The Covid-19 made one thing very clear, very quickly: work and life are tightly connected and employers have a broken care system for this connection.
One of the most dire consequences is the alarming amount of working mothers who face an unarguable choice: their children or their job. That's not really a choice for parents. Since February 2020, 2.3 million American mothers have been pushed out of the labour force due to ongoing closures of schools and daycare centres.
Fortunately, 98% of business leaders recognised that employee benefits could make or break their workforce. And they’re going to add or expand at least one benefit, and 89% would deprioritise at least one.
How do they decide which employee benefit to prioritise and deprioritise?
It all depends on what was deemed as the most and least essential from employees’ point of view — which you'll find out in the sections below.
"When your workforce feel secure at work and at home, both people and businesses perform at their best." -- Business Roundtable, 2020
In this article, you'll learn:
Work-life balance has always been at the top of employees' needs. But it's not about achieving 50/50 equilibrium, where they spend 8 hours at work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of personal time.
The truth is, work and life are interconnected and one affects the other immensely. A work-from-home workforce further amplifies the connection.
Employees are not robots that can delete the worries of their children and elderly parents and focus on work. They bring those worries to work, and it impacts productivity.
The Covid-19 pandemic has rallied employers to act. They realised that care, flexibility, and mental health are essential to employees' productivity and success at work.
In fact, 33% of the employers see care benefits as an essential and competitive advantage and 50% believe that the positive impact of child care benefits outweighs the costs.
The key idea is that when you support the employees' work and life through meaningful and flexible benefits, they'll be much more productive at work.
The Future of Benefits 2020 study by Hartford has shown that employers are likely to offer new additional benefits and services and update their packages to more closely align to their employee benefits needs.
But how do you find out what benefits your employees truly desire? This 5-Step guide can help you determine the right benefits to add, expand, or reduce.
Care's Future of Benefits 2021 study found that 66% of 500 employers intend to offer increased work flexibility.
PWC's US Remote Work Survey backs that up: 56% of 133 executives are heading toward a hybrid office workweek, even after the pandemic is over.
Employers believe that providing employees with a flexible schedule is important because it will help enhance their mental health. That makes them more productive in their jobs.
Believe it or not, 63% of employers plan to offer increased child care benefits and 41% provide better senior care benefits.
Child care, especially, are shifting from on-site care to flexible care benefits such as:
This shift gives parents more control in their choice of care options.
Health care is costly, and telemedicine programmes are one way to save money.
The Covid-19 has forced employers to search for digital and online medical services to balance economics and empathy to provide meaningful healthcare and maximise return on investment.
This trend has caused 47% of insurers surveyed in Asia to offer telemedicine programmes (a 15% growth from 2019). And 22% cited that they're planning to initiate telemedicine within the next 2 years.
Besides insurers and employers, 40% of millennial employees reported that the telemedicine option was "extremely or very important". They are more likely to shop around and research healthcare options than baby boomers, the Health Care Survey showed.
The importance of emotional and mental health benefits is becoming more evident amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Employees are seeking this service because it makes them feel more relaxed and secure at work, increasing their productivity.
The advantages for employers include lower healthcare costs from stress-related illnesses such as heart disease or depression; higher employee retention rates which lead to reduced recruitment and training costs.
Indeed, 70% of employers plan to invest in mental health resources by starting, continuing, or expanding benefits in 2021.
The most common reasons for expanding support are to promote employee productivity, increase satisfaction, and attract/compete for talent.
But adding and expanding employee benefits won't be enough unless your employees know about their existence and take advantage of them -- which brings us to the next point.
How will employers educate their workforce about benefits and facilitate enrollment is also changing.
63% of employers said their company's open enrolment strategy would depend more strongly on online resources this year
due to Covid-19.
And employers plan to offer online enrollment in several ways, such as:
Not surprisingly, 52% of employees also expressed interest in an all-online benefits education and enrollment experience. A great example of a cost-saving all-online employee benefits experience is Mednefits.
But what might surprise you is that more than half of the employees said they would like a personalised recommendation of the benefits they should use.
Although there is no legal guidance about appropriate incentives to encourage employees to get the vaccine, over 50% of organisations already offer paid time off to employees.
Here are 3 examples of how companies offer different incentives:
Related reads: The most puzzling questions about Covid-19 vaccination answered for employers
Perhaps, Covid-19 has taught the workforce how important it is to pursue endeavours they personally consider meaningful — while they're still alive.
Over one-third of employees are willing to give up a portion of their future earnings in exchange for paid time off to volunteer or do the things they love. 44% of them said they would give up at least half of the pay raise if they get unlimited vacation time.
A Gartner analysis shows that 16% of employers use technologies more frequently to monitor their employees through methods such as virtual clocking in and out, tracking work computer usage, and monitoring employee emails or internal communications/chat.
While some companies track productivity, others monitor employee engagement, well-being, and benefits usage to better understand employee experience.
Last but not least, one pervasive worry that has been amplified during the pandemic is financial stress. A PwC survey found that 58% of stressed employees said finances had been a distraction at work.
It's no wonder that nearly 60% of employees feel it is more important now than ever that employers offer financial wellness benefits due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Statistics show that employees participating in company-sponsored financial wellness programs are more likely to commit to their employer long-term. It also boosts the employees' productivity and willingness to go above and beyond.
Examples of financial wellness benefits include:
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way employers and employees view benefits. Multiple surveys have shown continued employer support is necessary to ensure employees stay safe, sane, and productive.
As a result, most companies are now reevaluating their current benefit packages to ensure they’re providing the best possible support for all of their employees.
It is important to understand how this change may affect your employees’ work and life and what you can do in response to these changes.
Want to know how to add or improve these benefits in your employee package without breaking your bank account? Ask our Benefits Specialists for a free consultation!