March 2, 2021
The pandemic has changed the way we all work, and the way our work and home lives intertwine. Naturally, benefits should also change to accommodate the newly expanded remote workforce. With a world health crisis currently on the front of everyone’s minds, many employers are prioritizing employee health and wellbeing - and you should, too! Now is the perfect time to make sure your organization’s benefits are serving its most valuable assets, your employees. Here are the benefits trends you can leverage to keep your team happy and healthy.
Before Covid, Telehealth was generally seen as an add-on to employees’ main healthcare providers. It’s now become a necessity for most patients, as there’s a shift towards healthcare plans assuming that certain primary care appointments are going to be telehealth appointments rather than in office. 87% of employers plan to invest more in telehealth this year, and telehealth appointments come with a lot of benefits:
Mental Health & Stress Management Benefits
Taking care of employees’ mental health is more than just a trend. Mental Health is on track to become its own pandemic and employers need to get ahead of it. 53% of 256 employers surveyed by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions reported providing special emotional and mental health assistance programs for their workforce due to the pandemic. Covid-19 forced many of us to work from home, which led many to feel isolated. On top of loneliness, and without a clear delineation between the office and home, work-life balance suffered, leading many to feel stressed and burnt-out. Two-thirds of employees now say they are stressed out all or most of the time at work. Going forward, there needs to be more emphasis on looking after employees and providing a positive mental health environment, including resources rather than simply making accommodations after the fact.
Managers play a critical role in improving the mental health of their employees. Part of managers’ training should be dedicated to maintaining an emotionally healthy work environment and identifying mental health challenges in their employees should they arise. Managers should be encouraged to check-in with team members regularly and make sure they’re making time away from work. Really mean it when you ask, “how are you?”
Implementing these policies now sets you up for success in the future. The majority of Gen Z (91%) and Millenial (85%) employees think all employers should have a mental health work policy in place. Do you?
In addition to training managers and setting policies that encourage work-life balance, Mental Health benefits include…
Make Adjustments Now, Remote Work will Continue
Most likely, working from home is here to stay in some capacity, therefore, it’s paramount that you adjust your benefits offerings to reflect that. Companies won’t be spending as much on pantry items, catered lunches, and other in-office perks. Allocate those savings towards remote work perks. Consider offering stipends for at-home offices, access to online fitness classes, and self-care subscriptions. Parents and caregivers are also working from home, many with young children or elderly parents that are home with them. Offering caregiving support showcases that your organization cares about their entire family. Try offering a stipend for child and/or eldercare. Making sure employees’ loved ones are cared for while they’re at work benefits the organization as a whole. Remember, distracted and stressed employees aren’t the most productive ones.
Non-Traditional Benefit Opportunities
The benefits package you offer is a huge deciding factor in whether top talent will work for you or your competitor. If you’re looking to stand out amongst other employers, here are several nontraditional benefits you can offer as well:
Make sure employees are aware of their benefits and encourage them to take advantage of them. HR professionals are well-versed in benefits language while the average employee may be less familiar with issues like deductibles, vesting, in/out of network, etc. Vocalize an open line of communication between your benefits manager and employees should they have any questions or concerns. A benefits review is an essential step in onboarding, as well as hosting an annual overview of plans. Not only does this give employees an outline of all the benefits they’re entitled to, but it also gives them an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns.
No matter which combination of benefits your company chooses to offer, make sure your focus is on prevention. Preventing health issues keeps employees happy and saves your company money. Healthy and happy employees are more likely to be productive which benefits the entire organization. Lastly, make sure employees know that their health is a priority. Employees are likely to stay longer at a company where they know they’re seen as human beings.
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