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The Impact of COVID-19 on Employee Benefits
I wanted to share the experiences that Health Matters has had over the past 12 or so months. This is from our client’s conversations and the changes made by benefits providers.
One thing that the team at Health Matters has found is that companies have been much more mindful of what benefits they have now. We are engaging in detailed discussions about what their current schemes offer and the suitability of these benefits for their staff. This is in response to changes in either remote or socially distant working patterns.
Traditionally employee benefits have generally provided a service for people to attend physically. This includes going to a hospital to see a consultant, having treatment or going to the dentist. The last year has severely restricted the ability for people to do this and has forced most providers to change direction and invest in remote access. You can now have virtual specialist appointments or counselling sessions which would not be heard of prior to 2020.
Virtual GP services have seen some of the biggest rises in demand. Nearly all health-related insurers and providers have a facility to offer this and they have been scaled up and put front and centre of their propositions because of how members want and need to access their services. We have seen several providers adding in an ‘at home’ aspect to the benefits and have included access to home exercises, meditation, virtual counselling and perks offerings such as online shopping discounts.
Where to next?
The next few years will see a continued shift in this direction with some providers looking to offering favourable terms for companies happy to access support, diagnostics and advice on a virtual basis. Physical treatment will always be necessary but only where appropriate rather than as standard.
Employee demand for the types of support is changing to as a reflection of the current circumstances. Furlough, job security and the continued uncertainty has increased the demand from employees to get more support from their employees. This is generally for both mental and financial wellbeing. The shift is towards people wanting to take positive steps to control their lives and make sure they are in the best shape to meet whatever happens in the coming years.
To conclude, it has been a hard year for all but there are positives to be had in the world of employee benefits as it has forced providers and employers to really look at what they offer. My experience is that most want to shake up the status quo and change the ‘this is what we provide’ to ‘why do we provide it and does it have an impact on the things that matter, our employees’.
I am personally really looking forward to be challenged and to challenge people’s thinking in this area as it will only provide a great basis to build useful and engaging employee benefits packages for the future.
Contact the team is you want to find out more on the above or discuss your circumstances in more detail.
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