The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many workplaces to reflect on the benefits that they provide to their employees. As many teams continue to operate remotely, workers seek different types of supports to reflect their new work circumstances.
In particular, COVID-19 has led to increasing burnout symptoms as employees adjust to more life stressors in a new workspace. Furthermore, a growing trend in providing a superb employee experience has increased the popularity of benefits that center employees’ overall wellbeing.
With this context in mind, here are some of the trends in workplace benefits we expect to see in 2021:
Telehealth Care and Services
Telehealth care has been an expanding service over the years as providers seek to offer patients greater access to non-emergency care and services. With social distancing orders and mask mandates in place, many employees are seeking telehealth care to avoid potential COVID-19 exposure and receive medical help virtually.
One report found that 53% of employers are implementing more telehealth benefits this year in response to high demand. As more employees demand safe and accessible ways to receive care, telehealth virtual alternatives are likely to be a growing trend in the workplace.
Expanded Mental Health Benefits
Our current situation has been stressful for many workers. According to a CDC report, more people are experiencing increased anxiety due to worries about their health as well as lifestyle changes triggered by these new circumstances.
Many employers have taken notice of this and are actively seeking solutions. The 2021 Large Employers’ Health Strategy Report and Plan Design Survey showed that 36% of those companies surveyed anticipate increasing access to their mental health services, and 91% will offer mental health counseling.
COVID-19 has been a tricky situation for working parents to navigate. With daycare centers now closed and schools operating virtually, parents are finding it harder than ever to keep up with their work lives while providing adequate care to their children.
Consequently, employers are getting creative and finding ways to improve childcare benefits. Pre-COVID, some employers provided onsite daycare, but now, virtual alternatives are becoming increasingly popular. Some alternatives include virtual after school programs and online babysitting and tutoring services.
Wellness programs are beneficial to employees and employers alike. They can improve the productivity and health of employees while lowering overall healthcare costs for employers. As a result, they have become a growing area of interest in the benefits space.
Wellness programs also contribute largely to providing an elevated employee experience. For example, offering an onsite gym or a wellness stipend grants your team members an outlet for physical exercise, stress relief, and can help them achieve greater work-life balance.
Because onsite gyms aren’t accessible to everyone during the pandemic, companies could consider offering subscriptions to some of the many online exercise apps on the market such as Daily Burn and Obe Fitness.
Flexible scheduling can be a major asset to running a successful team. Benefits of flexible scheduling include improved workplace morale, decreased turnover, and enhanced work-life balance. Employees will feel an increased sense of personal control over their environment while having the time and space to also meet their family and personal needs.
Our current reality has also shown us that flexible scheduling is both necessary and possible. With the right tools and supports, teams can adjust to working in flexible teams.