Author: Ada Tai, MBA, CPHR, C.Mgr.
Co-Author: Earl Shindruk, B. Comm, President of Optimax Benefits
Recently, the global pandemic situation has caused businesses a great deal of anxiety.
“What should we do if our company is not ready to operate remotely?” (Strategic Planning)
“What policies and procedures should we have in place if our employees cannot work during a pandemic?” (Business Continuity Planning)
“What are the steps of restructuring the business?” (Change Management)
These are the common and understandably urgent riddles I have been helping organizations to solve in the midst of this crisis. Staying up to date with the news, being a champion for my clients, students, family and friends during this time, I found myself a bit flat after four weeks. However, I know I am not in this alone. Many employees share similar feelings.
Earl Shindruk, a seasoned Benefits Broker, has seen the ups and downs of our economy and its impact on employee benefits. “Business leaders are fighting to stay in business. Discussing employee’s needs for healthcare benefits is probably not on top of their mind,” said Earl during our recent conversation about the best practices for employers to adopt. “However, this is the time where employee benefits can become very helpful for businesses to deal with employee concerns and manage workplace issues.” Our recommended benefits items are highlighted below.
1. Physical Health Related Benefits
2. Mental Health Related Benefits:
All of us need to pay special attention to our own mental health and that of our loved ones during the pandemic. Stress is something that affects us in different and unique ways. We should not be hesitant to reach out for help when we need it.
Most benefit plans include some counselling and psychological services that can be accessed during these critical times. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) also offer help in times of crisis and can give workers someone to speak with when they are experiencing emotional, mental or financial difficulties and other issues.
Wellness classes are offered online or via video by many providers. Counselling services also fall into this category now. Some companies organize “daily wellness hours” using teleconferencing to encourage their workers to benefit from some physical exercises.
Having access to sick days or other forms of paid time off can give workers peace of mind, especially when they need to take care of sick family members.
3. Career Health Related Benefits:
Working from home saves us hours in a day from the daily logistics and commute. Although work may be slow at this moment, our learning should not be. When we are back to business in the near future, companies will still need qualified talent to rebuild their operations and will seek ways to make those operations more efficient.
This is a time that requires all hands on deck. Employers and their HR teams should be able to explain their benefits and perks to calm employees while they are completing work and taking care of their loved ones. Even if your business needs to temporarily lay people off, consider continually offering benefits if possible. Having a conversation with your employee benefits providers, such as insurance companies and benefit brokers, can be a good use of your time.