Since 2020, the way we work has experienced massive upheaval. While many companies have reopened their offices and welcomed back employees, schedules have changed. The desire for a flexible work schedule has become commonplace and, for many, remote work is the new normal. With more employees working remotely than ever before, the way companies manage their benefits needs to change.
In 2019, about 4% of all employees in the United States work exclusively from home, according to The New York Times. By May of 2020, that number jumped to 43%. Even as many companies try to return to the workplace, office occupancy peaked in December 2021 at only 40%, before dipping again at the start of 2022.
Where does this leave benefits administrators and human resources teams?
Managing benefits and keeping employee information up-to-date, including leaves and coverage changes, has never been more important. Has remote work made that harder?
“Remote work has pushed most companies to be more agile,” said Bill Dalicandro, senior vice president at Unum. “Think of all the video calls we’ve been on, the number of chat messages we’ve all sent and emails we’ve read on our phones while picking kids up from school. For the people who manage benefits, staying connected to employees has actually never been easier.”
He points out that the real challenge is not in getting information from employees, but in making sure that information is properly maintained.
“With benefits teams often working remotely and potentially spread out across towns or across the country, having a digital platform to manage employee coverage statuses and records is critical,” Dalicandro added. Collaboration has required creativity, and the transition from paper reports to electronic documents has accelerated. Dalicandro noted, “online benefits tools have become just as important to companies as their communication technologies.”
Benefits administration made simpler
Even before 2020, Unum saw the opportunity to make benefits administration simpler by empowering clients to manage their accounts online. The MyUnum portal allows them to make employee updates, review and pay invoices and access important plan information. Removing the reliance on spreadsheets and mail has helped many of Unum’s clients manage their benefits more efficiently and reduce costs.
“Having online benefits tools simplifies the process for human resources, payroll and finance functions, allowing plan administrators to quickly get their work done in this new environment,” Dalicandro said. “You can enroll new employees from anywhere, make employee changes from anywhere and pay invoices from anywhere.”
And that’s what’s needed when employees are working from anywhere. MyUnum puts your benefits right where you need them, no matter where your team is located.