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Insurance 101: Redefining Work-From-Home Benefits for Employees

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Published On: September 1, 2021

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 60% of U.S. knowledge workers were working from home. The term knowledge workers include creatives, analysts, technologists, and a wide range of professionals who provide services that are well-suited to remote work. As businesses adapted and effective vaccines were introduced, the proportion of the total U.S. workforce working remotely stabilized around 26%, a significant increase over the pre-pandemic level of 7%.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a company’s willingness to support remote work preferences can significantly impact employee retention. In May 2021, a survey conducted by Bloomberg showed that 40% of employees would consider quitting if their employer forced them to return to the office; additionally, one-third would take a voluntary pay cut to continue working remotely.

In a world where remote work has become the new normal for millions, companies must rethink other aspects of their employee relationships, including employee benefits. Work-from-home benefits have become a significant factor in employee retention.

How Do Employee Benefits Affect Retention?

Throughout 2021, U.S. businesses have struggled to cope with what has been called the “Great Resignation” and the “Turnover Tsunami.” Employee turnover is exceptionally high, even compared to the relatively high turnover rates experienced over the past half decade. In fact, data from the Workforce Institute’s 2021 Engagement and Retention Report reveals that a staggering 52% of employees plan to look for new employment in 2021.

More than ever, employees are also willing to leave their posts voluntarily. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report, stress is a significant factor, and burnout rates are high. Remote work is partly to blame; as enthusiastic as some workers are for remote work, it leaves other employees feeling disconnected and dissatisfied.

Still, businesses are also struggling to hold on to employees who fully embrace remote work. Competition to hire and retain valuable talent is fierce, which is why–in part–employee benefits packages are among the best tools businesses have in their arsenal to attract and retain talent.

However, benefits packages must be tailored to remote workers. That's why more businesses are increasingly turning to innovative work-from-home benefits packages, which feature a range of voluntary benefits.

What Are Voluntary Benefits for Employees?

Voluntary benefits are benefits offered by employees but paid for, in part or entirely, through payroll deductions. A key advantage of voluntary benefits is that they have little or no direct cost to employers. Businesses can leverage favorable group rates for products and services, reducing employees’ costs while creating more attractive work-from-home benefits packages.

It’s important to note that voluntary benefits are supplemental to a standard benefits package. For example, a standard benefits package includes health insurance, which might be supplemented with additional voluntary benefits such as critical illness insurance, telehealth access, comprehensive dental and more.

But voluntary benefits aren’t just add-ons to existing benefits; for instance, examples could range from vision, reduced-cost products, pet insurance, or any other benefit an employer thinks may be attractive. To learn more, check out our explainer on voluntary benefits here

6 Common Work-From-Home Benefits 

So, which employee benefits should your company offer to improve recruitment and retention among remote workers? The answer largely depends on your industry, as well as the demographic profile of your employees. That being said, there are dozens of potential benefits you could offer. Some of the most popular work-from-home benefits include:

  • Health benefits. These include dental, vision, health and fitness, and mental health benefits.
  • Supplemental insurance benefits. Namely, this includes critical illness insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, and accident insurance.

  • Identity theft protection. This benefit notifies employees when their identity is misused.

  • Childcare benefits. Help with the cost of caring for children during work hours is a huge plus for work-from-home parents. 

  • Student loan repayment programs. The employer makes contributions toward repaying their employee’s student loans. To learn more about student loan repayment benefits, read our explainer here

  • Financial planning. This benefit is designed to help employees manage debt, taxes, investments and retirement planning.

Whichever work-from-home benefits you choose to offer your employees, a qualified benefits broker can help you build the right benefits package for your business and its dedicated employees. To measure how your company's benefits compare across healthcare and all other major components, download your custom benchmark report from Mployer Advisor here.  Looking for more exclusive content? Check out what’s trending on the Mployer Advisor blog.

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Abbey Dean

Director of Content, Mployer Advisor

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