Two in five employees have been more worried about their financial health in lockdown, according to new research from Close Brothers.
The research features in a new report, Expecting the unexpected: a spotlight on preparing for a crisis, which highlights how much the past 12 months have changed the financial plans of employees across the UK.
The report shows that more than half of employees experienced an increase in worries about their mental health due to the pandemic.
While 41% had experienced a rise by May 2020, additional months of lockdown restrictions have seen this increase to more than half – equivalent to a 24% increase over the time period.
The research also shows over the past year, the percentage of 18-34 year olds experiencing mental health worries has risen to 63% and among those 55 and older it has risen by more than a third to 37%.
However, the research shows 39% of employees have experienced an increase in worries about their financial health in lockdown, while female employees (44%) have been more adversely affected than their male colleagues (34%).
Under 35s appear to have been hit hardest with 51% of 18-34 year olds experiencing greater money worries over the pandemic.
More than half (57%) of employees either have made or are planning changes to their financial preparedness, notably almost three quarters of 18-34 year olds and around two thirds of 35-44 year olds.
And around a third of UK employees in all are now more confident in their ability to weather a fresh financial storm compared to when the pandemic hit, rising to 36% among those 18-34 years old.
While worries about physical health remain a significant issue, the number experiencing this (46%) has remained steady since the start of the pandemic and among male employees and 18-34 year olds has actually decreased slightly since May 2020.
Commenting on the findings, Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers, said: “Understandably, the pandemic has had a direct impact on employee wellbeing and specifically on their mental and financial health.
“Tackling this, and providing the support needed, even as the majority of employees continue to work remotely, is an area of growing importance for organisations.
“Mental wellbeing has always been impacted by poor financial wellbeing but over the last 12 months this has touched more people and some have been particularly badly affected.
“Sectors have been hit at all levels and so it has never been so critical to ensure that everyone understands and is confident about the choices they have so they can make the absolute best decisions with the money they have,” she added.