The COVID pandemic for small businesses is now in its sixth month with no signs of abating. Even before the pandemic, small business employees and employers were dealing with the effects of an increasingly complex work-life reality; COVID-19 has driven a “living at work” lifestyle that is making this balance more difficult.
On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Jessica Moser, Senior Vice President, Small Business Solutions at MetLife discuss this paradox and the insight from their monthly Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll.
Jessica Moser of MetLife on Living at Work
Jessica discusses that during the pandemic, work/life boundaries have become blurred because is it hard to tell when work starts and stops. She adds that “many employees feel they are on all the time.” In MetLife’s monthly poll, they found that 42% of small biz employers and employees say they struggle to navigate the demands of an “always-on” work/life world . In addition, 49% of employers cited burnout as a top concern (up significantly from 37% in 2019).
According to Jessica, the best way to navigate the always on culture is to listen to what your employees specific pain points are; “is it too many emails or Zoom calls? Are they feeling too isolated? This is how you start to create solutions. Remember, flexibility and support has always been a key differentiator for working at a small business.”
In the latest poll, MetLife found that small business employees are more worried about their financial health (55%) than their physical health (44%), a startling statistic in the midst of a global pandemic. Two thirds of employees are concerned their business will have to close again and 55% of small business leaders think it is going to take six more months to get to normal.
As Jessica points out, “if they are financially worried it’s hard to be productive.” She suggests that small businesses look at voluntary benefit options that provide security and flexibility to show your company cares about its staff.
According to the poll, employees value voluntary benefits even if they have to pay for them. 46% small business employees are interested in a wider array of benefits like dental, basic life insurance, and legal plans. Jessica believes it is critical for small business owners to communicate the value of all employee benefits since according to their survey, people understand their benefits feel better holistically.
Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show.