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Financial Health Trumps Physical Health for Employees Amid COVID-19

Employees of small businesses are more concerned about their financial health than their physical health amid the pandemic.

According to a new study by MetLife, 55% of small business employees express concern about their financial health during the COVID-19 crisis. That’s higher than the 41% who worry about their physical health.

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In fact, concern about financial health ranks highest among small business employees. MetLife finds that just 44% of employees say they worry about their social, mental, and physical health.

Pandemic pressure

It appears that both small business owners and employees are under a significant amount of pressure, MetLife explains. That’s even more so than peers in larger companies.

The study is based on data from the latest MetLife & US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll.

It finds that 42% of small business employees struggle navigating the demands of an “always-on” work life. Consequently, nearly half of employers, or 48%, say their organization does struggle with this new aspect of work.

That’s an increase from 41% of employers who said the same last year. In other words, even employers know this is a challenge brought to the fore by remote work.

MetLife also says that two in three employees feel more stressed than before the pandemic. Women (72%) are more stressed than men (61%) because.

All of this stress can lead to burnout. About half of small business employers say burnout is a current concern. That’s up from 37% who cited the issue last year.

Allaying fears on financial health

MetLife says that analysis of the data shows the importance of a comprehensive benefits package. More importantly, it’s an area with a lot of room for improvement.

Small business employees are much less likely than peers in larger organizations to say that they have a comprehensive benefits package. In the same vein, small business owners agree. Only a third say they offer such packages to employees.

Since there’s a lot of room for improvement, employers can see the results from implementing a new plan in the area. MetLife says that in the pandemic, employees who believe their employer offers benefits and support are far more engaged and productive at work.

If budget is a concern, a tidbit unearthed by the study could make employers happy. It finds that 46% of employees of small businesses say they are interested in a wider range of benefits, even if they have to pay part or all of the cost.

Benefits roadmap

MetLife says the roadmap to follow is clear for small business owners. The steps are:

  1. Review programs and benefits to address concerns about physical, mental, social, and financial health.
  2. Provide access to a comprehensive benefits package. That includes traditional and non-traditional benefits that can address specific concerns of employees.
  3. Explore adding voluntary benefits that employees can choose and pay for individually.
  4. Communicate how benefits are relevant to employees and drive awareness of their value at all opportunities.

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