Business anytime and anywhere has been the mantra for the better part of the last two years. COVID-19 has served as a disruption to not only how business is performed, but also reshaped where business is performed for your employees. The shift to working from home was fast and furious creating new and different challenges for a workforce that is now remote. As the new challenges surfaced, employees are yearning for perks and benefits that overlap with spending more time at home.
Your employees could be working from any combination of the coffee shop, at-home, the beach, another state, and the list goes on. Given the variety of work environments, many unique benefits are gaining traction and popularity in 2022 to better accommodate remote working employees.
1. Pet Insurance
The additional time spent at home has allowed your workforce to welcome a new furry member to their household. This life-changing purchase or adoption is exciting and many times, the cost of care for routine visits or emergency trips to the vet can create financial burden. Scruffy has unique needs just like us with various treatments that can quickly total into the four or five figure range. The shear cost is enough to give any pet parent a little reluctance when staring at a bill that large.
One in Five households acquired a cat or a dog since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic 1
Believe it or not, there are insurance plans to protect your furry family members, too! Providing financial peace of mind while safeguarding our 4-legged companions against accidents and sickness is what all pet parents desire. Unforeseen events are inevitable, but trips to the dog park or extended walks around the neighborhood should be enjoyed stress free. Pet insurance is a protection strategy that will ease your employees anxiety and position your organization as forward-thinking and culture centric.
Offered alongside the traditional benefits of medical insurance, dental insurance and vision insurance, coverage for pets is a growing trend as the pandemic continues to keep your workers at-home. Pet insurance is a unique offering that can further enhance a benefits package as employees welcome or grapple with the idea to purchase a pet.
2. Gym / At-Home Memberships
Employing a happy and healthy workforce has a direct impact on overall productivity for your business. Many employees dedicate time and financial means to better themselves physically, leading to fewer sick days and lowered risk of chronic health conditions. Though many have ditched the idea of going physically to a gym location, at-home programs and the purchase of exercise equipment has dramatically gained popularity.
3 in 4 people prefer at-home workouts over going to a gym 2
Have a meeting in 30 minutes? No problem! The benefits of working out from home provide the flexibility and convenience to determine the right schedule for physical activity as time permits. Squeezing in a workout provides the option for your employees to invest in themselves and better their overall work performance. The growing benefits and newfound motivation is providing positive results and a work life balance that is here to stay.
Though attendance in gym locations has suffered, the importance of physical activity remains regardless of where its performed. The amenities offered at the gym many times cannot be replicated within an at-home gym and the overall community experience is unmatched. The gym is still a great option, and each employee will determine the best method, but the encouragement and support from their employer generates a special culture for success.
Investing in your employee's well-being is a strategy worth exploring to promote healthy lifestyles and sustain continued growth.
3. Mental Health
Total well-being is at the forefront of the employee benefits strategy for many employers, and rightfully so. Promoting physical activity is only half of the story – the other half is acknowledging and addressing the mental health of your workforce. What started as a work from home experiment, has only continued to remain an ongoing reality. The pandemic further exacerbated employee: stress, substance abuse, financial hardship, grievances, and marriage disagreements to list a few.
2 in 5 reports struggling with mental or behavioral health 3
How can an employer address the growing adversity experienced by their employee population? Introduce an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). A work-based program that is completely confidential and available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist in a robust number of growing worries. The Employee Assistance Program is the perfect place for employees to receive professional assistance whenever and wherever they need it most. The paternal instinct of human nature always wants the best for others and employers are being asked to become a champion of mental health more now than ever before.
4. Identity Theft
Have you ever received a purchase receipt email thanking you for an order you never placed? The instant reaction is panic coupled with hope that the funds were not drafted from your bank account. Sometimes the funds are untouched, however sometimes the funds have been paid to an unknown source. From that point, the time drain begins with determining how the theft happened in the first place and ways to prevent it in the future.
Identity theft and fraud happens every 14 seconds 4
Often times, discovery of threats and any malice account activity can go unnoticed for weeks and even months. Unraveling the damaging effects creates competing priorities for your employees that can cascade into the completion of important work tasks and home life. More importantly, the personal rollercoaster of emotions of being victimized can have a lasting financial, emotional, physical, and social toll on your workforce.
The growth of the digital era has been nothing short of remarkable, but this growth has provided identity thieves a plethora of opportunity to exploit. Your employees love payday and have a feeling of accomplishment for the hard work they did to earn that paycheck. Protecting those funds as well as personal information such as: social security numbers, credit card numbers, medical insurance ID number and driver license number is essential.
The growing prevalence of identity theft will only continue, but with proper protection and monitoring services, your employees can shield the threats and feel good about personal information with identity theft benefits.
5. Work from Home Reimbursements
The shift from the office environment to working from home inherently has increased expenses incurred by your workforce. Allocating a designated space at home can include buying a new desk, office chair, printer and a second monitor to increase productivity. Though the physical setup can range from basic to elaborate, one aspect that is a necessity is access to the internet. Many of your employees are already paying for internet services before the work from home shift, but majority of internet usage can be attributed to executing work functions.
The average cost for internet is $64 per month 5
Technology is essential in this day and age to complete tasks and remain productive. Easing the transition and providing the right tools to get the job done builds team morale and appreciation. Though working from home can be viewed as a benefit itself, aiding in technology expenditures is a growing ask from your employees.
The evolution of the workplace has been expedited and the needs of your employees are shifting, too. Challenges create opportunities to think outside of the box and the pandemic has allowed the benefits offered to employees to expand. The traditional benefits will always be the most sought after, but the non-traditional environment has generated the idea to look at unconventional benefits. Open lines of communication with your employees will uncover ideas and the best path forward to address a benefits gap. After all, sharing in success together is the recipe for a happy workforce and a productive business.
At Hegarty Consulting group, our mission is to Share in Success Together with you. We guide Minnesota-based businesses to Share in Success by leveraging comprehensive and high-valued benefits that empower both your organization and people to thrive now and in the future. No matter where you are on the benefits journey, our guidance will help you arrive at the envisioned destination. Ready to embark on the benefits journey together?