The year 2020 was like no other in modern history, as the COVID-19 pandemic and affiliated economic crisis upended everything we thought we knew. As you consider your options for adding employee benefits in 2021, think about what you can offer to help them stay safe and healthy, both mentally and physically, as we continue to navigate these challenging times.
Flexible Work Options
In spring 2020, businesses around the globe shuttered in-person operations seemingly overnight. You may be open for business again, but things will not be back to normal until late in 2021. As much as possible, offer your employees work from home and/or flexible scheduling options. This will make it easier to maintain social distancing protocols and show your team that you’re concerned about their health and wellness.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a secondary mental health crisis. Anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide are on the rise. One of the biggest ways you can support your employees is through an EAP that includes mental health counseling. It’s also helpful to provide access to online resources that can help your employees manage their emotions during this time, such as articles and videos from credible mental health professionals.
Telehealth services for both physical and psychological issues will continue to be an important part of healthcare in 2021 and beyond. This allows employees to seek non-emergency treatment from their own homes without needing to visit an urgent care center or other facilities. Telehealth was already growing in popularity, but the pandemic super-charged its growth.
This is an excellent time to revisit your PTO (paid time off) policies. Merging sick time and vacation time was popular pre-pandemic, but this can encourage employees to come in sick rather than “waste” what could otherwise be a vacation day. So it may be better to separate sick time from vacation time. Or you could follow the lead of some forward-thinking companies and convert to an unlimited PTO policy.
Many working parents are struggling with childcare issues as their kids attend school remotely, and a lot of childcare facilities are closed. If you’re able to provide onsite childcare for parents working at your facility or virtual activities for kids at home with their parents working remotely, this can take a huge burden off your employees. Some employers are even offering tutoring sessions to help kids keep up with their schoolwork.
If you’re not in a position to offer additional employee benefits, especially to new or temporary workers, consider partnering with a staffing agency. Many agencies provide a variety of benefits to employees who remain on their payroll while working for a client.
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