Paying the Pipers Piping
The two seem to travel in opposite trajectories - calories in, dollars out. 'Round about January, the effects are amply evident, with the general population sadly taking inventory of distinctly lighter wallets and unmistakably girthier profiles.
Hey - we all have to pay the Pipers Piping sometime.
No doubt, the post-season slump seems decidedly personal. And, you might be thinking that's completely outside of an employer's territory. Why should I care? Separation of work/life, right?
Not so fast.
Why Employers should Care
In a broad sense, what's affecting them is affecting you. Simply put: their slump is your slump. Consider the financial situation. We already know that high levels of well-being drive great work performance. And money or lack of it is one of the major stressors driving well-being. So by default, financial trouble leads to poor well-being leads to compromised performances. And right there is your answer to, "Why should I care?" The employee who's spending time stressing about the maxed-out credit cards or the minimum payment due or the budget busted by swans-a-swimming ($42,000, by the way) or geese-a-laying ($210) is not an employee who's focused on work. And make no mistake that lack of engagement is busting your budget.
The seemingly obvious solution may be more money. But we know no company's payroll is infinite. And while a raise is nice, it's only a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
Because money itself isn't the problem; it's the problems that come with it spending too much, saving too little, worrying about being able to pay the next bill. Money without management is like an amorphous cloud that feels impossible to get hold of. And that makes it seem infinitely bigger than it really is. And when it gets that big, it starts to cloud everything else around it.
And that's the real problem and that's where you, the employer, can help. The idea is to help make that problem smaller. At Bright Horizons, we've set up a Well-Being Help Center with just those kinds of distracting worries in mind. Call the line any time of day and a friendly voice says, "Well-Being Help Center. How can I help you?" And then that same very nice person goes down a list of offerings that includes "Money Matters" help with debt management, retirement planning, or maybe just budgeting for a big vacation.
Such assistance brings the problem into focus. It makes the unwieldy compact. It makes the unmanageable manageable. And the space freed up from worrying about this month's credit card bill means more room to focus on things like spreadsheets, IT fixes, and generally doing a great job. And that's the goal of supports in general. They create room to think. They generate things like engagement which pumps up productivity, and reduced stress that can reduce health costs, and loyalty which saves on turnover costs...do you see a trend here?
So the bottom line is...whether the holidays bring a blu-ray, a new phone, seven swans, or some lords-a-leaping...the cost weighs on all of us. But for those who create a supportive infrastructure, the fallout won't be so great when January comes around and it's finally time to pay the pipers piping.
Bright Horizons is the leader in work/life solutions that solve employee challenges and support critical employer goals. Learn more about our whole family of solutions at BrightHorizons.com/solutionsatwork.