June 3, 2020

Returning to Work After the COVID Pandemic

Everybody has been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. News of this medical emergency started appearing in early March, and by the end of the month, most people were either working from home, or were laid off. Thanks to the quick reactions from our government, as well as the majority of the population really buckling down and respecting social distancing orders, as well as staying home as much as possible. The curve is being flattened more and more every day, which means less and less cases, but it also means a change in the way we have been living for the past three months. We are headed back to work, still uncertain about what happens from here. Addressing the well-being of employees will be critical in returning to a functional workplace, as stay at home orders are lessened and businesses begin to open again.

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New Stressors and Anxieties

The pandemic has induced a large number of new stressors to the population, compounding the stress of a medical pandemic on top of the loss of jobs and closure of regular day to day activities. A survey done by Benefits Canada shows that 55% of employees report having moderate or high doses of anxiety from the coronavirus outbreak. Employees stated that they felt overwhelmed by changing information, stress and anxiety from the disease itself, and well as safety concerns, loneliness, guilt, helplessness, grief, and uncertainty. More than 50% of people who took the survey said they have been able to find ways to manage these feelings outside of work. Knowing that people have been feeling all these emotions while in lockdown, what is the best way to continue forward and reopen your business? Two thirds of employers surveyed said they are enhancing their well-being programs because of the pandemic, and will be offering increased benefits, as well as increased communication as key priorities for the next six months. A big emotion that many have been experiencing is loneliness, and to combat this, many employers are promoting virtual solutions so employees can connect with each other, not for work purposes.

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How Can Benefits Help?

A strong benefit program can help alleviate some of the unknowns and bring certainty back to employees.  When it comes to a medical pandemic, people worry for the health of themselves and their families, as well as their livelihood.  Health and disability coverage bring stability by offering comprehensive drug coverage, hospital, and emergency medical travel protection.  With depression and anxiety on the rise, the paramedical practitioner coverage can help offer support when your employees need it most.  With a wide range of psychologist, social work and Employee and Family Assistance programs available, you can help your employees find the connections they need to stay healthy.  Virtual Healthcare can also be added to plans to allow your employees to see physicians, refill prescriptions and seek medical advice from the comfort and safety of their home.