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Pandemic-Driven Changes to Employee Benefits

Pandemic-Driven Changes to Employee Benefits

This has been a year of unprecedented changes to the workforce. With open enrollment quickly approaching, many employers are evaluating which benefits are most important to their employees. As you plan for 2021, here are four benefits trends that should be at the top of your list.

Telemedicine and Virtual Wellness

With so many companies and businesses going fully or partially remote, telemedicine has skyrocketed in popularity. Many commercial healthcare providers and carriers have enhanced their offerings and granted coverage for a variety of telehealth services. While some visits still require patients to be in-person, such as flu shots, others including nurse consultations, certain screenings and counseling can all be done virtually. Expanding telemedicine coverage for your employees can increase employee loyalty and morale, while also decreasing sick leave and presenteeism.

“Telemental health” is a relatively new term for a growing need of mental health services. With more than 76% of employees reporting higher levels of anxiety and depression throughout the pandemic, nearly 80% of companies are expanding mental health service coverage. Providing access to online mental health support resources in addition to lessening out of pocket costs for mental health services are worthwhile investments for organizations of all sizes.

Virtual wellness programming has also grown exponentially during 2020. With chronic conditions increasing the risk of severe illness from COVID-19, comprehensive well-being programs have become front and center for many organizations that historically offered a piecemeal approach to wellness. Developing a customized strategy and implementing outcomes measures have also become more of the norm due to the pandemic. Virtual programming has expanded as well and includes virtual exercise classes and online group meditation, remote cooking demos, and classes on resilience and self-care. Employers are also offering more virtual social gatherings such as coffee talks, show-and tell with family members or pets, trivia time and more time together without a focus on work.

Flexible Time Off and PTO Options

With the pandemic turning into a marathon rather than a sprint, many employees are unsure of what to do with their growing Paid Time Off (PTO) when there is nowhere to physically visit