How is Coronavirus Impacting Employee Benefits?
Authored By Ayesha Rajan, Research Analyst at Vikriti Management Consulting
On August 14th, Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, gave an interview with GZero in which he said the role of Human Resources in a company is becoming less and less transactional and is resetting to fully utilize the potential of Human Resources. In fact, HR has been at the forefront of work-related changes throughout the pandemic. This realized potential has given HR departments the opportunity to shift towards becoming an architect of employee experiences; this shift includes “rethinking talent requirements, capturing what was learned about individuals and organizations during the course of this pandemic, and even learning and growing in a world in which remote working has to be combined with working back in the office or the manufacturing facility [in] a world where incentives needs to be rethought and where employee experiences need to reflect a very different reality.”
Arguably the most important benefit a company can provide their employees is healthcare and wellness benefits. Health insurance is, of course, standard with most full-time jobs but living in the age of pandemic, preventative care is even more important than before. A vast majority of coronavirus patients that suffer complications have comorbid conditions that make it much harder to fight off the virus. As a result, most companies are taking a positive approach to this change by providing more tools to improve diet and nutrition education and even rolling out more ways to participate in fitness related activities such as Zoom yoga sessions and walking/running challenges. Preventative care tools as a part of health benefits have been needed for a long time and even though it took a pandemic for it to become more mainstream, this is ultimately a positive change for employees.
Another benefit that is showing up as a result of the pandemic is increased flexibility from employers on how work is done. This means that the standard 9-5 is no longer required for many companies; of course, meetings still need to be scheduled but if an employee thrives with late work otherwise or working from 12-8, many employers are letting people do what works best for them. Additionally, many employers are embracing remote work and giving their employees the option to continue with remote work even when office-work has resumed. With many employees being parents to children who are beginning distance learning, this is a very important and helpful change because they can be more available to help their children adapt to new learning environments.
As Covid-19 continues to change the face of society and businesses, it is necessary for us all to adapt to curveballs that will come our way. However, some changes that have happened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have not been all bad. Working from home has created opportunities for a better work-life balance that many thought would never be possible and, as a result, businesses have also adapted to improve employee satisfaction. The benefits of integrating wellness into health benefits and adding flexibility to scheduling have vastly increased employee satisfaction and productivity. These developments are very promising steps towards more comprehensive benefits for employees.