Workplace Benefits In A Post-COVID World
Jeff Clark, CFP®
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work. Although the environment continues to be challenging for both employees and employers, the pandemic will end. When that happens, we will once again enjoy many of the “normal” things we’ve come to miss so dearly during this season. Hugs from loved ones, exploring the world through travel, and community gatherings.
But will our normal be the same as our pre-pandemic normal? The pandemic has made an indelible impact, and there is reason to believe that we are entering a new normal. Neighborhoods and local businesses will look and feel different, and your workplace will too.
SHRM reported that 67% of employers are currently preparing to allow their employees to work from home even after the pandemic. A more virtual workplace will emerge as a key outcome of the new normal. In this new full or partial remote work environment, keeping workers engaged can prove challenging. Workplace culture will also evolve.
The big question is, to keep employees engaged and motivated, what will workplace benefits look like in the near future?
Here are some insights into how workplace benefits will change in the three wellness areas that employees are most concerned about: Physical, Mental, and Financial.
Employees are concerned about their health and safety in the midst of this pandemic. According to a SHRM survey, telemedicine surged during the pandemic: 86% of companies are encouraging their employees to use these services should they need care.
Many companies reimburse gym memberships. Right now with gyms and many indoor public places still closed, companies can choose to shift those reimbursement programs to cover at-home fitness solutions.
In addition to exercise needs, the pandemic’s length has left many employees in need of support to keep cooking healthy meals at home. Companies can experiment with offering nutrition-themed webinars and healthy cooking challenges among colleagues.
At BrightPlan, we’ve had fun with this transition by creating a company thread called, “What’s for Dinner?” Where our aspiring home-chef colleagues post their favorite recipes and pictures of their latest creations.
Beyond physical health, it’s also important to look after your employees’ mental health. In a KFF poll, 45% of U.S. adults said the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.
To address this, it’s important to cultivate a culture of empathy and support within your company. Everybody is struggling in their own way and it’s important to support each other. Share self-care ideas and keep one another productive and engaged. To minimize burnout, HR teams can create a company guideline to create healthy boundaries for working remotely.
Companies who have not yet done so could start offering mental health benefits and resources to support employees. Access to licensed therapists might be precisely the support your employees need. If not, offering a company-wide mental health day or week off to recharge could work wonders.
While physical and mental health are important, the most significant distress employees face today is their financial health. Every single American’s personal finances have been touched by the pandemic in one way or another.
The need for financial wellness is seeing an uptick and this may well emerge post-COVID as one of the most important workplace benefits you can offer your employees as they look to recover and plan for their financial futures.
To support employees, offer Total Financial Wellness, a comprehensive solution built to lead all employees to financial success on their own terms at every stage of life. Financial wellness benefits that provide a combination of a digital platform and access to experienced financial advisors can give employees the guidance and resources they need to help them through their personal finances.
Having access to a Total Financial Wellness program helps employees take care of themselves financially, and when employees are more confident about their finances, they will be more productive and engaged.
So what will workplace benefits look like in the near future? Forward-thinking companies will respond to their employees’ needs and offer support in the areas that matter most: physical, mental, and financial health.