As distancing measures continue into the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people and businesses are exploring the best ways to adjust. Many workplaces have transitioned to a virtual setting, essential businesses have put new safety protocols in place, and employees have adapted to a different kind of work/life balance. With this rapidly changing environment, people may not be aware that their employee benefits offer some of the best resources for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Right now, this challenge presents an opportunity. People are actively looking for resources that will help them through the pandemic, so it’s a good time to spotlight the employee benefits that will help them the most.
4 Ways to Maximize Employee Benefits
Benefits communication is key. Oftentimes, people simply need a reminder that they have a wealth of benefits at their disposal and ways to get the most out of their benefits during these uncertain times. Work toward optimal health and wellness by highlighting perks that are already included in employee benefits.
Don’t Distance from Healthcare
Although physical distancing precautions are still in place, this is not the time to distance from the doctor. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is an understandable priority, but it is important to also maintain overall health with regular appointments and checkups.
Fear of contracting the coronavirus may cause people to be afraid to visit their doctor or clinic in person. To alleviate this fear, clinics and hospitals are taking extra precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 so that people can continue with their regular checkups and immunization schedules.
With stay-at-home orders in place, individuals can maintain their health by going virtual. Telemedicine services offer care from the comfort of home and have become an important tool to keep people safe. Patients have become more comfortable with using telemedicine during COVID-19 and according to a survey conducted by doctor.com, over 80% will continue to use this service into the future.
Use engaging videos, company-wide emails, or intranet messaging to remind employees about the importance of maintaining their health with regular visits in-person, online, or telemedicine visits with a health care provider.
Utilize Company-Provided Resources
With new demands piling up due to COVID-19, people may need extra support managing work and life challenges. Company-provided resources like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and health advocacy services are particularly useful for assisting with things like childcare resources, financial advice, counseling services, legal counsel, and more — and come at no cost to the employee.
Wellness programs, smoking cessation, stress management, and similar resources are designed to help people build healthy habits, which are much needed during difficult times. These are the types of resources that can be utilized to manage the challenges of a pandemic and stay on track with health care goals.
Companies can develop communication strategies to remind employees to use these benefits. Consider sending a monthly wellness newsletter, using Yammer to post information on these programs, or sending emails reminding employees about their free benefits.
Prioritize Mental Health
Added to the fear of contracting the coronavirus are the numerous changes people encounter with everyday life. All of this takes a toll on mental health. For instance, according to the American Psychological Association, stress about the economy is up 34% from 2019. Mental health affects physical health, too — a Pew Research Center survey found that one in five Americans experience a physical reaction when thinking about the pandemic.
Employees can turn to their benefits for mental health support. Most medical plans include comprehensive mental health services, which can be accessed from the doctor’s office or through online appointments. Many telemedicine services also include mental health.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to remind employees of their mental health benefits, tools, and resources. Make sure employees know the company’s commitment to mental health by offering:
- Monthly wellness challenges
- Subsidized mental health copays
- Virtual yoga or meditation sessions
- Stress-reduction techniques
Use Employee Benefits to Stay Prepared
Life can be hard to predict and even more so in the midst of a pandemic. The solution is not to predict but to be prepared.
Remind employees to elect benefits such as short-term disability, accident insurance, and life insurance plans, which will protect their financial futures and the wellbeing of their loved ones. Retirement contributions, a Health Savings Account, and Flexible Spending Accounts are other useful tools that provide flexibility and safeguard finances.
Employees can rest assured knowing that they have a plan in place when they implement these benefits.
Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone. For help with benefits communication and virtual tools such as videos and benefit microsites, Communication Partners has you covered. View our products and work with us to receive custom benefit guides that will help employees get the most out of their health and wellness resources.