Employers brace for mental health crisis

2 out of 3 companies expect uptick in mental health benefits use

Remote work with kids at home

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Sept. 21, 2020) — Mental health, modified school schedules, and more leave requests are some of employers’ biggest challenges heading into the Fall. Many companies made accommodations to make their business and their employees more resilient for what’s ahead, according to new research from employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM) among more than 400 companies in August.

“It’s no surprise mental health concerns are mounting,” said Rob Hecker, vice president of Global Total Rewards at Unum. “Companies that use accommodations, mental health benefits, and virtual solutions will be better equipped to weather the storm.”

Mental health tsunami looms ahead

  • 85% of employers are concerned with employees’ mental health as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
  • Three out of five employers have plans or offerings to specifically address employee mental health.
  • More than half (58%) of employers saw an increase in the use of mental health benefits during the pandemic, and two out of three companies expect an uptick in the Fall.

Modified school schedules mean new accommodations

  • Nearly nine out of ten (87%) employers predict modified school schedules will be a challenge for employees.
  • Top impacts employers anticipate include employee productivity, increase in leave requests, shifting employee workloads due to employee absences, and mental health.
  • More than half (57%) of employers are making specific accommodations to help employees balance work with modified school schedules.
  • Top accommodations include flexible work schedules (76%), full-time work-from-home arrangements (58%), reduced work hours (48%), childcare services (39%), paid leave (29%), among others.

COVID-19 shapes a new enrollment experience for employees

  • Nearly half (47%) plan to change the way they communicate about employee benefits. Most of this shift involves increased online materials and virtual meetings.
  • Three-fourths (76%) of employers will offer virtual group meetings, half (52%) will offer online educational materials, 42% will offer virtual one-to-one meetings with benefits counselors, and a quarter (26%) will offer a virtual benefits fair.

To learn more about Unum’s latest Employer Insights Report, including tips and best practices for future-proofing your business against these challenges, visit Unum HR Trends.

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About Unum Group

Unum (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for more than 170 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2021, Unum reported revenues of $12.0 billion and paid $8.2 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2022 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®.


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