3 major employee benefit trends to watch in 2021

By October 26, 2020employee benefits

As the winter nights draw in and light becomes ever-more elusive our thoughts are now turning to the holiday season and what the new year will bring.

Looking ahead, 2021 is set to be an uncertain and testing time for all. With no end in sight for the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that businesses have the right employee benefits packages in place to encourage employees to take better care of their well-being and boost morale and engagement.

Allocating benefit budgets for 2021 is challenging. HR professionals are having to do more with less and must decide how to leverage the best return on their investment – for employees and the business.  As the outlook for the pandemic remains uncertain, employee demands and expectations are still in flux.

But, clear trends are emerging on the types of benefits that employees will most value. Now is an opportunity to rethink and reshape your plan. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at 3 important employee benefits that will matter most to your team in the new year.

#1 Financial wellness 

Financial wellness is a top priority for many employees. When it comes to lost productivity, the cost of financial stress to employers is huge. By helping employees take proactive steps to take better care of their financial well-being, you will help to reduce stress and keep minds focused.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:

  • 58% of employees say they are stressed about their finances. Meanwhile, more than one-third of Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers that are employed full-time have less than $1,000 saved to deal with unexpected expenses. (PwC)
  • Workplace absenteeism is expected to cost UK employers £26 billion by 2030. This in part is due to financial stress and sharp increases in mental health issues (Astutis)

On top of this, the pandemic is causing unprecedented financial pressures resulting in budget cuts, redundancies and added financial burdens. Progressive employers are looking at how lifestyle benefits and perks, educational and digital tools can help team members achieve their financial goals and alleviate stress,

#2 Virtual well-being care

Employers are investing in enhanced virtual well-being initiatives.  A virtual wellness benefits programme will be a top priority for remote employees in 2021.  Programmes could include everything from virtual GPs to online mindfulness courses to virtual counselling sessions and social activities.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:

  • 51% of employees want wellness benefits to be at the forefront of their plans. (Best Money Moves)
  • Nearly two-thirds of employers believe that COVID-19 will have a moderate to large impact on employee well-being. (Willis Towers Watson)

Research by Business Group on Health found that exponential growth in virtual care was one of the major trends to come out of its 2021 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey.  Eight out of 10 respondents thought that virtual care ‘will play a significant role in how care is delivered in the future’.

#3 Remote working benefits

The big remote working experiment has become the big remote working norm.  Employers will need to revisit employee benefits and perks to adapt to this new norm.  Employees that hastily put together a workspace at home are looking for support from their employers on everything from superfast, secure connectivity to home office kit.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:

  • 74% of employees believe that their company should pay for work equipment such as laptops, printers and screens (Owl Labs)
  • 86% of remote workers think that technology has given them the flexibility to be more productive and 76% say that superfast broadband is a top priority (Huawei)

Employers are also investing in employee benefits technology to give remote teams access to a centralised online platform to keep employees connected, wherever they work.   This makes it easier for workers to access and sign up for the benefits that will best support their needs in 2021. We’re here if you need our help.

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