With the COVID-19 outbreak enforcing social distancing and lockdown rules, most employees are juggling in between multiple responsibilities of a caregiver to your loved ones and completing your work assignments on time. This extra pressure could be a primary reason for mental and physical stress, affecting employee health, and in turn, the organizational productivity. So, employers are now prioritizing employee wellness and are implementing all the needed strategies to meet the wellness needs of their workforce.
Apart from providing flexible working hours, extra relief funds, paid leaves, and other back-up help, employers now are also offering suited corporate wellness programs to improve employee health, during these worrisome times and for long after life resumes to normalcy.
A study by the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) showed that the number of employees who are undertaking caregiver duties is rising since the pandemic outburst.
And so, many companies have shored up their employee benefits, along with caregiving and childcare favors. While TIAA raised the backup care benefit from $65 per day to $100 now, Microsoft has offered 12 weeks of paid offs to its employees to deal with outdoor closures and extra pressure at home.
A Family Caregiver Alliance statistical study revealed almost 1 in every 6 employees in the US shoulders the responsibility of being a caregiver at home, especially taking care of elders or sick members.
A survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that in married-couple families, almost 97% of them had at least 1 parent who was employed, whereas 61% of families had both the parents working.
This extra pressure of being a caregiver to loved ones, and working a 9 – 5 job, can affect their holistic health, performance at work, low employee engagement, increased absenteeism, and overall reduced productivity, reflecting in higher healthcare costs for the company.
Almost 77% of the respondents of a survey conducted by Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) recognized that caregiving is going to be an important part of their lives in the next 5 years.
While 61% of the employers acknowledged caregiving responsibilities as a priority in their employee benefits list, 22% agreed that they are not in a place to consider these benefits.
Although the corporate wellness programs can help improve employee health, extending it to their everyday living circumstances improves the chances of positive outcomes, and develops trust in the employee-employer relationship. And so, employers are now focusing to line up caregiving benefits as added employee perks.
Almost 84% of the employers believed that offering a caregiving-friendly workplace could help in attracting and retaining skilled talent. Also, many employers are offering paid leaves, primarily to cater to the caregiving jobs, and there was a 12% fall from 89% to 77% of the employers who were not providing them.
Also, with the tension across the globe regarding the coronavirus pandemic, it is uncertain when the normal routine is getting back to our lives. The child daycares may not open soon, nor might the elderly care facilities. So, childcare or eldercare is not going to be a luxury anytime soon. It is an essential responsibility for thousands of US employees, and millions across the world.
Employees have always been looking up to their employers for support in various corners, and to keep up with these expectations, employers need to ramp up their work infrastructure allowing easy work-from-home facilities to the employees, and create benefits that support their workforce under all circumstances. Although employee wellness has been a priority since long for the employees, the need just amassed even more with the COVID-19 exposing us to a complete shift in our everyday routines.
With time, the COVID-19 scare might go down, and life may get back to routine soon. However, childcare and elder caregiving responsibilities are for a lifetime, and employers need to create the right employee engagement strategies and corporate wellness program ideas that allow their workforce to stay healthy and gain holistic wellness, while carrying out their caregiving responsibilities and work assignments, seamlessly.