Benefits news you may have missed: March 8-12

The year that changed benefits: How COVID reframed HR support: Now a year into the pandemic, benefits have taken the spotlight as one of the most important tools employers have to help workers. The crisis has not only significantly shifted how companies look at and craft their benefits, but it has changed the way they communicate about their offerings and respond to workers’ needs. Read more here.

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Software giant adds mental health day to ease COVID-related stress: SAP is launching a mental health day for its 102,000-plus employees to help them cope with the ongoing pandemic. The software giant’s Mental Health Day–a company-sponsored holiday for all employees–will be observed on April 27 with its office being closed globally. The company is hoping its workers can recharge, focus on themselves and their families, and disconnect from work. Read more here.

Here’s how many workers support COVID-19 vaccine incentives, mandates: Employees are getting behind the idea that their employer should encourage vaccination against COVID-19, a new poll finds. The majority of employees (57%) think employers should offer vaccine incentives to employees and just over half (52%) think they should mandate it, according to a new survey of 1,006 respondents from Eagle Hill Consulting. Read more here.

Burnout is soaring during COVID-19: How can employers help? Employee burnout has been alarmingly high for the past few years, but during COVID-19, it’s reached new levels of concern. When software company Limeade surveyed employees just months before the pandemic began, they found that 42% of workers were burned out. When they asked employees about burnout again, a few months into COVID-19, that number had shot up to 72%. Read more here.

Want positive employee experiences? Start with wellbeing: HR professionals often roll out program after program, thinking that’s how they can improve the employee experience. But if organizations don’t work on creating positive employee emotions, or try to positively affect or improve employee wellbeing, the number of programs that employers have won’t help, says Laura Hamill, chief people officer and chief science officer at Limeade. Read more here.

A year after lockdown: 5 ways the world of work has changed for good: From how employees communicate to how companies hire, here’s a snapshot of key trends that the pandemic ushered in since the World Health Organization declared the global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Read more here.

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Employee stress level are soaring due to COVID-19: A survey of 1,288 employees from provider SilverCloud Health finds that nine in 10 workers say the pandemic has increased their stress level. The research indicates that even though the need for expanded mental health benefits and care is great, a large number of employees aren’t able to access appropriate mental health support and care–meaning employers need to significantly step up their efforts. Read more here.

Employers say their wellness, caregiving programs are falling short during COVID-19: Fewer than three in 10 employers say their wellbeing and caregiving programs have been effective at supporting employees during the pandemic, new research finds, signaling that organizations have significant work to do in revamping resources to help their workforce. Read more here.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.