Convenience Employee Benefits Reduce Workforce Stress
Convenience employee benefits are being introduced as a part of the benefits package at many employers. Convenience employee benefits are not yet mainstream and are currently considered alternative or nontraditional. Imagine an employee benefit where your company offers the services of an on-site errand runner for the completion of your tasks, such as grocery shopping for employees or picking up the dry cleaning during the workday. Consider convenience employee benefits as an employee benefit for the purposes of making employees’ lives easier. In today’s competitive labor market, where the race for talent is fierce, being able to offer “outside the box” employee benefits can position your organization more strongly when it comes to recruiting and retention. At the least, convenience employee benefits can immediately make your benefits packages more appealing and competitive.
That may hold especially true for younger generations. Millennials and Generation Z are expected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, according to a recent Employee Benefit News article written by Ann D. Clark, Ph.D., founder and CEO of ACI Specialty Benefits, a provider of employee assistance program and work-life, concierge and student assistance program benefits. Given this convenience employee benefits trend, Clark asks, “could benefits that help with ‘adulting’ be the next big trend?” In case you are not familiar with the term “adulting”, Clark defines adulting as “the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.”
Despite being well into their adult years, Millennials and Gen Z both struggle with completing mundane tasks, like getting packages to the post office to be shipped in a timely manner. It’s just not a priority, and it’s tasks like this that often fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Given the choice between standing in a lengthy line at the post office and chilling on the couch with a coffee on a Saturday morning, it’s obvious which scenario most of us would choose.
Few workers would scoff at convenience employee benefits designed to make the employees’ lives easier. Many of today’s workers complain about feeling busy and burned out. And just like financial stress, which we know has a profound negative impact on employee productivity on the job, so, too, does our modern-day inability to strike a healthy work-life balance. For many employees, that healthy work-life balance simply doesn’t exist. There’s too much to do, and not enough hours in the day, let along the week, to get it all done. The chart below drives home how stress is impacting today’s workers:
Clark asks “So can convenience benefits — such as onsite errand runners — help with this problem?” It certainly couldn’t hurt. As Clark aptly points out, these convenience employee benefits could target some of the very tasks that cause workers so much stress. Convenience employee benefits could remove tasks from the employees’ personal “to-do” list, so employees can focus on their work responsibilities. This all occurs while entrusting some of the “life-stuff” to convenience employee benefit errand-runners who are dedicated to accomplishing such tasks.
In today’s fast-paced work environment, the mental load can be enormous. And that overloaded condition is impacting the mental health of the workforce. Clark quotes data from the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America report:
- Gen Z reports the worst mental health of any generation. Only 45% of those in Gen Z reported “excellent” or “very good” mental health, compared to 56% of millennials, 51% of Gen X individuals, 70% of baby boomers and 74% of adults older than 73.
- Additionally, 27% of Gen Z respondents called their mental health either “fair” or “poor.” And, 91% said they had felt physical or emotional symptoms, such as depression or anxiety, associated with stress.
Facilitating workers’ ability to function as an adult is not child’s play. Granted, as Clark points out, the employer cannot solve all of the employees’ problems. But forward-thinking ones can help lighten the load by considering offering these so-called convenience employee benefits to help make their employees’ lives easier. Employees at firms offering convenience employee benefits say the benefit enables them to stay more focused and be more productive at work. It’s clearly a positive for both the firm and its employees.
Making simple adjustments such as adding convenience employee benefits, can help make a difference for employees. The workplace is fraught with challenges and stress. By removing some of that every-day, low-priority tasks through the offering of convenience employee benefits, employers can help employees be happier, less stressed and more productive. In that scenario, everybody wins.