Well, this spring has been fun so far…
Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice?
It’s been a season that forced us all to learn some important new skill sets at warp speed. Like how to mute your microphone in a zoom chat, or which snacks will distract your kids long enough to have that important client meeting (while sitting in your closet).
We have seen remarkable resilience and flexibility from our clients through the COVID crisis.
Many of them have had to make major changes with how they do business, or even change what they offer clients. It’s been an incredible thing to witness and we feel lucky to be part of some of these conversations.
It’s required businesses to be more flexible than an Olympic gymnast..
This time has given us clarity on what business practices are important and which ones are outdated, or even a bit archaic.
Most importantly, the pandemic has given us courage, or forced us by necessity to take a new approach or try business in a different way. And by approaching business in a different way, we’re going to change.
While we’re not through the crisis yet, we’ve reflected a lot about what our business life is going to look like on the other side of this.
Here are four things the pandemic has taught us (about our workplaces and employee benefits).
Cost Control Is EVERYTHING
It’s clear that every business expense is going to be examined, and then re-examined once the immediate crisis passes. Employers need access to every cost-saving opportunity to keep their business financially healthy.
What are some things you can do to make sure you have the most cost-effective benefits plan?
Make sure you have a good advisor, one who is watching your plan and understands how your employees are using it. Do they have access to multiple insurance companies, and new, creative or health-focused options to help employees?
One thing we always consider is whether a company qualifies for Administrative Services Only (ASO), which is a way to administer your benefits and save companies tens of thousands of dollars in insurance premiums. It’s not right for everyone, but it might be worth looking into.
Telemedicine - Like a Doctor Who Makes House Calls!
Just six months ago, we partnered with an amazing Calgary-based company called WELLO to offer virtual telemedicine to our clients and their employees.
At the beginning nobody knew what we were talking about. But thanks to the pandemic, we are all LOVING the idea of avoiding germy medical offices and meeting our doctor, psychologist or other healthcare practitioner over the computer or phone.
Telemedicine, or virtual healthcare is used to diagnose and treat medical conditions, on a 24/7 basis.
WELLO is our chosen telemedicine partner because they work alongside our public health system, so they can securely pull up your electronic health record to check your medical history.
And they are a local team, so care is provided by Alberta-licensed Registered Nurses.
Telemedicine is super convenient, for sure. But because the pandemic has made it difficult for us to access our medical clinics, we think that virtual healthcare is here to stay for the long haul.
Mental Well-being Is Just As Important as Physical Well-being
The pandemic has brought many of us sleepless nights and increased anxiety. Throw in work-from-home expectations, new routines and homeschooling, we are all feeling way more stressed.
Many of us have realized it’s just not realistic to have the same expectations for productivity right now. We’re seeing in real-time the effect that stress has on our focus and our ability to get things done.
Once the pandemic is over, we will continue this conversation with employers. Our biggest question to them will be, how can they use their traditional benefits plan to support their employees mental health?
WFH Is the New Norm!
Working from home used to be seen as some ‘fringe’ benefit for the lucky few. Thanks to the pandemic, we have now collectively ripped off a band-aid and discovered that working from home can make our life better.
Less time wasted on a commute, more time with family, lower operations overhead for businesses, stress-relieving visits from your family pet, the list goes on.
Stress-relieving visits from our office mental health worker, Nova *when she decides to come out from under the bed*
We think that working from home will be the biggest employee benefit trend that sticks with us in a post-COVID world.
As we look towards the future, we know things are going to be different. As we help our clients navigate business challenges in a new world, we’ll continue to be inspired by the lessons learned from this time.