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Should COVID-19 Have Any Long-Term Impact on Your Benefit Offerings?

CoAdvantage- As early as last summer, COVID-19 had already begun prompting employers to re-evaluate their benefit offerings. Should you do the same?

According to one report, as many as one in five employers have been dropping coverage or considering doing so. Twice that number (40%) have taken the opposite route, saying they view benefits as more important than ever.

Aside from the obvious need for health coverage during a pandemic, benefits can alleviate employee stress that erodes engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. The MetLife 2020 Employee Benefit Trends report says that two-thirds of employees are feeling more stressed than before the pandemic, but they also found that a “comprehensive benefits package” is one of the top three drivers of holistic well-being for employees.

That’s because, as the study’s authors write, “Meaningful employer support and resources can help employees better manage [related stressors].”

But there’s another reason why employers may be viewing insurance offerings as increasingly important, this one with longer-term implications: workforce resilience.

Managing disruption and upheaval in the workplace often relies on access to adequate support and resources. Comprehensive benefits packages can strengthen worker resilience in the face of major disturbances, and the COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect illustration.

·   Good health coverage means access to better care and, hopefully, results in faster recovery.
·   Mental and financial wellness programs and Employee Assistance Programs can help employees deal with the stress of trying to maintain work-life balance. This has been a problem during the pandemic: MetLife reports that 58% of employees who have been struggling with work and life blending while remote working said their employer does not offer mental and financial wellness programs that meet their needs.
·   Flex working options are also likely to turn into lasting change, with more and more companies shifting to indefinite or long-term remote work arrangements. More working options mean more flexibility when dealing with disruption.

If nothing else, just having better benefits can relieve stress for healthy workers worried about getting sick, given that the pandemic has already infected over 25 million Americans as of January 2021.

Getting help with benefits is especially important for smaller employers. If health plans are being viewed with renewed importance, then options that can make Large Group coverage available to small and midsize employers are more important than ever.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.