The Future of Financial Wellness is Taking Shape

While remote work may once have been the exception, , the past few years have seen that pendulum swing. As a result, remote work has become not just a norm but an expectation. In fact, while only 6% of Americans reported working fully remotely pre-pandemic,1 today 35% can do so.2 And 87% say they would choose to work flexibly if given the chance.2 As working from home becomes more commonplace, some employers are wondering what that may mean for workplace financial benefits.

New Realities, New Opportunities

Historically, workplace wellness programs have focused on physical and financial heath, with a strong emphasis on benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid sick leave, life insurance, health savings accounts, disability insurance and flexible accounts for healthcare or dependent care. These benefits remain in demand, with employees saying that health insurance (73%) and retirement savings plans (65%) are most important to their decision to stay in their current job or choose a new job.3 However, new workplace realities have introduced opportunities to expand employee wellness programs.


Consider: while 91% of employees say they have had a positive experience with remote work, 44% say they put in more hours when working from home and 11% struggle to unplug, even during non-work hours.4 This may be contributing to a higher burnout rate. In response, many employers have introduced mental health programs, with 39% of employees saying they now have access to resources to help improve mental health and 36% having access to benefits such as free counseling sessions with a mental health therapist or coach.5


Employers are thinking outside the box in other ways too. For instance, some employers now offer childcare stipends, paid time off (PTO) benefits and pet insurance. Others reimburse employees for home office expenses. Still others have begun to promote remote career growth opportunities. As the definition shifts for what constitutes a financial wellness benefit, employer approaches to workplace benefits are shifting as well.     


Evolve to Meet Employee Expectations

Offering wellness benefits that cater to a wider range of financial health challenges can help employers recruit and retain top talent. The following benefits are in high demand and typically boast high employee engagement rates when offered:  

  1. Digital financial education:

     Employees, especially millennials, are eager for financial planning apps/websites and tools to help with investments.6  

  2. Emergency savings:

    Many workers struggle to focus on long-term savings because they are concerned with having a rainy-day fund. Only about a quarter of employers offer an emergency savings fund through payroll deduction.7

  3. Student loan help:

    The mountain of student loan debt that many employees are under is tremendous, yet many financial wellness programs do not address this. When this benefit is available, however, 67% of employees take advantage of it.8

  4. Personalized financial education:

    While talking money at work has traditionally been deemed taboo, this highly requested benefit has high take-up rate from employees. In fact, employees rank access to financial coaching as their most sought-after benefit when it comes to retirement planning assistance.9

  5. Equity compensation:

    Rewarding employees with stock purchase plans, incentive stock options and performance shares is a growing trend. A full 80% of employees agree that equity compensation and stock ownership is the most effective way for companies to keep employees motivated and engaged.10

Future Forward

As remote work increasingly becomes a workplace reality, employee needs are bound to continue evolving. Organizations nimble enough to adapt their wellness programs to help address the financial health challenges their employees face may find themselves at a competitive advantage to not only attract coveted talent, but to build and maintain employee loyalty. 

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