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Open enrollment has always been a busy time for HR departments. Now, amid COVID-19, there are even greater challenges for employers to manage—one of the most significant being employee benefits communication.

Given that many employers are allowing telework, getting everyone on the same page about their benefits may not be easy. Below are some communication strategies to help.

According to the Bone and Joint Initiative USA, nearly 1 in 2 Americans over the age of 18—or 124 million people—have a musculoskeletal disorder. And, according to OSHA, work-related musculoskeletal disorders are among the most common disability claims.

What are musculoskeletal disorders?

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) refer to a variety of conditions that affect your joints, bones and muscles. According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 150 conditions that are considered MSDs, the most common being osteoarthritis, back and neck pain, fractures and systemic inflammatory conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis).

Employers are responsible for educating their employees about the health coverage options they offer. Now, amid massive uncertainty caused by events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming presidential election and the impending court case over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employees may be more stressed than ever about the status of their employee benefits.

That’s why it’s so critical to provide transparent and effective communication to employees about their benefits. Talking to Employees About Stressful Current Events Employees may be experiencing stress due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the election and the status of the ACA. While you may not have all the answers, you can explain what’s going on and, if possible, how your organization is or will be responding. Consider the following talking points.

An unintentional phenomenon is on the rise—pandemic fatigue. Many people are tired of staying at home and want to be the social creatures they inherently are. In short, a lot of people want their “normal” back.

Pandemic fatigue occurs when people show low motivation or energy to comply with safety guidelines. In turn, this makes some Americans—consciously or unconsciously—disregard pandemic guidance such as social distancing, mask wearing and hand-washing. Others may be reaching a mental health breaking point.

HR Insights Blog HeaderKeeping track of employee productivity has always been important, but it’s even more significant in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the majority of employers allowing remote work, accurate time tracking isn’t always a guarantee.

However, despite the challenge, it’s critical that all employers strive for accuracy. In fact, not doing so can lead to confusion, lost productivity and other consequences. This article outlines an employer’s general time tracking responsibilities and offers some best practices to follow. Read More Button    

HR Insights Blog HeaderPolitical discussion has and will continue to be a reality in many work environments. Work can already be a stressful place for many, with political discussion adding an additional stressor for employees—and in many cases, an additional concern for employers. While disagreement in and of itself isn’t always a detriment to all workplaces, political discussion can negatively affect the work environment for many employees.

This article addresses the impact that political discussion has in the workplace and steps that employers can consider to help keep political discussion civil. Read More Button    

Legal Update HeaderOn Sept. 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule to clarify how employers should classify their workers as either employees or independent contractors.

Accurate worker classification enables employers to determine which obligations, protections, rights and benefits apply to their employees under the law. Read More Button    

The arrival of the fall and winter months signals many things, including the beginning of flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity peaks between December and February. This means that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the only public health concern as we approach the winter months.

This combination has public health experts fearing a potential “twindemic” in surges of COVID-19 cases and another deadly flu season. As such, the CDC is urging the public to take action to avoid another deadly flu season and prevent further spread of COVID-19 cases.