Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, some Chicago-area employers have invested in intangible benefits to help employees with their mental wellness. T-Mobile, for example, offers employees five free sessions each with life coaches and counselors, as well as access to tutoring referrals and child care options. In June, GoHealth gave employees between $250 and $400, based on their tenure, to spend in an online shop that offered hundreds of home office equipment options. Meanwhile, Maestro Health has invested more than $500,000 into employee benefits during the pandemic, giving employees extra days off, increasing the number of personal days they can roll over into next year and enhancing medical benefits to include an expanded mental health element. Whether it’s virtual workout classes, new office equipment or access to counseling, workers are in vital need of employer support during the pandemic, says Alexa James, CEO of the Chicago chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Human Resources Management Association of Chicago (HRMAC) President and CEO Robin Rone recently spoke with Steve Bertrand at WGN 70 about the effects of working from home during the pandemic and how employees and employers, alike, are coping with new kinds of stress. Rone says employers are investing in the care and well being of their staff, despite the additional economic pressure they face. She adds that employers not only use stipends to ease some of the pressures staff face working at home, but also bring new technology and other resources to the table to ease the workload. Rone also indicates that office spaces in the near future will be far different than they have been as employers rethink staff levels and space. (Full interview below.)