How Transitioning to Remote Work Has a Ripple Effect

We human beings have a tendency to view the world through tunnel vision. In other words, our view of things tends to be narrowed by how they affect us. Take the transition from office work to remote work. Ask most people about it and they will be more than happy to discuss their own experiences. They may not realize that the transition is having a ripple effect across our entire economy.

Every industry in America is supported by tertiary industries. Nearly every business is supported by tertiary businesses that provide necessary products and services. So it’s nearly impossible for something as big as the transition to remote work to not affect every level of economic activity.

We can illustrate this point by looking at employee benefits, particularly health insurance. At first glance, it wouldn’t seem to matter whether employees work in the office or keep working from home. But it does. Insurance brokers know this all too well.

Remote Work Invites New Benefits

BenefitMall is a Dallas company that acts as a general agency for health insurance brokers. They recently published a blog post discussing how to keep remote workers engaged. It is a great post. Meanwhile, the company also has to engage with the insurance brokers it supports to help them find new benefits for remote workers.

Why would remote workers want or need new benefits? Because their circumstances have changed. They still want and need health insurance. That much remains the same. But some of them might also be looking for new benefits tailor-made to the remote work environment.

For example, consider the fact that remote work cuts people off from regular social interaction. Remote workers may be more susceptible to stress and anxiety. As such, new mental health benefits are now on the table.

Above and Beyond on Health Insurance

Just prior to the onset of the coronavirus crisis, employers were thinking about the new benefits they could offer in 2020. Those thoughts have been accelerated and exacerbated. Now, companies are looking to add a variety of new benefits to attract top talent in 2022.

Some of those new benefits include:

  • Remote Work Compensation – Employers might start offering extra compensation to cover remote work expenses like maintaining office space and paying for internet service.

  • Student Loan Reduction – Employers were looking at student loan reduction benefits prior to the pandemic. But now, those saving money by not bringing people back to the office, might be willing to put those savings into a new student loan benefit.

  • Child Care Expenses – Employees whose children are home all summer may not prove so productive. Childcare would be one option. But will employers help cover the extra expense? Some will, some will not.

These three represent just a few of the possibilities. Who knows where benefit packages will go as more companies shift to permanent remote work. Benefits offered five years from now are probably going to look quite a bit different.

The transition from office work to remote work impacts employers and employees the most. But on down the line, there is a ripple effect felt by those individuals and companies that support transitioning employers. There is no way to avoid it.

If you are transitioning to permanent remote work, bear that in mind. Your company’s decision is not affecting just you and your family. It is affecting other companies, their employees and families, and the businesses they do business with. The effect of permanent remote work will be widespread and profound, even if most of the working world does not recognize it.