In 2020, a global study found that 67% of employees are experiencing high-stress levels as a result of the Coronavirus. As Americans become more open about mental health and wellness, they are calling on their companies to offer more support. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are a great way to ensure that your employees are able to get the support they need.

But many companies are also turning to more creative solutions to foster an open working environment that supports an improved work-life balance in hopes that happier employees stay longer and produce better work. Here are some of the most innovative solutions we’ve found.

The Rise of Summer Fridays

The trendiest solution right now is called ‘Summer Fridays.’  Summer Fridays look different at every company. Between giving the whole day off or offering a half-day, or working an extra two hours each day to make up lost hours, there are countless ways to implement Summer Fridays in a way that best suits your business needs. 

According to Gartner in 2019, 55% of North American companies are offering Summer Fridays to their employees, compared to 44% in 2018.  While this model isn’t great for all businesses, Summer Fridays are a relatively easy to implement benefit to boost morale and productivity.  Wondering how losing working hours can boost productivity?  A study from The Happiness Index notes that more engaged workers are 2.5 times more likely to stay late if something needs to be done.  And how do you create an engaged workforce?  By allowing employees to have a healthy work-life balance.

The Global Week of Rest

HubSpot gained media attention for offering their employees a “global week of rest.” The entire company was given a week off to relax and recharge. Companies like LinkedIn, Mozilla, Bumble, and more have all implemented this week of rest.  A core team stays in the office in case of emergency (and are given the option to schedule their own week off), but the rest of the company is gone. 

The biggest benefit associated with the entire company out of office?  Vacation is actually vacation.  No need to anxiously check your inbox, wondering if there is an urgent email waiting for you.  Additionally, employees don’t come back to a laundry list of tasks.  This solution is a stretch, but slowly on the rise.

Revisit Your Employee Assistance Program

Of course, there are many other options that don’t require your company to rethink vacations and schedules.  A simple solution is to offer free mental health services or coaching to all employees within your corporate EAP.  Similarly, try offering subscriptions to mental and physical wellness applications, like Headspace or the Peloton app.  If your company has returned to the office, wellness options like workout classes or meditation time are an easy way to improve overall well-being. 

Add Cultural Benefits

When it comes to ensuring work-life balance, aside from vacations, another easy and unique way is offering social wellness benefits.  These can be as small as a movie night and pre-paid admission to cultural experiences. Or, something more coordinated like a mentorship program and PTO for volunteering days.  Having social wellness benefits creates an environment that values total, holistic wellbeing versus just physical wellness.  

According to SHRM, nearly one-fifth of employers alter their benefits to attract and retain employees.  The biggest categories seeing boosts are healthcare, retirement savings, and flexible work environments.  But these days, offering quality health and financial benefits is the standard.  Creative benefits will make your workforce more dedicated and happier, which will in turn create better results for your business.

Does your company have modern benefits but is still struggling to hire top talent? Stay tuned for next week’s blog post, where we’ll highlight ways to get your company’s name out there and top of mind for candidates.

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