3 Ways to Respond to Employee Fears When Reopening

3 Ways to Respond to Employee Fears When Reopening

The gradual reopening of American business is underway after months of lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses are eager for the day when all of their employees can return to the workplace. Returning workers are excited, too, but as businesses reopen to full capacity, they are also anxious about resuming work and the future of their employment.

Here are three concerns that are likely to come up, and suggestions for responding compassionately and reassuringly using PayActiv, an Earned Wage Access (EWA) benefit.

Worry #1: Can I still lose my job due to the economic impact of the pandemic?

The economic repercussions of the pandemic are still being calculated. Even as employees return, businesses are making budget readjustments for the future. You may worry about having to make cuts—and your employees probably worry about it too.

Even if you face tough budget choices, one no-cost way to reassure your employees that you’re thinking about helping them—not firing them—is to provide a financial wellness benefit such as PayActiv. By offering a financial wellness benefit, you show your employees that you are not eliminating anything. Instead, you are investing in them by adding a benefit.

Worry #2: The cost of living is increasing rapidly. What if I still can’t afford to pay my bills?

When the economy is unsettled, the cost of essentials increases—especially food. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the food price index in the United States increased 1.5 percent in April. The index for meats, poultry, and fish rose sharply by 4.3 percent, and the cereal and bakery index increased 2.9 percent. The latter is the largest monthly increase ever recorded by BLS.[1]

The financial stress that economic hardships like this places on employees is significant; it can even bring on anxiety symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Employers can help relieve this anxiety by offering EWA through PayActiv so that employees can access their earnings before payday hits. EWA gives workers the freedom to pay bills or purchase life-sustaining items on demand, reducing their financial stress and leading to better financial wellness overall.

Worry #3: After this pandemic, I’m more concerned than ever about taking care of my health. How can I do that now that I’ve returned to work?

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons, including the importance of self-care and routine health care. Employees may wonder how to maintain the healthy habits they’ve cultivated at home as they return to their busy workplaces.

As an employer, you can make self-care a priority by providing resources, such as access to exercise classes, and encouraging workers to bring their healthy routines—more frequent breaks, perhaps—into the office. You can also remind them of the many ways PayActiv can assist with budgeting and how EWA can help them cover health-care costs.

It’s normal for employees to harbor some fears as they return to their jobs after a period of great uncertainty. Your job, as an employer, is to communicate to your workers that they are a valued and a valuable part of your business. Even better, you can show them you care by offering low- to no-cost solutions that improve their lives.

[1] Robert Johansson, “Another Look at Availability and Prices of Food Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic,” USDA, May 28, 2020, https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2020/05/28/another-look-availability-and-prices-food-amid-covid-19-pandemic.

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