The pandemic couldn’t have been predicted and neither could the profound effect that it would have on businesses and the change on employees work. Even the most detailed plans wouldn’t have predicted the impact that would have on how and where people work.
Employers have had to evaluate there employee benefit offering as a result of tougher financial pressures or in response to homeworking and the focus on health and wellbeing. The need for benefits that connected people to purpose and accomplishment accelerated as the pandemic became the driver for employers to introduce flexible and remote working, whilst reimagining how appreciation could be given in a new remote working world.
The evolution of benefits
Benefit programs have remained unchanged for many years. The benefits that were on offer to an employee became predictable, possibly deemed unimportant by employers and it was uncommon to see employee benefits tailored to meet workplace needs. It’s likely that before 2020 there was an acknowledgement that benefits needed to evolve and develop.
The pandemic has highlighted several key things, none more important than the need to include health and wellbeing as a key feature of any future benefits strategy. We must make people feel more protected and put health and wellbeing at the forefront of our mind moving forward.
Employee benefits that would have been impressive before the pandemic, such as flashy in-house gyms, gourmet cafeterias or even a rock-climbing wall have become increasingly insignificant. Now it’s more about what employers can do remotely to support their employees’.
Via Vita telephone helplines have come into there own during the pandemic, offering virtual and digital health solutions such as telephone counselling support or health advice across a range of medical and wellbeing issues. These services lower costs to the employer compared with more traditional face to face delivery but are equally tangible in terms of demonstrating health outcomes. Additionally, the virtual provision of health and wellbeing could help employers meet their diversity targets by including same sex couples.