Under Pressure: The hidden wellbeing cost of lifting lockdown

Under Pressure: The hidden wellbeing cost of lifting lockdown

Under Pressure: The hidden wellbeing cost of lifting lockdown


It’s been nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster since the global pandemic hit, but the fundamental truth is that we haven’t all been on the same ride.

For many of us, the past year has revolved around furlough and unemployment. In the UK alone more than 11m people have experienced the uncertainty of being on furlough. The accompanying stress, and build-up of anxiety from having income reduced or being out of work, has been a consistent theme throughout lockdown.

But for those who were able to maintain their work (albeit in a radically different way) the overall financial results have tended to be positive. Indeed, as commuting costs disappeared overnight, and socialising costs evaporated, many people have become “accidental savers”, and for the first time feel confident that putting some money away each month might actually be possible. 

Life after Lockdown

However, with progress can often come complexity. For those of us fortunate enough to save through the pandemic, the question then becomes what should the savings be used for, where should this money be kept – savings accounts, ISAs, investments – and importantly, what are the risks? And for those experiencing furlough, the questions and concerns have been what does the future hold, and will I still have a job when all is said and done?

According to Close Brothers, 57% of the UK have either changed or plan to change their finances as a result of Covid, and this figure rises to 73% for those aged 18-34.

These new financial concerns have created a whole host of different questions for our financial wellbeing. Knowing what to do, when to do it, and having the confidence to carry it out, is suddenly at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

And the simultaneous pressures that have been building on mental health throughout lockdown, due to factors like isolation and fatigue, are now leading to sweeping changes in employee wellbeing.


Back in the habit

During the shifts caused by the pandemic, businesses have been looking to wellbeing experts for support, but now that we have some light at the end of the Covid tunnel thanks to unprecedented vaccination rollouts, employees are starting to transition back to an “old normal”, which doesn’t feel particularly normal anymore.

In fact, things are a lot more insecure than you might think as we now transition out of lockdown, open-up all of our services fully, and attempt to get back to business as usual.

When Bippit sent out a recent survey to employees, 41% said that they sometimes don’t have money left at the end of the month, and 13% said they always run out of money, and if that wasn’t worrying enough, we discovered that nearly a third of respondents still didn’t have any emergency savings. 

This would be concerning at any time, but as we emerge from lockdown into the great British Summer, unexpected new pressures both mental and financial are emerging, which are impacting the wellbeing of employees. The fact of the matter is, habits have fundamentally changed during lockdown, and many employees are now reporting new financial concerns and unexpected shocks as a result. 

A return to the costs of socialising, and a surge of spending on holidays is leading to more employees than ever struggling to budget effectively, and eating into any safety nets that they may have built throughout lockdown. And this is alongside the backdrop of heightened anxiety as we return to face-to-face socialising and time in the office again.

With all this happening, what many employees crave is someone to talk to, and this is especially true when it comes to their financial concerns. For example, a PwC employee wellness survey showed that 1/3 of employees now rank access to a financial coach as the top benefit they want to see employers introduce.

The new world of work

In the old world of work, it was still possible to attract talent with a state-of-the-art office space, or with lifestyle benefits that make life a little cheaper, or with a competitive holiday scheme. But people’s priorities have now shifted. A sprinkle of perks won’t do it anymore. We now want to feel secure and we want to feel like our employer cares.

The backdrop of a flexible working situation, having to meet face to face again, survive a commute, and deal with awkward schedules and strange routines is a huge challenge for employees and businesses alike.

Here’s the thing. When people are remote, we don’t necessarily see that they’re struggling. Just because someone has landed a job in our rapidly growing company, doesn’t mean all their worries are solved. Likewise, the top people in the talent market aren’t going to be convinced just because our company appears to be in a stable industry. They’re looking for more.

That’s why a further 34% of employers will be introducing financial wellbeing within the next two years according to research from Willis Towers Watson.

But leaders can model a way forward now, whether through introducing financial coaching, pro-active mental health solutions like Sanctus, or another form of wellbeing, it’s possible to deal with these complex issues head-on with effective support that’s accessible to all.


Change is everywhere

As we emerge from lockdown measures, there are unprecedented opportunities for us to change our lifestyles, from switching the cities or even countries where we live and work from, to adjusting our work / life balance through flexible and remote working. But simultaneously this is generating huge challenges for the way in which businesses support their people, and a great deal of anxiety for employees themselves.

The impact to our financial lives from relocating, changing working hours, and even switching careers, can not be underestimated, and with remote working comes new issues to overcome in terms of mental health.

The key element is ensuring that solutions can reach employees wherever they are, and through digital channels to provide meaningful support, especially as cases of burnout are rising exponentially with employees operating an “always on” mentality, and often dealing with issues outside of normal working hours.

To tackle with these stresses and strains, Charlotte Wiseman, Leadership Consultant known for her pioneering work on mental fitness in the workplace, notes, “try to avoid judging yourself on how you feel. Instead, simply notice and acknowledge whatever is going on for you. When we push away certain feelings, perhaps saying ‘why am I feeling that way?’ or ‘I should be able to deal with this,’ we are fighting ourselves. This means the difficult feelings will shout louder”.

And while mental health support and financial coaching can help to ease some of these problems, it’s education that answers them, and proactive initiatives can help avoid many of the issues altogether. 

There’s a reason why research by Gympass & Peakon has shown that 75% of all employee wellbeing comments throughout 2020 related to financial wellbeing and mental health. 

But most companies aren’t answering the need. Only 11% of employees say that their employer has provided them with financial education in the past 12 months, according to a Close Brothers report.

The reality is this: Our world of work is changing fast – and employee perks are changing along with it. Or at least they should be. Employee expectations are evolving. New forms of delivery are emerging. Last year’s gold standard has faded to bronze, and will soon become irrelevant. To protect our employees wellbeing, adapt to new ways of working, and stay competitive in the talent market, our employee perks need to be ahead of the curve.


Wellbeing 2.0

There are more options now than ever to support the needs of our employees. You’ll find an app, solution, or service that answers almost every employee concern. But with so much on offer, how do we prioritise what’s important? 

To help employees make enough time for their Physical health, and stay active, services like Gympass can help the workforce of tomorrow stay active, wherever they are.

When it comes to Mental health, there are services like Sanctus who are delivering proactive therapy and mental health support to deal with issues like burnout and isolation before they become detrimental to a business. As Charlotte Wiseman says “when we are exhausted, stressed, and don’t look after our own needs, this starts to impact our performance and the way in which we communicate with others, often in a negative way. We also lose our perspective on life — we can’t see the wood for the trees”.

And for many employees, there is an overarching concern about their financial wellbeing, both now and in the future. But with solutions like Bippit, employees can now measure and make progress with each element of their financial wellbeing, so their Knowledge, Organisation, and Confidence can all flourish. And in doing so they can find the answers they need, plan their finances better, and take action in an effective way. 

Bringing up hot topics in a meeting isn’t enough. When we address pressing problems, from mental health to work/life balance to financial wellbeing, we can’t afford to treat it as a tick box exercise.

Leaders have needed to adapt their approach in recent times. Indeed, it’s no longer enough – or even possible – to lap the office once or twice a day. Nor are people motivated by the same drivers that kept them going in recent years.

And we have to acknowledge the elephant in the room. The future remains uncertain and many of us feel anxious about what it holds. But as employers, we can exercise our duty of care, and make sure that our people have effective systems of support as they walk that path.

The good news is that more and more employers are starting to pay attention to the research, and take the first steps by providing specialist coaching for both the financial and mental health of their employees. 

What are you doing to support your employees health?

To hear how wellbeing strategies are changing as we exit lockdown, join Leadership and Wellbeing Consultant, Charlotte Wiseman and Financial Coach, Steven Williams on 30th June at 2.30pm

Register here


Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

How Twinkl strengthened their wellbeing offering with Bippit

How Twinkl strengthened their wellbeing offering with Bippit


How Bippit helps Twinkl strengthen their wellbeing offering


Having given each of their employees access to Bippit, Twinkl’s COO David Angrave speaks to us about the importance of creating a holistic employee wellbeing programme that offers physical, mental, and financial support.

Teaching in a time of Covid-19

Twinkl exists to support those who teach which, in the past 18 months, included a lot of us!

When the pandemic first started the majority of schools around the world closed their doors and moved classes online. Teachers had to adapt and parents had to remember their times tables. Twinkl was there throughout to help, advise, and encourage.

Their engaging and inspiring resources – from lesson plans and assessments, through to online educational games and augmented reality – have been a major source of comfort for many. However, it’s not been without its challenges. 

As David says: “Twinkl is an international business and the last 12-14 months have created an incredibly challenging environment for educators. We’ve had to step up our game to make sure we’re serving their needs (which vary quite considerably), all while balancing the needs of our team.”


Adapting to new routines and overcoming new hurdles

At the risk of stating the obvious, the switch to home working, schooling, and living has been tough for everyone. People have had to adapt, as have companies. To support their remote-working employees companies have adopted a range of new practices and processes. 

“There has been a huge increase in wellbeing requests and needs for wellbeing-based interventions,” says David.

“We haven’t furloughed anyone, but a lot of team members have partners and family who have been furloughed and that’s impacted their finances. There’s definitely a step-up in the need for wellbeing support.”

“The pandemic has increased the need for financial wellbeing, and this is something we’ve always been keen to support our team on.”


Why financial wellbeing is so important for companies like Twinkl

At Bippit we’ve heard a number of company leaders talk about having a duty of care towards their staff. It’s a duty that extends to how they approach their company benefits, day-to-day interactions, and wellbeing support.

David says: “One of the big drivers of stress is finances. That may be around financial planning for family life, the future, retirement, a first home, or managing mortgages. There are very difficult knock-on effects of poor financial health. I know for a fact we’ve had people absent from work because of the stress of their finances.” 

“Supporting our employees’ financial wellbeing is the right thing to do. Yes we are a business and a commercial entity. But we’ve got a large team that we’re very close to. There is still a family feel here.”

“We want to make sure our team is looked after and their whole needs are met. Realistically we spend most of our lives at work. We ask a lot of our team and they give a lot to the educators we support. The least we can do is make sure there is that wraparound support for them.”


Completing the wellbeing trilogy 

Twinkl has a dedicated Wellbeing Team (two are trained counsellors and one is a CBT specialist).

David says: “We provide ongoing health insurance cover and mental health support which allows us to provide interventions as well as a host of CPD and training to help both the team and my managers.”

For many companies, offering physical and/or mental health solutions is where their wellbeing support ends. A third element, which is a silent killer, is often missed: financial wellbeing.

“For us, financial wellbeing was the last bit of a missing picture. You don’t see the damage that poor financial wellbeing does to your team. It’s like an invisible toll. But it does damage other areas of your business.”

“We’ve done stuff with the traditional banks but it was every quarter as an intervention or to deliver a seminar. We didn’t have on-demand financial support. Support which is effectively there 24/7 but which is also specifically tailored to each individual rather than just being generic like with seminars. This is where Bippit came in.”


How Twinkl got started with Bippit…

Getting started on Bippit doesn’t require any employee training or payroll integrations. While our customisable and easy-to-use marketing assets (including launch emails) help promote Bippit to staff and drive ongoing engagement.

David says: “Implementation support is what separates good services from great ones and Bippit was so easy. The starting-up process was brilliant. I think we signed a contract and then a week later we were inducting staff.”

“It was incredibly easy to get everyone set up on the platform. Bippit did most of the heavy lifting which made a big difference.”


Working with Bippit’s financial coaches

Previously, getting support from financial experts has been expensive, intimidating, or simply not accessible. When we built Bippit our main goal was to give every single employee – no matter their age, background, or situation – access to financial coaching.

This is something Twinkl was looking for, as David describes: “With Bippit we really liked the ability to actually connect with a human being and to have that 1-1 financial coach and expert.”

“A lot of other financial wellbeing tools target a specific demographic or age range. That doesn’t work for us. We’ve got an incredibly diverse age range (from 18-60s) and demographic in our team so putting in just one tool would have excluded a large quantity of our staff.”

“Bippit’s support covers all ages and situations. It enables every single one of our team to see that there is actually support for them and their situation.”

However, it’s not just our financial coaches that Twinkl is benefitting from…

David adds: “Being able to see a dashboard showing the financial health of our team is invaluable. It’s made us ask: do we need to look at some of the benefits that are in place? Do we need to actually do a harder push with some of our existing benefits?”

“Bippit helps you maximise all your other employee perks. For example, many of the team were spending a lot of money on things like dental work but we actually provide that cover already. So Bippit helps us see where we need to improve communication around the benefits available to our staff.”


Looking ahead…

While this partnership has only just begun, Twinkl is already looking ahead to how Bippit can help in the future.  

David says: “Bippit will reduce a genuine level of stress that poor financial wellbeing can exert on an individual.”

“While some of the team might not need Bippit right now, it’s great to have it there. And it’s actually got people thinking about what more they could be doing with different financial elements, or helped them discover something they’d not thought about.”

“Our team knows financial wellbeing is something to take seriously, and it’s great they see us as an employer leading the way in it.”

Long may that continue!


Along with the likes of Gympass, GIA, and Impala, Twinkl is one of the many companies benefitting from Bippit’s complete financial wellbeing platform. Want to learn more about workplace mental health? Book a 15-minute demo today!

Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

Why Gympass is embracing financial wellbeing post-covid

Why Gympass is embracing financial wellbeing post-covid

Why Gympass is embracing financial wellbeing post-covid

Given the past year we’ve all had, good physical, mental, and financial health is more important than ever. It’s why platforms like Gympass exist.

In a bid to help alleviate the stress we all face, their multinational platform provides members with access to gyms and studios, live-stream classes, wellbeing services, and virtual personal training. 

Earlier this year we partnered with Gympass to provide access to Bippit and help the company fulfil their mission of making all types of wellbeing universal and accessible for all.

For the CEO of Gympass, Luke Bullen, good financial health is a huge part of that. 

“It’s not fun to talk about finances and there are big differences in each person’s situation, but our financial position is critical to other elements of our wellbeing.


Financial wellbeing tends to get swept under the carpet, which is why getting help from a service like Bippit is so important.”

The impact of Covid-19

In 2020 our homes became offices, nurseries, restaurants, and gyms. 

Everyone had to adapt their wellness routines to fit a new lifestyle. Gyms shut and services were taken online – hence the 36% rise in people trying online workouts – highlighting the need for platforms such as Gympass.

New challenges were faced, not least by companies trying to promote wellbeing, maintain company culture, and help their people through trying times. For Gympass, this meant needing to diversify their wellbeing offering to provide new levels of support.

Luke says: “Working within a culture of wellbeing is the easiest way to ensure you focus on your own, and working at Gympass is testament to that. 

“Almost everyone has learnt to eat and sleep better, to exercise more regularly, and to be more mindful. But one aspect we’ve rarely focused on is our own financial wellbeing.”


The importance of financial wellbeing for Gympass

Poor financial wellbeing is the number one cause of stress in the UK, with evidence showing it increases episodes of depression and anxiety.

Luke says: “In the UK, 94% of employees worry about their money and poor financial wellbeing is the no.1 cause of stress. Evidence shows it increases episodes of depression and anxiety. As a result, any holistic wellbeing solution should take this into account.”

In order to be that solution, Gympass wanted to make sure their members had the tools to handle financial stress. This is what led them to Bippit. 


Why Gympass chose Bippit for financial wellbeing 

Luke says: “Bippit’s personalised offering really sets it apart and provides a useful tool to tackle employees’ top concerns. Being able to offer people tools they need to improve their financial future means we have a truly 360-degree wellbeing offering.”

“Plus it’s something I use myself! As soon as I downloaded Bippit I could tell that it would be a valuable tool to help my own mental wellbeing.

“Within 5 minutes I had linked it to all of my bank accounts; within 10 I had an in-depth analysis of all of my spending, and I was speaking with my own dedicated financial coach.”


Bippit and Gympass – the story so far…

Since Gympass partnered with Bippit, we’ve seen:

  • 100% onboarding success
  • 9/10 rating of coach support
  • Hundreds of visits to our Analyze feature

“Bippit helps relieve some of the stress associated with managing your finances.” – Luke Bullen.

Along with the likes of Twinkl, GIA, and Impala, Gympass is one of the many companies benefitting from Bippit’s complete financial wellbeing platform.

Want to learn more about workplace mental health? Book a 15-minute demo today!

Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?