A 2020 report from Reuters revealed that the number of remote employees worldwide is expected to double in 2021. Further, in a survey by LaSalle Network, 77% of executives said they expected to be following a hybrid model in 12 months, having some employees work in the office and others remotely. Many employers are therefore making their benefits packages more remote-work friendly.
If you have remote employees or expect to have some in the future, here are some benefits ideas to consider.
Health plan network availability
Remote employees do not necessarily live and work in the same vicinity as their employer’s office. Consequently, they may not be able to access their health care plan’s in-network services and might have to pay for out-of-network services, which are more expensive.
In these cases, the employer may need to find an insurance carrier that can offer national coverage. Alternatively, employers may have to establish separate coverage or contracts based on where each remote employee lives.
Telemedicine is a great option for remote workers, especially those living in rural areas where health care provider access is limited. They can obtain routine medical care via their smartphones or computers, right from their homes.
Although telemedicine is not ideal for all medical situations, it is cost-efficient and convenient. And like remote work, telemedicine enables social distancing during pandemics.
Mental health benefits
The COVID-19 crisis has escalated the need for mental health benefits in the workplace. A 2020 survey by TELUS International found that “75% of U.S. employees have struggled at work due to anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent world events.”
Moreover, nearly 80% of surveyed remote workers “said they would consider quitting their current position for a job that focused more on employee mental health.”
Solutions for mental health benefits include employee assistance programs (EAPs), substance abuse treatment, medical plans that cover mental health and virtual mental health services (e.g., teletherapy).
Child care benefits
Oftentimes, parents who work remotely must grapple with the dual responsibility of working from home and caring for their children. This can be a difficult balancing act. Therefore, parents need all the support they can get from their employers.
A survey by Willis Towers Watson found that employers with remote employees are upping their child care benefits game. Among the benefits being offered or considered are:
- Access to backup child care.
- Subsidies for child care expenses.
- Dependent care flexible spending account.
- Flexible work hours.
- Paid caregiver leave.
You want your remote employees to be productive, and helping them create a comfortable workspace can go a long way. For example, you can provide them with the equipment and tools and even furniture they need to work from home or offer to reimburse them for the costs of setting up their home offices.