COVID-19 has plagued almost the entire planet, which left us with no choice but to cope.
Households are primarily affected, while government sectors and private companies are crippled. The world responded by locking down most establishments, leaving people locked inside their homes for months, and only relying on deliveries for essential items.
The pandemic has left most of us walking blindly in the dark, and all we can do is hope for the best. The worst part is, some companies have no other choice but to retrench and downsize.
But for fortunate ones who can keep their employees, the health crisis has become a wake-up call to update their benefits. But here's the question: What are the best possible employee benefits during a pandemic?
To help identify what benefits you can provide to your employees, here are seven ideas:
1. Telemedicine benefits
With the rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide, we've been blanketed with a fear that it could get to us anytime. That's mainly why we don't want to go to hospitals for even the simplest check-ups.
Here's where telemedicine benefits come into play. With the popularity of virtual meetings, the ability to conduct medical consultations via a call is heaven-sent.
Imagine being in a high-outbreak city with no other choice of getting your medical needs but going to the hospital. How does one survive a trip to the hospital without the crippling fear? Your company's telemedicine benefit could be the answer.
According to one study done by Aflac, 43% of employers are now offering telemedicine to their workers. The research was done from June 12 to June 30 of the current year.
2. Child care assistance
Child care assistance may be the least benefit an employer could think of, but it doesn't mean it's not a necessity. For most employees with a family to feed, juggling work and household responsibilities can be challenging.
They must stay on top of things when it comes to parenting, but they also have to consider that they also need to perform at work. Offering work from home arrangements is a huge help, especially when they have a child to care for.
However, as a parent, you would want to have a backup for caring for your child. An extra cash subsidy is an immense help, especially during uncertain times like a pandemic.
The likes of Netflix, Nvidia, and Amazon have added child care benefits for employees as part of their COVID-19 response.
3. Healthcare benefits
COVID-19 has taught everyone to be ready for anything. Whether it's a health or financial crisis, there has got to be a plan. And when the situation calls for it, you need to be ready to launch it anytime.
For most companies, it's best to give the best possible healthcare benefits for employees. We cannot deny that even the most basic packages are helpful compared to having none to cover medical expenses.
Whether it's battling the threat of a lethal virus or just regular check-ups, being enrolled in a comprehensive healthcare system is a massive relief for employees.
However, companies can still level up their game by offering health insurance for their workforce. It's a security blanket for everyone, especially in the face of a pandemic.
But whether we are in the middle of a health crisis or not, we should have a health insurance plan in place. This is to help us sleep soundly at night, knowing that whatever plague ever comes to threaten us again, we are covered.
4. Student loan repayment assistance
Let's all admit it—the coronavirus has halted most of our plans. It has messed up our system. The more we go through it, the more we realize that we're unprepared to face challenges like this.
Add to that the fact that we still have plenty of loans and debts to pay off. To think of providing for our families is one thing, but to pay these loans is another thing. Meanwhile, your employees who recently graduated have a student loan to take care of.
With the pandemic in mind and the uncertainty that comes with it, how can employees continue to pay off loans and debts? We all know how that can be a hard pill to swallow.
Companies should offer extensive student loan repayment assistance for all their employees, whether newly graduated or not. Student loans have been one of the most challenging issues to face for many Americans.
For companies to help their employees lighten their debts, it's truly a competitive advantage.
5. Flexible schedules
Working from the comforts of your home is an underrated blessing. Imagine being able to be with your family for most of the day while still keeping your job responsibilities intact. It's an ideal work setup that most of us have dreamed of.
But the case we have here is different. Being in the middle of a health crisis is something that has left us living on the edge. Extra safety measures should be in place even at home, and a simple cough or cold could lead us to think that we got the virus.
The situation is a real blow to our mental health, not to mention our overall performance as an employee. That is why a flexible work schedule could help alleviate the stress employees are dealing with.
The pandemic has forced most companies to allow their employees to work remotely. It's the best possible course of action, especially if you want to stay afloat during this difficult situation.
Besides, to offer flexibility to your employees can positively affect their performance.
6. Financial wellness programs
While the essential thing to take care of during the pandemic is our health and wellness, it's also best to consider our financial health.
Companies should be able to craft a financial wellness program for their employees. Conduct workshops on budgeting and managing and applying for personal loans, if necessary. Aside from the fact that it helps them become more literate about managing their finances, it also creates a massive impact on the way they do their work.
Studies show that financially stable employees are more likely to perform better. They are less stressed about their financial situation, which allows them to focus more on the work at hand.
Providing an effective financial wellness program for your employees could change the way you deal with your staff. It could ensure loyalty and improved productivity within your company and that your team can have a better disposition in life.
7. Remote work stipends
No one predicted that 2020 would become the year where we'll need to turn our homes into offices. Most of us are caught off guard.
When companies announced that employees need to continue working remotely, they don't have the proper materials and furniture. That's one of the many reasons work responsibilities and employees' health are compromised.
As a solution, companies should offer remote work stipends to employees who will need to set up a home office. That way, they can be able to continue normal office operations.
Some companies have gone this route. Google and Shopify for example, have provided stipends to their employees. Doing so enabled their employees to buy desks, chairs, and other items to help them feel more comfortable working at home.
The relationship between an employee and an employer can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be complicated. Both parties should be willing to take care of each other because that's what a healthy relationship looks like.
For companies, you should provide the best benefits for your employees, especially if you have enough resources. It's one way to ensure that your workers stay dedicated to their jobs.
Otherwise, you'll be left with no one to help keep your operations moving during a crisis like a pandemic.