This year, employees have struggled through the challenges of remote work, virtual school, financial stress, cabin fever, and not knowing what to expect next month or even next week. They lean on their jobs for consistency, stability, and a steady paycheck. This pandemic has put employers in a unique and important position, where their empathy is crucial.
Empathetic employers recognize the humanity of their employees beyond the office walls. While traditional healthcare benefits provide a lot of necessary support, employers can be even more empathetic to employees’ needs by providing additional, more flexible benefits.
Virtual Healthcare and Advocacy
Urgent care centers and emergency rooms are the last places you want to be during a pandemic, not to mention the high medical bills you can expect after a visit. Whether employees get the flu, have put off an elective procedure long enough, or need a prescription for their allergies, there are flexible, non-insured benefits available to help increase healthcare accessibility while lowering costs.
- Telemedicine with a $0 visit fee gives employees and their family a safer way to access treatment for non-emergency medical conditions
- Health advocates help employees navigate their health benefits to find the best, most affordable care options within their network
- Discount pharmacy programs can save employees money on prescription medications, including those not on the formulary
Mental Health Services
The pandemic has taken a toll on employees’ mental health with more than 50% claiming COVID-19 as a factor in their increased anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. While reaching out and showing support directly is important, employers should also provide access to licensed therapists and psychiatrists who can help employees better manage their mental health.
- Telemedicine mental health counseling connects employees to therapists and psychiatrists from the comfort of home, giving the option of talk therapy and prescriptions when deemed necessary without having to wait weeks to get an appointment
- Telephonic Employer Assistance Programs (EAPs) allow employees to call for immediate assistance managing their stress, whether or not its work-related, and are typically free to use
- Counseling hotlines are for employees who want talk therapy without the need for continued sessions, giving space to talk through anxiety, grief, etc. in one-off calls
Relief from Financial Stress
Financial wellness was in the spotlight before the pandemic hit, and has garnered even more attention as 81% of employees attribute COVID-19 to their increased financial stress this year. This stress significantly contributes to poor mental health and decreased productivity. The workplace not only has the ability to provide financial education and advice, but also the power to open access to paychecks before payday.
- On-demand pay platforms allow employees to withdraw a portion of their earned wages before payday, helping them cover expenses and meet payment deadlines without relying on high-interest payday loans
- Financial helplines are available for any financial question or issue an employee has, connecting them to an accredited advisor who can help develop a personalized plan of action
- Financial resource centers provide a more hands-on experience for employees who want to educate themselves on financial matters, including how to buy a house or save for retirement
Be Flexible with Work/Life Balance
Finding work/life balance is incredibly challenging now that the lines between work and home life are blurred. Employees need help finding that balance with resources to take a load off some of the pressures faced at home, from limited childcare options to caring for an aging loved one.
- Caregiver support platforms give employees doubling as caregivers a single place to stay organized, relieving stress with tools to store vital medical information, update the care team, and join virtual support groups
- Referral and resource programs handle the heavy lifting of researching childcare options, house cleaning services, pet boarding, and more so employees aren’t distracted during work hours
- Legal services refer employees to experienced lawyers who provide free and discounted services, helping manage anything from divorce to small claims court representation to creating a will
Benefits are an effective way for employers to show empathy to their workforce during this confusing and complicated time. These flexible benefit options focus on the specific, everyday needs of employees, are accessible whether employees are in the office or at home, and can be opted into at any point in the year, not just open enrollment.
Learn more about providing these non-insured benefits to employer groups by contacting NewSales@NewBenefits.com.