It is no secret that the pandemic has wreaked havoc on nearly every facet of life for Americans. It was difficult to predict just how far reaching the impact and damage would be and how challenging it continues to be for all of us. Some businesses were not able to withstand these challenges and others are struggling to survive, not knowing what the future will hold.
While many are optimistic, experts predict a long road ahead. Dr. Michael Osterholm who is one of the nation’s leading epidemiologists, says the virus will be with us for months or even years. While some cities and states continue to “open up” in attempts to move toward normalcy and out of valid fear of the impact on the economy, the number of individuals diagnosed each day continues to stay well above 15,000. Healthcare systems brace for a rapid rise in patients as an effective vaccine is still many months away. Unemployment rates are at a record high and companies that are surviving or even thriving, re-evaluate how best to support the employees they have and what Covid 19 means ongoing. Here are some things employers can do to adapt to the changing times.
Get real about what employees are really facing. When Covid 19 hit America and it was recognized how widespread the impact could be, changes were made overnight that impacted almost everyone. Schools were closed, putting kids at home to virtual education systems that most teachers weren’t even familiar with. This put parents in a role that demanded increased engagement while they were at the same time adjusting to working remotely, attending meetings virtually and worrying about their own job security and health. We have all witnessed the unexpected and seen an uninvited 3 year old unexpectedly join a finance meeting or heard a newborn crying in the background of a presentation. What isn’t talked about as much is the fact that many of these employees are also caring for aging parents, spouses with an illness or a child who has a disability. In the wake of Covid 19, many aging adults who lived in assisted living or other senior facilities were moving in with relatives to avoid getting sick. This has put an additional stressor on employees who are already adapting at breakneck speed. This has resulted in caregivers wondering if they even want their loved one moving back into a care facility and many are opting to keep them at home instead. They are also hesitant to hire outside help for fear that will increase the likelihood their loved one will contract Covid 19. Living through the pandemic has created a new reality that will be with us as the great depression was with our grandparents. Employers that realize this and plan accordingly will be the ones who come out on top by attracting the best talent and hanging on to valuable employees.
Be open to innovative solutions. The pandemic has made solutions that were viewed as “nice to have” before Covid 19, essential to managing life after the pandemic. Virtual medical visits quickly became the norm and continue to be utilized for non-life threatening conditions. Health care professionals now see the additional benefits of not having to see patients always in the office to be examined and treated. Telehealth platforms that have been around for a number of years have seen tremendous increases in demand, use and acceptance creating much needed awareness of their advantages. Hospitals had to limit family visits altogether to prevent the spread of the virus but this also increase worry and anxiety, leaving important caregivers out of the loop and uninformed about their loved ones condition and what needed to happen once they came home. Solutions like Connected Caregiving became essential for families to stay informed on what was happening with their loved one and what instructions needed to be followed to insure needs were met once they came home. Families from all over the country and the world are able to connect, stay organized, collaborate and access virtual expert guidance to make certain everything is done to optimize healing and prevent another health crisis. Telehealth and caregiver solutions can be offered as a benefit to employees as they face the new normal of managing care of parents and children while working remotely. The number of employees who are caring for a loved one is on target to increase dramatically over the next 20 years so implementation of solutions now, will save you money in lost productivity, early retirement and health care costs in the future.
Take action. We don’t know how long this crisis will last but people can't wait until fourth quarter benefits rollout. Neither can employers. What we do know is that more than 70% of employees admit to being in a caregiving role. Even without a pandemic, working caregivers admitted to managing caregiving duties while at work and that it impacts their productivity. The onset of Covid 19 has only exacerbated the situation. Don’t kick this can down the road as it may mean losing valuable employees today. Implementation of Connected Caregiving can be done virtually and at a cost of less than $20 per employee per year. Contact us today for a no cost evaluation and proposal so you can offer a proven solution to improve retention and productivity.