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February 2021 Edition

Last year, many companies shifted to allow employees to work from home amid the pandemic. But employers are noticing that shift has also led to an increase in mental health challenges1 — as emotional and financial stress continue to take a toll on employees with COVID-19 stretching into 2021.

In a recent survey, employees reported interrupted sleep patterns and feeling less mentally healthy since they began working remotely — citing depression, grief and job burnout,2 which leads to reduced productivity and professional efficiency.3

In a survey sponsored by SHRM, the number of employers measuring their employees’ stress level is on track to more than triple by 2021, from 16 percent to 53 percent.3

The expansion of mental health benefits

With the rising number of employees needing support, more companies are providing much-needed mental health coverage. According to a PwC survey, 72 percent of employers are planning to offer mental health support.1

Other companies are helping employees with their mental health with apps that support sleep and relaxation, online therapy options, meditation courses and self-care training.1 Employers are also boosting mental health support by: 

  • Augmenting existing mental health programs4
  • Expanding access through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)5
  • Initiating employee engagement campaigns and incentives4,5
  • Shaping a culture that promotes employee mental health2

For company leaders, modeling healthy behaviors is key to the success of employee mental health programs:2

  1. Checking in before employees check out — Encourage interaction outside daily meetings and obligations. Invest in self-care, wellness and well-being initiatives for remote employees and create content such as videos and webinars that focus on self-care to curb burnout.
  2. Providing coaching and therapy for leadership — Coaching can help leaders cope with anxiety and stress, which helps them recognize similar warning signs in their direct reports.
  3. Offering flexible work hours — The pandemic has lengthened workdays due to more Zoom meetings, emails and other responsibilities. Employees need the flexibility to balance work with home, school and family.

Close gaps with additional mental health benefits 

Companies can also consider adding more mental health perks to close any gaps in coverage. Securian Financial offers a comprehensive EAP through 

Lifestyle Benefits,

 providing 24/7 phone access, video counseling and live chat. We also offer a robust 

Financial Wellness 360® program

 to help relieve employee stress related to personal finances.

1. Place, Alyssa. “6 companies that launched innovative mental health benefits this year,” Employee Benefits News, December 14, 2020. 

2. Westfall, Chris. “Mental Health and Remote Work: Survey Reveals 80% Of Workers Would Quit Their Jobs For This,” Forbes, October 8, 2020. 

3. Miller, Stephen. “Employers Enhance Emotional and Mental Health Benefits for 2020,” SHRM, October 28, 2019. 

4. Ward, Marguerite. “12 companies boosting benefits so employees don't feel isolated or lonely during the coronavirus crisis,” Business Insider, September 10, 2020. 

5. Holdcroft, Alexis. “3 tips for taking your mental health and well-being benefits to the next level,” Employee Benefits News, December 18, 2020.

Insurance products are issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company or Securian Life Insurance Company, a New York authorized insurer. Minnesota Life is not an authorized New York insurer and does not do insurance business in New York. Both companies are headquartered in St. Paul, MN. Product availability and features may vary by state. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies or contracts it issues.

Services provided by Morneau Shepell are their sole responsibility. The services are not affiliated with Securian or its group contracts and may be discontinued at any time. Certain terms, conditions and restrictions may apply when utilizing the services. 

Securian Financial is the marketing name for Securian Financial Group, Inc., and its affiliates. Minnesota Life Insurance Company and Securian Life Insurance Company are affiliates of Securian Financial Group, Inc.

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