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The move to remote work over the last few months has employers and employees rethinking the world of work entirely. Some employees don’t want to come back to the office at all, and some employers don’t want to see them back until 2021 or later. In some cases, employers are looking at the potential benefits of a larger remote workforce, like saving on real estate or rent as they can downsize their office spaces.

Other staples, such as the 9-to-5 work day and the five-day work week, are also under review. New Zealand has suggested moving to a four-day work week, and the Green Party in PEI tabled a similar proposal. Many people have suggested the world of work will never be the same.

Another aspect of work that’s been changing is the benefits plan. Healthcare providers have switched to offering telemedicine, and your team members could be finding it difficult to use their dental benefits. A more flexible benefits plan seems to be the solution, but even that’s left people wondering what the best way to use those benefits is.

There are plenty of ideas, but these options can help you use flexible benefits to the greatest effect this year.

Think about Putting Funds to Savings

The economic upheaval of the last few months have put new emphasis on the importance of having savings. As a result, many employees have indicated that they plan to start or contribute more to savings plans in the near future.

You can assist your team members in meeting their savings goals by allowing them to use their flexible benefits dollars to contribute to an RRSP or TFSA. Some employers already do this. Employees could choose to roll over their leftover benefits dollars to a savings account at the end of the year, or you could help them set up a regular contribution.

Look at Supplementary Healthcare Options

Employees could be having a difficult time getting to the dentist right now or getting an appointment with their doctor. One option they may have for using their flexible benefits is supplementary healthcare.

These services usually include physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, and acupuncture, among other services. Your employees might benefit greatly from these services, as well as other natural healthcare options.

Being able to move dollars from one type of service to another can also help them make the most of their flexible benefits. As lockdowns lift, more healthcare providers are offering their services again. You could encourage employees to head to the dentist more often to use up their dollars, but they’ll likely get more mileage out of being able to visit a wider variety of service providers.

Add Mental Health and Telemedicine Services

One thing to consider with flexible benefits plans is the addition of telemedicine services. Some plans may not cover these options, particularly if you don’t have coverage for consultations or mental health services in the plan already.

Counselling and therapy sessions can be offered at a distance, as can consultations. At this time, your team members may find they need the additional support. If you don’t already let them put their dollars to mental health services or telemedicine, now is a great time to adopt these into the plan.

Flexible Benefits Are Flexible

Keep in mind that flexible benefits plans should be just that: flexible. As you look to help your employees make the most of their plans, you should be aware of and willing to incorporate new options. When you do, your team members will get much more out of their plans.

 

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Darwyne Lang

Darwyne is the president and CEO of Apri Insurance Services Inc. Having worked in the industry for over 30 years, he lives the benefits business every day. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). He understand the needs, costs, misconceptions, and effects on brand and culture, and the importance of benefits for employees. No matter what he’s doing, whether for work or pleasure, Darwyne competes at a very high level. He loves to lead and innovate in everything he does.

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