At this time of year, firms are usually planning the annual Christmas party, whether that’s a lavish extravaganza at a plush hotel or a meal at a local restaurant. However, Christmas 2020 will look a lot different to previous years and many Christmas parties simply won’t go ahead. If that is the case, would budgets be better spent on looking after the wellbeing of your teams?
As a leading provider of employee benefit solutions, talking to our varied client base at Broadstone has identified that there seems to be little appetite for the usual festive celebrations. It’s hardly surprising, many businesses face an uncertain future and those that are busy are simply seeing lockdown 2.0 curtailing any plans they had.
The pandemic (and the persistent uncertainty that comes with that) means both employers and employees continue to face the stress and anxiety of an uncertain future.
Mental Health vs mince pies
While it may be too early to understand the full impact of the pandemic on our wellbeing, the mental health charity Mind believes we should not underestimate the impact it has had on the nation’s mental health. In addition, CIPD warns that employees are concerned about job security, returning to the workplace, using public transport for commuting and financial worries.
Some businesses who have had to make staff redundant or reduce their contractual hours tell us that the corporate mood is anything but celebratory. ‘We can’t think of anything more inappropriate than tucking into a boozy turkey dinner, when our former friends and colleagues may not be able to afford Christmas at all.’
It’s no wonder that putting on a party has such a limited appeal for many, even if it is possible to do so, given that the majority of the country is experiencing lockdown 2.0. However, there is an alternative solution to the works Christmas party that seems more fitting and will help staff welfare, namely; healthcare as an employee benefit.
Affordable health care for sole traders and SMEs
Today health insurance is no longer the preserve of the big corporates, it can be an affordable reality even for sole traders and SMEs and Broadstone are delighted to be able to offer this new type of health plan in partnership with Equipsme.
This inexpensive healthcare offers a fast and easy application process with transparent pricing and cover starting from just £7 per person per month. Boasting GP and physio access on all plans, with NHS appointments so hard to find, this is the ideal time to offer staff access to a private health service. Other benefits you may wish to consider include mental health cover, which will be invaluable for your teams who may be anxious about so many things right now.
For those who wish to cover everyday medical expenses, a Cash Plan can be secured for an even lower starting cost, allowing you and your employees’ access to money towards everyday expenses such as glasses or dentistry.
An interesting alternative to, let’s say, a £150 per person spend that seems to have been the going rate of late for a festive splash-out!
The gift that keeps on giving
Thinking about cancelling the Christmas party for affordable healthcare might just be a no brainer. Consider whether one night of indulgence is more valuable than 12 months of healthcare support or, better still, ask your staff. Even before we had heard of COVID-19, research and surveys showed that many staff would prefer their employers to invest in ongoing, year-round initiatives to boost morale, rather than a one-off event.
Businesses that offer healthcare as an employee benefit can reap the rewards through reduced absence and presenteeism, a reduction in staff turnover and helping staff to remain loyal and incentivised. However, the main benefit is quite simply ensuring that your staff remains well, particularly when it comes to their mental health. Helping to manage and reduce anxiety, stress and worry is good for them, their families and for you. Affordable healthcare really is the gift that keeps on giving.
Robin Watkins, Principal at Broadstone comments “Even at times when COVID-19 restrictions may not be stopping you from having a Christmas do, there is an argument for investing in low-cost healthcare as one of the positive things you can do for your staff and colleagues.”