Benefits to support employees during Covid-19 outbreak
Many things have changed in such a short space of time and we’re all learning to adapt to new ways of working plus trying to support employees, whether furloughed or not, with mental, physical and financial health challenges during this Covid-19 outbreak.
So, what can be done to support their wellbeing and what do you have in your current benefit provision that employees could take advantage of? It’s also really important that employees are aware of what’s available and how to access them. Depending on what your current budget and benefit scheme allows, here are just a few of our ideas for you to consider:
Benefits to make a difference
- Relaunch – First up, consider repromotion all of your relevant benefits with an email campaign via your employee benefits/wellbeing portal. Perhaps even investigate an online broadcast via Teams or Zoom to remind employees of what’s available to them. You could also consider incorporating regular benefit updates and on-screen advice into your portal or intranet.
- Freebies – Take advantage of free opportunities from your existing benefit providers. For example, You at Work are working with our existing partners to set up online gym classes and cycle insurance and give access to free online training for all of our existing clients.
- Relevant discounts – bring maximum attention to offers from your discount platform that help employees save money on everyday living costs such as supermarket shopping, car insurance, utility bills, tech and broadband packages.
- Dining Card – with many people staying in and ordering take-aways consider giving employees a dining card to gain access to discounts from their favourite delivery service.
- Cycle to Work – with everyone encouraged to go out and get their 1 hour of exercise every day, there has never been a better time for people to invest in a bike from their cycle to work scheme.
- Employee Assistance – Do you have a 24/7 employee assistance programme? It could help employees with advice and guidance surrounding the corona virus or anything else that might be impacting their mental or emotional health such as loneliness through self-isolation and social distancing. Some employees will have carer responsibilities and debt and welfare issues to contend with as well.
- GP helpline – GP surgeries are extremely busy right now. Giving employees access to video or telephone consultations with a private GP means they can speak to an expert at their own convenience.
- Home tech scheme – with many at home or in a keyworker position the need for mobile devices and laptops is very high. Help employees and their families save money and spread the cost of the latest tech by introducing a salary sacrifice home tech scheme.
- Workplace Loans – help employees who want to borrow money and consolidate existing debt at special rates with access to affordable workplace loans.
- Life Insurance – do you offer employees employer-paid or voluntary life insurance? Make sure they are aware of how much and what is covered and how they can make a claim if they need to.
- Will Writing Service – times like this, sad to say, make us very aware of the need to make a will, if we haven’t done already. Give employees the ability to access a discounted will writing service that can be done either over the phone or by video conference.
- Financial guidance – this can come in many forms including an integrated money advice service in your portal or links out to financial wellbeing hubs
- Physical wellbeing – access to online ‘do at home’ fitness training programmes including resistance training, yoga and HIIT workouts could be integrated into your platform.
- Emotional wellbeing – help employees take time out to relax, meditate or be more resilient during these Covid-19 times with access to an app that can support their mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Wellbeing Articles – give access or signpost to online articles on nutrition, exercise and sleep. Make sure they are informative and educate employees on how getting these aspects right can have a massive impact on their overall wellbeing.
- Wellbeing Day – provide a day of online workshops/seminars that employees can dip in an out of, hosted by local experts and from the benefits community. Cover financial, emotional and physical wellbeing (all are inextricably linked) including how to manage money, how to budget, how to handle credit and mortgages, how to support their immunity through healthy eating, sleep, exercise, meditation etc.
- Individual advice – some employees will appreciate a one on one consultation to help put their mind at rest regarding their own personal circumstances during Covid-19. Examples could be telephone or online counselling through your EAP programme, or a session with an online nutritionist for advice on improving individual eating habits, or perhaps an online appointment with a financial adviser to discuss their personal financial position.
- Benefit presentations – consider running online awareness mornings and line up various benefit providers to talk for 15 mins or provide a video about their particular benefit and how it can help during these times.
Keep the recognition up …
- Recognition Platform – Consider giving your employees access to a recognition scheme or if you do have one encourage everyone to keep the praise up!
- Employees will enjoy the immediacy and public interaction of a social platform, giving and receiving individual or team public pats on the back and being able to be awarded tangible gifts that they can select from options chosen by you.
- Coming together – A recognition scheme will give employees a real sense of belonging and a much-needed boost to their happy hormones! Especially important when so many are working from home or practising social distancing.
- ‘Corona Reward Bank’ – some are helping employees build up a points bank via their reward and recognition platform that employees can then exchange for cash or gift cards, once we are back to relative normality. Is this something you could set up?
Take advantage of legislation
- Written statements – If you are taking/have taken on new staff since 6th April then use the new requirements of the written statement of employment particulars to highlight all of those benefits that could be useful in these times.
- On the flipside – Covid-19 is being counted as a life event by the HMRC which means that employees could switch freely out of your salary sacrifice scheme if your employment contract is updated accordingly. Could be relevant if employees want to save some of the money they are spending on benefits.
We live in uncertain times during the Covid-19 outbreak but let’s at least make sure we provide employees with all the benefit support possible and also make sure that they know what’s available as well.