For years, workplace wellness was defined by benefits like health insurance, gym membership reimbursements, and budgets for wellness-related purchases. However, in the wake of COVID-19, your employees are struggling with a new set of problems—from making ends meet during an economic downturn to juggling family and work to managing historic levels of stress.
In response, we believe that the landscape of wellness benefits will shift, and employees will increasingly want and need support when it comes to their finances, families, and mental health. We’ll explore each of these categories in this post.
Financial wellness benefits
When asked what they feel causes them the most stress, employees cite financial matters more than any other life stressors combined. This financial stress costs employers an estimated $250 billion per year in lost productivity and absenteeism.
The pandemic has only exacerbated this existing problem due to the economic downturn and financial instability from job losses. Given this, you can see why it’s not enough to offer a 401K plan. While saving for retirement is important, your employees are struggling to figure out how they will pay rent, buy groceries, and cover credit card bills today. You can support them by offering benefits like:
- Debt repayment programs
- Financial wellness platforms
- Educational resources
Nearly six in 10 employers say that family-friendly benefits have been necessary to their talent strategy over the past three years to a great or very great extent—and that number is expected to grow to 77% in the next three years. It’s no surprise why.
Whether it’s an LGBTQ couple going through the adoption process or a working parent with a five-year-old, all families are struggling in some form during the pandemic. Regardless of the issue, they’re taking a toll on the wellness of both individuals and couples alike. But there’s an opportunity for employers to step in and help by offering family-focused benefits, such as:
- Diverse family-forming options
- Return to work support
- Holistic child care assistance
- Extended and expanded leave
Mental health benefits
Paychex recently conducted a study of more than 1,000 employees, which found that the overall mental health of employees has suffered during the pandemic. The study also found that employees are afraid to discuss those effects with their bosses.
Not only are these unaddressed mental health issues harming the health of your employees, but it also costs your business. Some estimates suggest that major depression alone costs employers $31 billion to $51 billion per year in lost productivity. That’s why you need to ensure your workplace is a safe space for your employees’ mental health issues—especially now that they’re isolated at home with limited access to friends, family, and professional help. A few examples of mental health benefits you can offer include:
- Diverse options for therapy
- Flexible time off and scheduling
- Comprehensive mental health platforms
- Access to communities
Now is the time to invest in employee wellness. We’re at an inflection point when it comes to the types of wellness benefits your workforce is looking for, making this the perfect opportunity to rethink your offerings. If you want to learn more about the best practices, strategies, and tools that we recommend for each category of wellness benefits, download our ebook: “Redefining Wellness Benefits: How to Take a Holistic Approach to Employee Well-Being.”