Due to COVID-19, entire company workforces are being forced to shift how they work. En masse, employees have transitioned to temporarily working remotely from their homes. Yet, with resume-to-workplace dates uncertain and homes also filled with spouses and kids, the remote working model is far from normal. The new COVID-19 work environment poses many challenges and stresses, and, as a result, one of the most under-utilized employee benefit offerings may see a resurgence.

Most companies offer an Employee Assistance Program—often simply referred to as EAP—as part of their benefits package. Generally, EAPs provide free counseling and is a confidential, safe resource. More full-service EAPs also offer legal and financial counseling, in addition to mental health services.

Despite the fact that more than 97% of large employers and 75-80% of mid-sized and small companies offer EAP services, only about 7% of employees actually take advantage of them.*

COVID-19 may change that.

In fact, now more than ever, it’s critical for employers to remind employees about the resources and benefits available to them—and EAP should be at the top of the list.

  • Employees are juggling working from home with helping their children complete e-learning school assignments.
  • Spouses are tag-teaming between work and kids, making it feel like there is no break, let alone time to connect with one another.
  • Those who live by themselves are feeling more alone than ever since they can’t get out and see family and friends.
  • Younger kids are out-of-sorts and don’t know how to process what’s going on.
  • Older children, particularly high school and college seniors, are grieving the loss of things they never imagined losing—including graduation ceremonies.
  • Families are dealing with loss of income, worries about the future, elderly parents and more.

If you aren’t promoting your EAP benefit, now is the time to start.

Whether or not an employee or family member is sick, COVID-19 is creating widespread anxiety and confusion. Communicating the support available virtually through an EAP or other telebehavioral health services is not only a helpful reminder for employees, it demonstrates company commitment and shows that you are plugged into your workforce—something that will benefit your company long after COVID-19.

Want to chat more?

Reach out at helloindy@westcomm.com or follow us on LinkedIn for more insights.

*Society for Human Resource Management