Is virtual healthcare worth the investment for employers?
In today’s competitive talent pool, understanding employees’ motivations and expectations is critical to business success — and research shows that employees are looking for customizable, prevention-focused benefits programs that save time, achieve work-life balance and provide quick healthcare solutions for their families.
With average smartphone screen time increasing by 60% over the past three years and 72% of smartphone users currently monitoring their health through their phones, it’s not surprising that most Canadian employees want access to telemedicine and virtual care services to supplement in-person visits with their doctors.
But responsible companies also provide health benefits to protect the bottom line: each year, health-related employee absenteeism equates to an estimated $16-billion or more in direct lost revenue to Canadian employers. With people taking 2 - 6 days off per year for physician-related visits (double that figure for Canadians with kids), and each five-minute visit taking approximately two hours of time from the workplace, the financial benefits of virtual healthcare equate to thousands of dollars in savings per employee annually, thanks largely to reduced absenteeism.
Many employees also feel the need to make up for missed time by working nights and weekends, which can be a significant contributing factor to stress-related issues. Furthermore, it is estimated that 60% of absenteeism is stress-related, and the direct cost of stress to employers is roughly $600 per employee or $3.5-million annually for a typical large employer. Of course, we know that stressed-out, sleep-deprived employees also make poorer business decisions than those whose mental health is prioritized.
Ultimately, while companies are investing significant resources into providing health benefits to their workforces, there’s a major gap between what’s being offered and what employees want and need. According to a new Harvard Business School report, this disparity is resulting in “companies incur(ring) millions of dollars of hidden costs due to employee turnover, loss of institutional knowledge, and temporary hiring, in addition to substantial productivity costs such as absenteeism and presenteeism.”