A look at health and wellness investments during COVID

Today, many businesses are trying to navigate the realities of this pandemic. And in a time when managing challenges and dealing with uncertainty is top of mind, some would expect employers to freeze or even reduce benefits plan spending. Interestingly, the opposite is happening. 

53% of Canadian employers are investing in employee benefits 

More than half of Canadian employers are enhancing their employee wellbeing programs right now. This is according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson which polled more than 150 Canadian employers with over 800,000 employees. The survey also noted that an additional 27% of employers are planning to improve their benefits plan offering soon. Only a mere 4% of respondents indicated that they will be reducing their healthcare and wellness benefits. 

Mental health employee benefits are a top priority 

What’s even more reassuring is that employers are not just focusing on physical health. While the survey indicates 57% of employers believe the coronavirus will negatively impact employee wellbeing, 60% said they expect mental-health services and stress management to be one of their biggest priorities over the next six months. And 45% of employers said they’re offering or expanding access to virtual mental-health services right now. 

Demand for virtual wellness services are on the rise 

Since physical distancing became the new norm, telehealth and other virtual services have also seen a surge in demand. The following survey results provide more insight into where Canadian employers are focusing their attention and investments: 

  • 34% of respondents said they’re increasing access to telemedicine.
  • 70% of employers said they’re offering new technology-enabled solutions, such as virtual workouts, to support employees who work from home.
  • 58% of respondents said they’re promoting healthy nutrition and weight management for at-home employees.
  • 56% of respondents providing manager training on engaging a remote workforce to foster greater connecting with employees. 

How do they know what their people want? 57% of employers say they are polling their employees to better understand the needs of various segment groups within the organization. 

Not everyone thinks benefits plan costs will go up

When it comes to benefits plan cost increases, some employers are more optimistic than others. 37% expect overall health and benefits cost increases, while 31% anticipate reduced costs because of the limited access to healthcare and dental professionals during this crisis. Though, there is more of a consensus on the increased use of sick days and group disability benefits. Upwards of 60% of employers expect claims for both these offerings to rise due to the pandemic.

Keeping your employees healthy and happy starts with good advice

During a time that is brimming with so much unknown, one thing is certain– employers care about their employees’ wellbeing and they want them to know it. 

Right now, enhancing an employee benefits plan not only reinforces a company’s core values but also reminds employees that they will be supported during difficult times. With access to more virtual offerings and mental-health services, employees gain a greater sense of health, wellness, and security. This can further fuel their loyalty and commitment to an organization well after this pandemic subsides. 

If you’re thinking about enhancing your benefits plan offering, please email our team at  info@benefitdeck.com. We’d love to set up a call with you and discuss how you can prioritize employee wellness right now while keeping your budget and goals in mind.  

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