The Future of Health and Wellness Programs for Small Businesses

Consider including virtual gym memberships, wellness apps, and tuition reimbursement to create a more desirable perks package for your employees

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Go ahead and add small business’ health and wellness programs to the constantly growing list of things that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed.

Not only will work itself look different after the COVID era, but health and wellness programs will likely be transformed as well.

Small businesses are grappling with many challenges: From meeting the demands of a remote workforce to taking a new, preventative-based approach to wellness programs.

Here’s a look at a few likely changes that businesses of all sizes could see.

Video and other remote, on-demand resources will rise

Some people might not ever feel comfortable going to a gym until a vaccine is widely available.

Many gyms and other wellness centers have pivoted to offer video-based remote classes during the pandemic. This trend could very well continue to even after coronavirus is finally under control in the United States.

Small businesses are grappling with many challenges: From meeting the demands of a remote workforce to taking a new, preventative-based approach to wellness programs. 

Whatever the reason, chances are that remote access to wellness activities will likely be something that will stick around for a while. In order to incorporate this change into your small business’s health and wellness program, consider including a local gym that has virtual classes into your program.

Alternatively, you could allow employees to spend wellness benefits on virtual classes, from barre to yoga and everything in between. There are all sorts of subscription services that have started (or ramped up) offering digital workouts since the pandemic began.

Communication and connection will likely be a wellness factor

Mental health is already becoming increasingly recognized as something employers are paying attention to more since before the pandemic. With all the associated stresses, people have been struggling with mental health and part of that, for some people, is the isolation that a remote lifestyle brings — especially when available outings like going to movies and concerts are practically unavailable.

.With all the associated stresses, people have been struggling with mental health and part of that, for some people, is the isolation that a remote lifestyle brings.

One thing that employers can do is make sure that their teams stay connected and that the social aspects of the office transition into the digital world. From socially focused channels on Slack to remote happy hours and the like, employers can help to reduce social isolation through work culture.

Telehealth won’t be going anywhere anytime soon — and it can save your business money

Even before the pandemic, telehealth was a growing trend and COVID-19 has only served to drive that even further home. Like companies realizing the benefits from a work-from-home workforce (hello to not paying rent on office space!), people are realizing the benefits of remote access to healthcare.

Whether it’s offering virtual mental health services like TalkSpace or adding more general telehealth options to your small business’s suite of benefits, there’s an upside for employers, too: Telehealth access can lead to a cost reduction in healthcare spending via fewer out of pocket fees for urgent care and emergency room visits, it can mean fewer in-office visits, and reduced absenteeism with increased productivity thanks to a healthier workforce.

There are non-COVID related factors to consider, too

Outside of the major impact that the pandemic is having, there are the usual trends and advances to consider as well. As the Boomer generation ages, many employees are looking for health and wellness benefits that can accommodate them as caregivers to their aging parents and other relatives. As a result, benefits like flexible hours, remote work, and PTO policies that help caregivers meet their responsibilities at both home and work are growing in popularity.

Another unexpected wellness trend? Resources for financial wellbeing. Whether it’s adequately saving for retirement or figuring out how to pay back sky-high student loans as fast as possible, most everyone has financial goals. As a part of a modern approach to wellness, companies of all sizes are beginning to offer things like financial services, tuition reimbursement programs, and financial literacy seminars as parts of a comprehensive health and wellness program.

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