- With a sudden and largely unavoidable shift to remote work in light of COVID-19, many employers are getting creative with the benefits they are offering to support employees. Online education company Chegg, for example, introduced childcare reimbursement of up to $500 per family for parents struggling "with their new work-life balance," according to a company spokesperson.
- The company also made available in response to the pandemic an ergonomic reimbursement for IT or office equipment, live and on-demand fitness sessions, live therapy webinars (including a toolkit for physical, mental and spiritual health), and free Chegg tutoring for children of workers.
- These new benefits join a suite established before the pandemic, which include student loan payments and on-demand coaching.
During this unprecedented time, many traditional benefits offerings have become obsolete or unavailable. Employers have been working hard to adapt and give employees the support they need.
Chegg joins a number of employers rolling out new benefits or expanding existing ones in response to the novel coronavirus. Microsoft announced April 15 it would grant employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave to deal with extended school closures caused by COVID-19. All of Microsoft's global employees, including hourly and salaried workers, will be able to access the benefit. Telehealth benefits — something that garnered increasing attention before stay-at-home orders — have proven popular and useful amid the global health crisis.
Before COVID-19 became the chief concern of employers, many had started to make caregiving benefits a priority. A survey of over 100 employers conducted at the end of 2019 and the start of 2020 found that more than three-quarters of respondents (78%) said caregiving would become an increasingly important issue over the next five years.
Benefits that address holistic employee well-being have been gaining traction and may be even more relevant now as employees struggle to juggle work, extended family, remote schoolwork, a lack of childcare, and new financial stresses.
Bradd Chignoli, senior vice president, group benefits at Metlife, told HR Dive in an interview prior to the pandemic that employers need to focus on four areas of employee well-being: mental health, social health, physical health, and financial health. He noted that self-care is an important component of holistic wellness, and that employers may feel the need to adopt more generous paid time off and paid leave benefits.