How employee health and wellness programs help build resiliency on an individual and organizational level to better navigate economic uncertainty.

An astounding 75 percent of U.S. employees are struggling at work because of anxiety caused by COVID-19 and other recent events, according to a survey by TELUS International.

Employers aren’t blind to the unprecedented levels of stress employees are feeling. In fact, as the pandemic drags on, 85 percent of them are increasingly concerned about their employees’ health and wellness needs, according to research by Unum.

Another report by Principal found roughly 30 percent of employers plan to adapt benefits offerings to provide better mental health and wellness programs, childcare support, healthcare benefits and financial wellness programs to support employees through times of uncertainty.

“COVID-19 has fundamentally reshaped the benefits landscape,” says Kara Hoogensen, senior vice president of U.S. Insurance Solutions for Principal. “Employees and employers alike are recognizing the need for coverage that protects the health and well-being of both individuals and their families. This has brought new meaning to benefits that may have previously fallen lower on an employee’s priority list, such as income protection, life insurance and mental health programs.”

How Employee Health and Wellness Programs Build Resiliency

According to the research by TELUS International, since working from home during the pandemic, almost four in five employees have found it challenging to “shut off” from work in the evenings. Forty percent of workers aren’t getting enough sleep and 13 percent are hardly sleeping at all. Over 35 percent of employees reported feeling less healthy physically and 45 percent said they feel less healthy mentally. But just 40 percent of employees feel empowered to let someone at their company know when they aren’t feeling physically or mentally well, and that’s a problem. 

Employees who aren’t feeling well struggle to focus, aren’t as engaged or collaborative, take more time off and are less satisfied with their jobs, ultimately taking a toll on an organization’s productivity and retention. Nearly 80 percent of employees would consider quitting their current position for a job that focused more on employee mental health. 

Nearly 90 percent of employees agreed having more flexibility in their work schedule would positively impact their health, 49 percent said health care benefits that include therapy and counseling would make a difference, 43 percent would like thoughtful one on one check-ins from their employer and 37 percent thought virtual workshops about health and wellness or yoga and meditation classes would make them feel like their mental health is being prioritized.

Prioritizing employee health and wellness is mutually beneficial. Through health and wellness programs employees have the opportunity to improve their physical, mental and financial health, lower their stress levels and learn how to better manage the various struggles they may face in the future. This absolutely carries over to their performance at work. The result is a company culture that is healthier, more supportive and more resilient to challenges on all fronts.

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