Share This

  • Business Planning
  • General Interest - Business

Is Your Organization Ready for the Next Wave of COVID Ripple Effects?

January 05, 2022

The ripple effects from the COVID pandemic just keep rolling in. One of the latest issues that has employers concerned is the anticipated impact that Canadians will experience following almost two years’ worth of missed medical visits and preventative screening tests. Benefits Canada shares the following insights that are front of mind for employers:

  • 94% of employers expect to see an increase in medical services in 2022 because of delayed care;
  • 91% are concerned about the longer-term mental health ramifications resulting from the pandemic, including anxiety and depression;
  • 68% of survey respondents are concerned about a spike in late-stage cancers due to delayed screenings; and
  • Almost half of employers are anticipating increased disability claims from long COVID.

The Rise of Work-From-Home Injuries

Another COVID ripple effect is what the New York Times referred to last year as the “Pandemic of Work-From-Home Injuries.” We’ve all been on that Zoom meeting with an individual who is participating in the meeting awkwardly from their laundry room. Or from their living room hunched over their coffee table. Or with their laptop on their bed. Dining room chairs have never seen as much action as they have this past year. Nor were they designed for usage of upwards of 60 hours per week.

WealthCo Senior Benefits Consultant Barry Hutchins corroborates this assertion.

“It’s widely accepted that we’re in for an increase in the instance of disability claims. Especially since people were working from home (and may continue to work from home), they likely don’t have optimal workspaces, they aren’t sitting in the proper ergonomic chairs and desks, and this can lead to heightened wrist and back problems.”

In the mad dash for employers to transition to a virtual workforce, ergonomic factors were often overlooked. Velocity EHS reports that 60% of organizations they surveyed have noticed an increase in muscular discomfort and pain since the beginning of the pandemic, and that 85% did not factor industrial ergonomics into their ‘return to work’ playbook.

Keeping Top Tier Talent During the ‘Great Resignation’

While much has been said about the Great Resignation in recent months (the term coined for the record-breaking volume of workers voluntary leaving the workforce), the Canadian labour shortage actually pre-dated COVID-19. Employers were already starting to experience recruitment challenges, due in part to our aging (and retiring) population. When the pandemic hit, this caused a reduction in immigration to the tune of 400,000 less immigrants in 2020 and 2021 – the impacts of which have been felt significantly in the labour market.

Needless to say, it’s an employee’s market to an extent that hasn’t been experienced in Canada in many years. To attract, and retain, strong employees, employers need to offer competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package. In our recent article, Does Your Employee Benefits Program Measure Up? we dig into just how critical a robust benefits package is to employee recruitment, including the fact that 60% of employees would choose a benefits package over a $10,000 salary increase. In these labour-constrained times, having the right benefits package can be the difference between having a high-performing team or having empty office space. Is Your Benefits Solutions Provider Ready for These Ripple Effects?

All of this makes 2022 an optimal time to review your organization’s group benefits package.

“It’s all about managing long term costs,” Hutchins, a 30-year veteran of the group benefits industry, advises. “Benefits costs are going to go up because we’re going to see an increasing number of employees presenting with more advanced conditions. Organizations can mitigate these rising costs by working with a dedicated group benefits specialist, someone who can provide sound advice and a better return on investment based on having access to preferred provider carrier arrangements such as longer rate guarantee periods and lower carrier expense margins. These cost saving advantages are often not available to an independent broker who may also not have the same breadth and depth of group benefit plan knowledge.”

Give your organization the competitive advantage it needs to start 2022 off on the right foot. Schedule your no-cost, no-obligation group benefits review today.