Estimated reading time: 3 minutes and 36 seconds
Last year around this time, everyone was busy setting plans into motion to hit new goals and move business forward. Meanwhile, a global pandemic was simmering under the radar and none of us could have anticipated the challenges ahead.
In many ways, the impact of COVID-19 on businesses has varied. While some struggled to keep their doors open, others pivoted strategies to stay afloat. For most organizations, new health mandates forced an overnight shift to remote work, which left teams scrambling to keep business going as usual. And while some employees welcomed the new work-at-home environment, others suffered through long bouts of social isolation and found it difficult to remain healthy and productive.
While there’s mixed optimism on the horizon about what 2021 will bring, many businesses are staying open-minded and flexible about longer-term remote work opportunities. And with that, demands for employee benefits are changing.
As the pandemic continues to impact businesses everywhere, here’s what we believe will be the top employee benefits trends in 2021.
The 5 Must-Have Employee Perks for 2021
- Virtual care services – Even with the promise of COVID-19 vaccines rolling out, social distancing is here to stay for a while. Not only do healthcare providers continue to discourage on-site visits, but most people find it much easier and faster to check-in with doctors, psychiatrists, and other healthcare professionals from the comforts of their homes. An employee benefits plan that offers telemedicine or virtual wellness services will be an attractive perk for at-home professionals in 2021 and well beyond.
- Mental health support – There’s no denying that the last year has been stressful for everyone. While the risk of contracting COVID is weighing on people’s minds, many are also facing personal and financial hardships without much support. As lockdowns, curfews, and stay-at-home orders continue to be extended, people are having an increasingly hard time dealing with all the uncertainty. Employees who have access to mental health support will be able to better manage the unknowns ahead while staying healthier and productive.
- Employee assistance programs (EAPs) – Supporting employees through these difficult times should be all-encompassing. After all, each employee will be dealing with different types of struggles. Topping up your benefits offering with an EAPs gives your employee a broad range of counselling and coaching services, as well as a slew of interesting resources from parenting classes and eldercare referrals to weight management and quit-smoking programs. So no matter what type of situation they might be struggling with, they won’t have to look far for support.
- Financial planning services – The full economic impact of COVID-19 is still unknown. Even so, many are fearful about how their investments and financial goals will be affected in the long run. Others are facing situations where they have lost income streams, or their spouses have lost a job. On the other spectrum, some are looking to capitalize on shifting real estate prices, while others are saving for that post-pandemic dream vacation. Regardless, giving your employees access to financial planning services can be a welcomed perk for many employees as we all continue to navigate the ups and downs of this pandemic.
- Health equity considerations – COVID-19 has shaken a lot to the surface, including health equity. The fact is, not everyone has access to the same level of healthcare, but they should. While offering a benefits plan gives all your employees equal access to healthcare and other services, employers can do more to reinforce health equity within the organization. Here are a few thoughts to consider:
- Are you regularly gathering feedback from your employees about your benefits offering? Do all of your employees feel heard?
- Have you helped your people understand their benefits and how to access them?
- Do your employees need help finding primary care providers or specialists?
- Can your employees take time to consult healthcare professionals without being penalized for missing work?
- Are there regional or income-based health concerns that affect your employees?
As more candidates seek employers that prioritize diversity and inclusion, health equity should be a key consideration as you manage and revise your employee benefits in 2021.
Want to stay on top of new employee benefits trends in 2021?
Stay tuned for new articles or browse our resources here. And should you need help revamping your benefits offering in 2021, our team at BenefitDeck is always available to help.