Companies across the nation are preparing for a post-COVID-19 world and it seems like telecommuting is potentially becoming more permanent for some. Let’s go back to late March: businesses were frantically trying to figure out how their companies were going to adapt to remote work. Could their business survive out of the office? Would employees actually get work done? Do they even have the technology infrastructure to support working from home? Now, several months into our “new normal”, many companies have learned that, yes, this mode of operation is possible. In a recent study, a number of CFO’s were asked if they would keep their employees remote. One in five said they would keep some of their workforce remote to cut costs. However, as businesses continue to adapt to this normal, benefits and operations will need to change to accommodate all employees. It’s time to get creative.

COVID-19 has and will continue to influence the ways in which we think about and receive healthcare. In our recent white paper, we shared an article that reported the findings from a recent study that showed that healthcare consumers are 84% more likely to choose a healthcare plan that includes some sort of telemedicine. Knowing that provides us valuable insight into the importance of employers providing remote solutions. More companies have learned that their businesses can operate remotely, likewise, employee health benefits can’t be confined from 9 to 5. How can we move in a direction that supports employees regardless of work hours and location?

1. Create Opportunities to “Check-in” with employees

Over the past few months, we’ve learned that staying connected and engaged is essential to employee productivity and happiness. While working in a brick and mortar office it’s easy to catch-up with employees, but it’s also easy to forget the importance of touching base with employees because you are constantly surrounded by people. We understand the necessity of human-to-human social support even when a pandemic is not going on.

In a COVID-19 Specialty Patient Pulse, 38% of people polled indicated that they felt loneliness as well as feeling as though their employer did not provide the proper resources for them to work remotely. When telecommuting independently from home or mobile offices, workers aren’t just cut off from interactions, they’re also distanced from the opportunities that being around other people provides. One way to promote conversation and keep everyone involved is by creating virtual break rooms for employees to stay connected to each other in and out of the office.

2. Deliver Unique Benefits That Move with the Times

We would be remiss to not include digital health coaching in a list about supporting employees remotely. At Pack Health, we continue to learn more about the ways that digital health support is beneficial as companies have gone remote. It allows for flexibility, individual customization, and efficiency. The reality is your employees are busy and their healthcare practitioners are equally as busy, where the doctor’s visit ends, digital health coaching begins. Money and time can be saved using digital health, as it can help minimize the burdens of distance and time limitations between the patient and their doctor by delivering remotely-generated patient information to aid in diagnosis and treatment.

3. Make it Easier to Track Progress

As digital health continues to make real headway into mainstream medical care, remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices are becoming more important. RPM devices offer a level of customization that drives better outcomes for employees. At Pack Health we’ve streamlined the data from Validic’s API and Glooko’s diabetes management app into our coaching platform for chronic care management and diabetes monitoring. For example, our Health Advisors are able to see in real-time the blood glucose trends of our participating members, giving them a quick reference point to help members link actions to outcomes in a data-driven way.

A digital health coach can add a level of personalization that will help drive behavior change. Every member enrolled with Pack Health receives a personal Health Advisor that talks with them on a weekly basis. Each member receives grocery and prescription delivery as a free benefit. Getting the right care shouldn’t depend on your location.

Individualization is key to successful support

At Pack Health, we know that one-size does not fit all when it comes to creating lasting health behaviors and driving better outcomes. The same applies to supporting employees. Needs become different as people go remote, one employee may have schedule conflicts due to having 3 kids, while another employee may have 3 roommates. Leaving room for flexibility to employees is important, not everyone’s day is going to look the same.

As companies start to ask “what’s next?” and continue to adapt and evolve into remote work, supporting employees is now more important than ever. The past few months have been a telling time of what the future will look like. Businesses will continue to explore how to better support their employees with telecommuting opportunities, as well as developing and expanding employee benefits.