As employees are called back to workplaces and another school year soon begins, many people are settling into a new kind of normal. To best ease this transition, employers are spending time revising workplace policies and practices and rethinking their existing employee benefits programs.
According to a new whitepaper titled Transition Forward by Mercer Canada, 80% of Canadian employers are confident that they have the right programs in place to support all aspects of their employee’s wellbeing. That includes mental, physical, emotional, and financial wellness.
The same report also found that 75% of businesses say their policies adequately address the health and safety issues of the new COVID-19 workplace. What’s equally reassuring is that the majority (63%) of survey respondents are also investing or planning to invest in additional wellbeing offerings.
Curious to learn which employee benefits they are prioritizing for this new post-pandemic reality? Below are the top five investments that employers are focusing on in the short and long term.
Top 5 employee benefits for a post-pandemic workplace
- Flexible work options (37%) – Not everyone wants to rush back into an office right now. To establish trust in new policies and adhere to social distancing requirements, many businesses are allowing their employees flexible work options. That could be alternating days in the office and at-home or just allowing employees to strike their own balance between office and remote work. This not only allows for stronger health practices but also offers the employee a better work-life balance.
[Read more: The Benefits of a Remote Workplace]
- Mental health and wellness offerings (30%) – Offering mental health coverage has been on the minds of employers for some time. Today, with higher levels of social isolation and economic uncertainty due to COVID-19, more people are suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety. That’s why it’s more important now than ever before for employers to ensure their benefits offering supports mental health.
[Read more: How Your Benefits Plan Can Help Employees with Mental Health]
- Digital wellness and telemedicine (28%) – Even before the pandemic struck, employees were asking for virtual healthcare services. Now, in a time when many would rather avoid visits to hospitals and medical clinics, telemedicine is becoming even more valuable. Virtual consultations are more efficient and safer for employees. And employers that offer these more forward-thinking services are better positioned to attract top talent.
[Read more: Employees want virtual healthcare. Only 9% of employers offer it.]
- Health spending account (20%) – Offering a health spending account within your benefits plan provides more flexibility for your employees. It’s an additional perk which gives them the freedom to choose what health-related services are most important to them. So whether that’s a gym membership, extra dental work, or mental health services, they decide. A health spending account also provides great tax advantages for both employees and employers.
[Read more: Health Care Spending Accounts for Small & New Businesses]
- Financial wellness programs (14%) – Many experts predict that the economic hit from the pandemic will last a long time. With so much uncertainty looming, many employees (much like businesses) are looking to re-assess their financial plans. Offering financial planning services can become an extra perk that employees appreciate and value. Having financial advice and clarity will ease worries and help them feel more confident and optimistic about their futures.
[Read more: Financial Wellness: The New Must-Have Employee Benefit]
Considering new employee benefits? We’re here to help.
With a new normal, comes new challenges. As we all continue to navigate this pandemic, employers need to take some time to re-think how their benefits plans are supporting their employees.
If you’re thinking about revising your offering, or want to learn more about one of the options above, please reach out to our team at BenefitDeck. We’ll share sound advice while making sure your team gets the most value from every dollar spent.