re opening up a discussion on financial health, and helping you with budgeting tools and practices to boost your financial wellness at work.

Did you know: Swag research shows the biggest cause of stress at work is financial: 35% of employees say the cost of living causes them stress at work, and 59% of staff do not think workplaces are doing enough to support rising living costs. That’s why Swag works with your employer to offer you a range of financial wellness benefits and tools to cut the cost of living and put money back in your pocket. 

Why is financial wellness at work important?

Financial wellness is like the air you breathe. You don’t always notice it when it’s there, but the moment it’s lacking, everything becomes a struggle. This is especially true when it comes to your work. A secure financial footing doesn’t just fill your bank account – it fills your work life with focus, motivation, and stability. 

But when stressed about money, it’s hard to focus on showing up and doing a great job each day. Student debt, credit cards, loans and making ends meet while waiting for payday — these are things almost everyone has to worry about at some point in their life. But there are ways to ease the pressure. Let’s explore how financial wellness can impact your work, and what you can do about it.

Swag Tip:  We work closely with your employer to provide exclusive financial wellness tools and benefits to lower the cost of living and keep more money in your pocket. Why? Because when you’re not stressed about money, you experience greater overall well-being and can bring your best self to work each day. 

Financial stress drags you down

Imagine starting your workday with a cloud of financial worries hanging over you. Bills, debt, credit cards and unexpected expenses can create a persistent hum of anxiety. This stress isn’t just a mental burden; it’s a productivity killer. 

Swag research shows money stress takes its toll at work, with over 7 in 10 (72%) of workers experiencing negative emotions or behaviours —like a lack of motivation, losing sleep, and binge habits —as a result of their financial situation. 

Higher levels of stress often bleeds into your performance at work. Financial stress can manifest in various ways: you might be more distracted at work, or need to take days off to cope with the stress. You may be less social with your coworkers, or less productive and focused. 

Swag Tip: Avoid credit cards and Buy Now Pay Later 

Sick of unexpected expenses throwing out your finances? Don’t take out a credit card or payday loan to cover the costs. Swag Financial Behaviours research shows that a staggering 90% of Australians have outstanding short-term credit debt, amounting to almost $38 million owing in debt Australia-wide. The average amount of debt per person is $4,331 —and late payments, compounding interest and credit card fees can send people into a spiral of debt. 

financial wellness at work

InstaPay Now was created to help you cover one-off expenses without having to go into debt. Use it to handle medical bills, pet emergencies, flat tyres —whatever life has to throw at you. You can access up to $250 of your pay on-demand, before payday, and because it’s your own money (not a loan) there’s zero interest hidden fees. Just pay a processing fee of 1.3% for drawdowns into a Swag Spend account, or 1.5% into a regular bank account. 

Financial wellness at work makes you more motivated 

On the flip side, when your financial situation is under control, you can channel your energy into building your career. Financial wellness brings peace of mind, which means you’re present and engaged at work. This leads to better performance, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. You’re not constantly distracted by financial worries, and that clarity translates into higher productivity and job satisfaction. 

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, employees who feel financially secure are more likely to be productive, engaged, and satisfied with their jobs. Financial stability not only enhances your well-being but also boosts the overall performance and morale of the organisation​.

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Read more: How to cut everyday expenses and save money

5 Financial wellness benefits your employer offers 

Employers are starting to catch on to this. Many companies are offering financial wellness programs as part of their benefits packages —just like the range of financial and budgeting tools your employer offers through Swag. 

These tools were created to equip you with the knowledge and resources you need to cut the cost of living and manage your finances effectively. Here’s five of our favourites: 

Swag Stash accounts: 

The key to better budgeting? Regular, consistent saving habits. Swag Stash accounts let you automatically put aside money each time you get paid. Tucked safely into a Stash account, you’re less tempted to spend the cash you need for important monthly essentials. 

You can ‘Stash’ money as soon as you get paid, directly into accounts for bills, groceries, holidays —even a rainy day. Stash accounts help you create a budget that works for you and keep you accountable to your short-term and long-term savings goals.

Read more: 5 Tips to set a bulletproof budget

InstaPay Now: 

Hit with a flat tyre on the way to work? Dog ate the remote and needs to go to the vet? Forget using credit cards or loans to bridge the payday gap. InstaPay Now was created to help you handle one-off expenses without going into debt. You can get up to 50% of your salary on-demand, up to $1,000 each week with InstaPay Now: perfect for handling last-minute expenses without breaking the bank. InstaPay Now processing fees are 1.3% for drawdowns made into a Swag Spend account, and 1.5% for drawdowns made  into a regular bank account. 

Being paid monthly means some direct debits would be due before my pay would come in. Using Instapay meant that I could cover my food shopping, car services, and medical appointments when they would occur shortly before my pay would arrive and I did not want to use the short-term loan services.

– Tyson, State Lead Trainer, WA

Case Study: How do people use InstaPay Now? 

Amir works in logistics management, and he gets paid monthly. Sometimes, that means budgets can get a bit tight before payday. To avoid relying on credit cards or loans, he uses InstaPay Now to access up to $1,000 (capped at 50% of his earned pay) before payday. He uses it to pay his bills on time to avoid late fees. 

InstaPay Daily:

We used to get paid daily —so why can’t we in 2024? InstaPay Daily gives you the right to access the money you’ve earned each day, as soon as you’ve finished that day’s work. Forget waiting weeks or (gasp) a month between paydays. InstaPay Daily is for people who want to proactively manage their money by accessing their pay as soon as they earn it. Invest it every day, use it to pay down debts or your mortgage sooner, and watch your money grow in real-time.  

It makes life easier with inflation and everything else going on. InstaPay has helped with my portfolio for investments in some short-term positions. 

– Nelson, Sales Consultant, NSW

Case Study: How do people use InstaPay Daily? 

Sarah works in Retail, which means she gets paid fortnightly for the shifts she’s done in that period. She uses InstaPay Daily to get her money streamed directly into her account after each shift. Because she can see her money in real-time, she can pick up extra shifts if she needs to boost her savings that week. Plus, she can pay off bills straight away and put the extra towards investing. And because InstaPay Daily amounts are capped at only 50% of your total pay, you won’t be left out of pocket come payday. 

Cashback:

We all have things on the wishlist: cute outfits for your pet, a new winter jacket, hotels and flights in some exotic location —but if money’s tight, you might put off these non-essentials in favour of paying bills and filling up the car. Fair, but not so fun. 

Swag offers up to 20% cash back at leading stores like The Iconic, Pet Circle, and Booking.com. So you can put money back in your pocket even while you shop. Whether it’s must-haves from Pet Circle and The Good Guys to special trips with Virgin Airlines and Booking.com, you can get up to 20% of your money back when you purchase through the Swag app. Head to the Benefits tab to find out more. 

Community Deals: 

Bill management helps you cut household expenses

What about the non-negotiables? The must-haves like fuel, groceries and electricity?  We know those costs can add up, which is why we launched Swag Community Deals. Whether you want the best deal on your health insurance from providers like Medibank or AHM, or you want to cut your energy bill and save at the bowser, Swag uses the buying power of our 2M+ user community to negotiate the best price on everyday essentials. You can save hundreds each year, just by joining the Swag community.  

Building your financial wellness at work

Don’t be afraid to take advantage of any financial wellness programs your employer offers through Swag. These resources are there to help you, and making the most of them means more money left over each week. 

When you feel secure financially, it’s easier to take on challenges, pursue opportunities, and perform at your best. Financial wellness at work leads to better work performance, which can lead to career advancement and, ultimately, greater financial stability. Download the Swag app today to check out the full range of free financial and budgeting tools on offer. 

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