How the pandemic is changing employee benefits
The pandemic has forced companies to reassess their service offerings over the past year. In order to better support employees in these difficult times, policies had to change. This has resulted in major improvements in employee benefits, many of which will continue once the pandemic is over.
Focus on employee well-being
Employee well-being has always been an area where companies don’t provide much support, if any. The pandemic has forced that to change, with mental health now at the forefront of many discussions. A recent study by SHRM showed that 42% of employers had improved support for employee health and well-being in the past six months, with mental health options at the top of the list. In addition to mental health, fitness and nutrition are just as important. Businesses can contribute to the overall well-being of employees by offering subscriptions to online fitness classes, cooking classes, and mindfulness apps.
Home office refunds
Businesses must reimburse employees for home office items such as laptops or tablets, desks, chairs, and improved Internet access. Whether employees are working remotely full-time or part-time, they need a home office setup that meets their needs. A well-equipped workspace also benefits employers, as it helps employees be more productive and focus on their work.
Increased flexibility for caregivers
Working parents have faced great challenges during the pandemic, having to juggle their own professional responsibilities while helping their children in virtual school. To support parents, companies have implemented changes such as offering emergency childcare leave and flexible working hours.
More flexibility for paid leave
More than half of employers probe have changed their leave policies due to the pandemic, adding carry-over options for paid time off or unused vacation days, paid time off for any reason and the ability to borrow paid time off not yet won.
Business travel insurance
When business travel resumes, it will be more risky than before the pandemic. Businesses should consider providing comprehensive travel insurance that includes health care benefits for any employee traveling for work. Providing insurance helps give employees a sense of security and protection knowing that they will be taken care of wherever they are in the world. Co-founders of SafetyWing, Sondre Rasch and Sarah Sandnes, put it brilliantly: insurance is a safety net for travelers. In today’s unpredictable world, this is more necessary than ever.
Goodbye flashy perks
Let’s face it, the flashy perks never really paid off. Sure, the free food is good and the ping pong tables and game rooms were fun for a minute, but at the end of the day perks like this often tried to make up for a poor work culture.