Much before the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, employee wellbeing had become a key focus area of the employee engagement philosophy for many organizations. However, post the pandemic, this has gained greater significance with organizations investing hugely towards the health and wellbeing of their people as employee wellness is paramount to an organization’s Employee Value Proposition.
Amidst the uncertainty and the unique challenges that pandemic has thrown at us, organizations need to find ways to innovate and reimagine their health plans. Some of the ways could be:
Focus on Mental Wellbeing
Mental wellness has been the buzzword for quite some time now and the recent pandemic has forced organizations to relook at their wellbeing plans with a greater focus on mental wellbeing. The uncertainty & ambiguity looming around has resulted in increased anxiety and stress among people. If not addressed, organizations fear dealing with a workforce that is stressed & depressed at work which eventually would affect productivity.
In fact, in a 2020 study by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, a staggering 78% percent of people felt the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health. Hence, mental wellbeing should top the agenda for organizations post COVD-19 and they should look at introducing a slew of measures like:
- Launching Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) which offers a free space and confidential support to people for issues like stress, anxiety, substance abuse, depression, etc.
- Offering access to on-demand videos and articles on mental health
- Organizing sessions on Yoga, Mindfulness, etc.
Onboard Partners for 24*7 Health Support
In today’s day and age when we can get access to supermarkets, banks, etc. with a touch of a finger then why should healthcare facilities be away from it? Also, given the busy schedule of people and the situation today, one may not be able to physically visit a doctor easily.
In line with the same thought, organizations should look at tying up with healthcare partners which offer round the clock support to people when it comes to doctor consultation where people have the option to connect with specialists anytime, anywhere and they can also chat, call, video connect, etc. in multiple languages.
At the same time, these healthcare partners also provide options to book medical tests online, order medicines with free delivery, etc. and one can avail of great discounts while doing so. Organizations should definitely look at partnering with these service providers to address any medical emergencies.
The inclusion of fitness allowance in the overall health plan for the people is another thoughtful idea that holds much relevance today. In the new normal of remote & hybrid working, most of us are caught in the four walls of our house which has undoubtedly affected our health.
Hence, it’s prudent to offer a fitness allowance which could allow people to buy gym equipment or an offer to gym memberships, and healthy meal plans, sporting goods like squash rackets, bicycles, or access to fitness classes like Pilates, Kickboxing, etc.
Buffer for Unforeseen Situations
The COVID-19 pandemic came as a rude shock to all of us and just like our healthcare systems, organizations & medical insurance companies at large were not prepared for something of this scale. There were several costs that were never factored in came into the picture and our insurance policies were not designed to handle such expenses.
Many organizations even decided that vaccination costs shall also be borne by them. Hence, in a post COVID world, it is prudent for organizations to include a certain amount of buffer for such unforeseen circumstances in their health care plans which can be of great use in these unique situations.
This would not only provide a sense of security to people but also help organizations plan their annual budgets accordingly.
Enhance Your Health Care Plans
Organizations should also work towards beefing up their current insurance plans to ensure more and more unique benefits to their people. For example, inclusion of home quarantine costs, reimbursement of masks, oximeters, etc., or a separate life insurance cover for people who lose their lives because of COVID were great ways of enhancing the existing plans which we saw this year. Hence, organizations should factor this in mind in a post COVID scenario also ad enhance their plans.
As employees cope up with the current crisis, it’s time for organizations to take this as an opportunity to convert this crisis into an avenue for employee care and safety.
It’s time for organizations to carve out separate budgets for the health and wellbeing of their people because it’s no more a ‘good-to-have’ feature but a must-have!