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24 Sep, 2020

Employers brace for mental health crisis

The disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic will lead to significant increases in human insecurity and instability, as this report indicates. Families already under financial stress will face the highest levels of mental stress. That may create another opportunity, or aggravate existing social crises like alcoholism and domestic violence.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., 21 September 2020, PRNewswire – Mental health, modified school schedules, and more leave requests are some of employers’ biggest challenges heading into the Fall. Many companies made accommodations to make their business and their employees more resilient for what’s ahead, according to new research from employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM) among more than 400 companies in August.

Employers brace for mental health crisis

“It’s no surprise mental health concerns are mounting,” said Rob Hecker, vice president of Global Total Rewards at Unum. “Companies that use accommodations, mental health benefits, and virtual solutions will be better equipped to weather the storm.”

Mental health tsunami looms ahead

  • 85% of employers are concerned with employees’ mental health as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
  • Three out of five employers have plans or offerings to specifically address employee mental health.
  • More than half (58%) of employers saw an increase in the use of mental health benefits during the pandemic, and two out of three companies expect an uptick in the Fall.

Modified school schedules mean new accommodations

  • Nearly nine out of ten (87%) employers predict modified school schedules will be a challenge for employees.
  • Top impacts employers anticipate include employee productivity, increase in leave requests, shifting employee workloads due to employee absences, and mental health.
  • More than half (57%) of employers are making specific accommodations to help employees balance work with modified school schedules.
  • Top accommodations include flexible work schedules (76%), full-time work-from-home arrangements (58%), reduced work hours (48%), childcare services (39%), paid leave (29%), among others.

COVID-19 shapes a new enrollment experience for employees

  • Nearly half (47%) plan to change the way they communicate about employee benefits. Most of this shift involves increased online materials and virtual meetings.
  • Three-fourths (76%) of employers will offer virtual group meetings, half (52%) will offer online educational materials, 42% will offer virtual one-to-one meetings with benefits counselors, and a quarter (26%) will offer a virtual benefits fair.

To learn more about Unum’s latest Employer Insights Report, including tips and best practices for future-proofing your business against these challenges, visit Unum HR Trends.