The global pandemic was something none of us saw coming, and it threw our lifestyles and work structure into disarray. Even the most well-thought-out strategic goals went out of the window as the lockdown brought life to a grinding halt.
The pandemic, coupled with the great resignation, is forcing employers to rethink how they attract and retain talents in their companies. One of the primary strategies that have undergone a major transformation in this process is employee benefits. With the increasing priority of employee benefits, several businesses are being forced to restructure their employee benefits strategies to meet the needs of their employees. It includes features like adopting hybrid and remote work models to ensure an accelerated digital transformation and allowing for more asynchronous work options to enable increased flexibility for employees.
Mental Health Support
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on employee benefits, but one of the areas which have been greatly emphasized is mental health. This change has been propelled by two primary factors –
- Employees have moved past the traditional stigma around seeking mental health services and embracing telehealth options as a way to treat mental health issues.
- Employers are recognizing that to retain talent, especially amongst Gen Z and the Millenials, mental health benefits need to be prioritized.
According to a survey by Lyra Health, nearly one-third or 31% of the workers surveyed had felt a decline in their mental health over the past year. Furthermore, 84% of the workers surveyed reported having felt at least one mental health challenge over the past year. Thus, mental health represents a serious and growing concern for employee well-being.
This has led to employers opting for newer approaches to dealing with the issue of mental health. These approaches include focusing on fitness and nutrition and providing subscriptions to online exercise courses, counseling sessions, and subscription to mindfulness apps, etc. to boost the employee’s overall well-being.
The pandemic also revealed how fragile financial security can be in the face of an impending crisis. The PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey found that 63% of the employees said that their financial stress has increased since the beginning of the pandemic. This reflects a serious issue as financial stress negatively affects employee productivity, engagement, and mental health. It is primarily due to the fact that most employees like to save for life milestones, retirement, or medical emergencies. Their inability to save adequately leads to severe emotional stress and affects their overall productivity.
Hence, the COVID-19 pandemic accentuated the need for benefits to help employees effectively manage their finances and adapt to challenging times. Reduced financial stress also means reduced emotional stress for the employees, which enables them to focus on their work and boost their overall productivity.
Financial wellness benefits packages can include a range of perks such as an improved retirement fund, increased bill reimbursement, fund for medical emergencies, college assistance fund, etc. However, it is crucial to understand the needs of each generation and provide them with a financial benefits package that caters to their goals.
Hybrid Work Structure
Post the pandemic; the traditional physical work structure experienced a transition to remote, work-from-home arrangements. As the pandemic eased, both companies and employees were reluctant to go back to the old ways, having seen the benefits that remote work can offer.
Hybrid work is a flexible work arrangement where the employee has the autonomy of opting between both remote and in-office working according to their own productivity. A recent survey found that 78% of the employees of India prefer to work exclusively in hybrid mode over a complete shift to in-office work.
Most employers have adopted a shift to hybrid work schedules as increasing technological advancement has made it easier for teams to collaborate and work effectively irrespective of the remote locations of their employees. Further, a hybrid work structure provides your employees with increased freedom to choose when and where they want to work according to their needs, leading to reduced stress and improved productivity.
It’s time that companies understand that hybrid work is indeed the need of the hour to boost productivity while enhancing the flexibility and job satisfaction of employees.
After working from home for the majority of the past two years, most employees realized that they are at their most productive during a specific time of the day. However, such timing may not always comply with the traditional 9-5 work hours. This has led to increasing demand for greater workplace flexibility where employees can do the job in a way that suits their schedule and lifestyle.
A flexible working arrangement may include an array of benefits such as –
- Flexible working hours or shifts
- Paid time off
- Part-time employment options
- Medical or family leave
- Caregiver leave
- Remote working options, etc.
A Flexjob survey by Better Workplaces Better World found that of the employees surveyed, 52% of employees tried to negotiate a flexible work arrangement with their employer. Further, 25% of the employees were willing to take a pay cut of 10% – 20% for a more flexible work arrangement. This reflects the growing importance of flexibility for an employee.
However, for flexible work arrangements to work, employers need to have a broader approach beyond traditional work-life norms. Offering flexibility is not a one-way street, and it’s essential to understand that the returns may be slow, but would definitely come in the long run.
Home Office Reimbursements
There is no doubt that the work-from-home trend has become an inevitable part of the post-pandemic work culture. This makes it the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the employees have all the necessary facilities that they need to ensure the smooth functioning of work.
According to CBRE South Asia Pvt Ltd, over 73% of companies in India are planning to establish a hybrid working model for their employees. This marks a drastic shift to a more flexible working arrangement for the employees.
Employees who work from home full-time or part-time require a home office arrangement that meets their job needs and enables them to work efficiently. So, it is no surprise that several companies are beginning to offer reimbursement to employees for setting up their home office. Some types of home office reimbursements that employers can offer include laptops, tablets, workstations, chairs, and high-speed internet connectivity.
The pandemic has transformed the way employers perceive employee benefits and how employees prioritize it. Considering the increased number of resignations and the rising costs of hiring new employees since the pandemic, employers need to find better ways to retain their workforce. Thus, the need of the hour is for employers to offer a balanced employee benefits package to boost productivity, improve job satisfaction and retain employees in an increasingly competitive work environment.
Batik is an employee benefits marketplace built on a mission to help employers elevate the benefits offered to employees. Batik allows employers to access benefits across various categories such as finance, insurance, gift cards, health, fitness, etc at exclusive prices that suit the needs of each generation. Employers can provide benefits with just one click and support their workforce’s well-being with zero administrative burdens. In simple words, Batik is like an Amazon marketplace.
Let Batik do the heavy lifting and offer flexible benefits to your employees that not only prepare them for all kinds of workplace challenges but also help you, as an employer, create an interactive and happy work environment.