Payroll

Employee Benefits Trends

December 2, 2020

Employee benefits trends that are pandemic-approved as well. Learn about the trends in employee benefits as we move into 2021.

A screen that says employee benefits and has different benefit-related icons, with trending arrows.

Employee benefits trends change depending on what’s happening. Not surprisingly, the events of the past year have shifted the trends in all aspects of our lives, including business. For example, we’ve all learned how important health is in light of COVID-19. Understandably, this emphasis on health has made its way into the workplace and has landed on our list of trends in employee benefits.

In this article, we’ll discuss which benefits are trending, why they’re so popular, and how you can start implementing these benefits in your own company. First, let’s start by taking a look at how keeping up with what employees want is good for business.

To stay competitive while recruiting new talent and keeping the employees you have, you’ll need to keep up with the most popular employee benefits. When you show employees you care about their wants and needs, they’ll perform better overall. Employees like feeling appreciated. The best way to show appreciation is by providing great, popular benefits.

A whiteboard with the word "employee benefits" written on it. Different arrows point to the various benefits.

Caring about your employees is not only a good rule of thumb in general, but it’s also great for your business’ reputation. Aside from making you more popular with clients, it will also make recruiting new employees easier. Word of mouth and employee referrals are great recruiting tools. Since you’re being a great employer anyway, you may as well reap some of the benefits that come with it as well! Now that we’ve discussed why following employee benefits trends are important and how they help your business, let’s take a look at six trends in employee benefits.

As we mentioned, 2020’s events have made an impact on what’s important to not only employees but everyone. While COVID-19 has shown us the importance of health benefits, quarantine has shown the importance of mental health. Not only this, but mental health issues have become more prominent due to self-isolation.

Quarantine and self-isolation have also brought other issues and needs to light, which we’ll discuss later. All of these trends in employee benefits show us how quickly things can change and how quickly we can all adapt. So, let’s start by discussing how businesses can invest in their employee’s mental health.

Investing In Employee’s Mental Health and Wellbeing

Employee benefits trends include employee mental health programs.

Lately, there’s been a shift to treat mental health as the serious issue that it is. We’ve all recently learned about the importance of mental health services, especially now during the second wave of quarantine. We’re social creatures by nature, so it’s understandable that many people aren’t taking self-isolation and working from home very well.

For many, working from home has become the norm. Aside from the professional isolation, people are also less able to see their friends and family. We all need time to decompress and let loose with loved ones, especially with the additional stress of something like a global pandemic!

So, it’s not surprising that this isolation is having a negative effect on many people’s mental health. Luckily, one of the trends in employee benefits is a bigger focus on mental health services and benefits centered around mental health.

Employers can add mental health services in a variety of ways that vary in cost. One easy method to implement a mental health service is through reimbursement. You reimburse all or a portion of the amount employees spend on mental health services. For some companies, this includes the addition of e-medical services like Doctor on Demand or virtual therapy. With COVID-19 hitting a second wave or in some instances, third wave, these virtual healthcare services will be more valuable than ever.

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Adding PTO or Sick Leave

Again, our culture and country are facing challenges different than any we’ve seen in our lifetimes. So it’s not surprising that businesses are having to adjust their time off or sick leave policies as well. With COVID-19 in addition to the regular flu and colds that circulate around throughout the winter, we could all use a little more time off. Self-isolation and quarantine regulations are adding to these needs. Unlimited PTO is one way to solve this problem.

Here at Journey, we’ve long-supported the concept of unlimited PTO. Although there are many benefits to employers, it’s also a great policy to put into place during a crisis like a pandemic. With everything else going on, the last thing your employees should worry about is how they’re going to feed themselves or their families if they get sick or must take time off to care for another. That’s a very stressful burden to carry around. And of course, stress does diminish the immune system, making one more susceptible to illness.

This trend in employee benefits is great for your employees and their families during a pandemic. They can keep their minds on what matters most because they know you have their back.

a man laying in bed sick with a box of tissues next to him.

Adding Virtual Healthcare Options

With quarantine and social distancing, virtual healthcare isn’t just convenient, it’s necessary. Finding a covered virtual healthcare option for your employees helps them stay socially distanced and healthy. This is a trend in employee benefits that will keep your whole team healthier amid COVID-19.

If insurance only covers in-person visits, your employees may be forced to use this option due to costs. Doctor’s offices and hospitals are high-risk areas for exposure. So, for all of your employee’s best interest (especially if many of them are working in the office), they should avoid these risks. If using an app or other separate service, consider reimbursing your employees or paying a portion of their visit, like a copay. This gives you more options to work with than a traditional healthcare plan or coordinating with insurance.

Here are some options you can look at when considering virtual healthcare options.

Virtual Healthcare Providers:

  • Doctor on Demand: This app easily enables a virtual visit with a healthcare provider for easy contact-free treatment for common visit reasons.
  • Teladoc: One of the first in virtual doctors and maintains a high rating among users and physicians.
  • MeMD: Offers a variety of services ranging from urgent care to talk therapy and is easy to set up and use.

Providing Assistance With Childcare

Two children playing with finger paints. One of the trends in employee benefits is helping with childcare assistance.

Another one of the trends in employee benefits that arose because of the pandemic – providing childcare or help with childcare. Due to social distancing regulations, many daycare centers and schools have closed. This has lead employers to get creative and help their employees that are also parents.

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If you’re able to, help employees by bringing in an on-site daycare option. There are plenty of third-party services you can do this through. As a small business, you’ll likely have few enough children that you’ll still be able to keep them socially distanced as well.

Other employers have gotten even more creative because they’ve had to make the shift to working from home. If employees are parents, it’s likely that their children have to be home due to COVID regulations as well. So, some companies are helping by providing content to keep children busy while their parents work remotely. Basically, any way you can help is useful and beneficial to employees.

Assistance With Internet Providers

As we just mentioned, many companies are having employees work from home. On top of this, they may also have spouses, children, or roommates that are also isolating and working from home. All of this activity can bog down a network or eat up an employee’s data plan. However, since they can’t leave the house for unnecessary entertainment, many also rely on the internet for this as well. While it’s not much of a retreat, it’s at least something to entertain the family.

So, this can become quite a burden for families all using the same connection. This is especially true for those on a metered service like a hotspot or data plan. A situation such as this could add additional unnecessary stress when it comes time to decide which is most important between work or a child’s schoolwork.

Aside from this issue is the potential problem of slow internet. Depending on where your employees live, they may not be able to access high-speed internet services. So, even if it’s just a portion, an internet service reimbursement can be a great benefit to start offering your employees. This benefit also ensures your employees have every tool they need to be as efficient as possible while working from home.

Financial Health

Financial health is hard to maintain and monitor during something like a pandemic. Many people have struggled with finances, so this employee benefits trend is very helpful. Financial stressors are also a major distraction for employees at work. So, helping your employee’s financial health will help them focus on what matters rather than bills.

A few hundred dollar bills on a table with a stethoscope next to it.

One way to help an employee’s finances is to offer learning materials and resources. There are apps to track everything, so you could even encourage a more hands-on approach through various means. Any amount of financial education is useful during a stressful time like this.


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