Benefit Trends in the Time of COVID

This last year has been one of many new experiences. In some instances, it has been a blessing to be able to be home and spend quality time with family, while others may have found this time to be one of the most challenging of their lives. I know for me, having middle school children and working full time from home was not always easy. Between making lunches and taking conference calls and at times trying to quickly turn off my camera while someone inevitably walks in to ask me where their shoes are, I can honestly say it has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I think the most challenging of it all was trying to work while playing part time teacher to my girls who were also struggling with grasping concepts over zoom meetings and interrupting teenagers. 

Because of this new normal, companies have had to be pretty creative with ways to attract and retrain employees. We are all looking for creative ways to engage the workforce while meeting their physical and mental healthcare needs. 

Below are some of the many benefit offerings we see trending in the market. As Human Resource Professionals I hope this list makes you think outside the box with your own companies. It’s Pioneers like you that help change and progress our associate offerings and help companies remain competitive!

  1. Expanded Child Care and Tutoring Services – According to SHRM “more employers are stepping up to provide or subsidize supervision for their workers’ children, whether from a tutor at home, in a study pod with co-workers or in a converted meeting room at the office”. 1
  2. More Flexible Work Arrangements – With having to take care of sick family members or having to wait in long lines for COVID tests and/or vaccines, companies are being more and more flexible with allowing more personal time or paid sick time to take care of the more unconventional situations during this pandemic and it shows. According to Zenefits, 73% of employees said flexible work arrangements increased their satisfaction at work.2
  3. Virtual Health Care –Whether companies add this benefit as part of a vendor package or through their own onsite medical office, allowing a virtual visit not only adds flexibility for the associate worried about the virus, it also makes good financial sense for employers. Net cost savings is estimated at $19-$121 per telemedicine visit, depending on where the employee would have otherwise sought care.3
  4. Additional Mental Health and Wellness Benefits – Companies are becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that its ok to not be ok during this challenging time. Stress management programs, like flex time, access to fitness centers and personal training, support for elder care and EAP’s help to promote work-life balance, help engage associates and help to mitigate the impact of long-term stress. 
  5. Entertainment and Delivery Expenses – (Secretly my favorite and I cross my fingers that this becomes a more mainstream offering!) This includes such things as subscriptions for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well as delivery services like Instacart. Being that most of us were either social distancing or quarantining for part or most of 2020, having services like these to help maintain some sort of normalcy or provide entertainment during this stressful time can do wonders for associates mental health. 
  1. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/employers-and-child-care.aspx 
  1. https://www.zenefits.com/workest/7-big-statistics-about-the-state-of-flexible-work-arrangements/
  1. https://www.fshealth.com/blog/29-statistics-about-telemedicine-healthcare 
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