Blog: COVID-19: Why companies may need to relook at employee health policies

Employee Relations

COVID-19: Why companies may need to relook at employee health policies

According to recent survey, 73 percent of surveyed job seekers took into account the company’s health and wellness package while considering the job position.
COVID-19: Why companies may need to relook at employee health policies

The world is going through a major crisis right now. Coronavirus has affected more than 170 countries and territories around the world. With little hope of a vaccine in the market for the next one year at least, the only solution is to stay indoors till the virus is effectively contained. In times like this, building immunity and managing underlying health conditions is very important. Building immunity is not just dependent on proper nutrition but on an overall state of wellbeing. Healthier patients obviously have a better chance at resisting the effects of the viral disease. 

Employee health - Biggest risk to business

According to recent survey, 73 percent of surveyed job seekers took into account the company’s health and wellness package while considering the job position. Another survey by an insurance provider puts employee health at the top of the charts when it comes to the most crucial risks faced by businesses.

Furthermore, the holistic health and wellbeing of a person depends on the environment he is living in and the workplace is, unarguably, a major part of it. Toxic environments, whether at work or outside, can take a toll on workers’ well-being and productivity. High-stress levels, unhealthy eating habits and work overload contribute to work-related health issues that lead to a loss of productivity for organizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 billion annually in the United States, or $1,685 per employee.

Indian companies too have started to realize that the cost of unhealthy employees could lead to a severe dent in their profit levels. This has resulted in a growing number of organizations mandating overall health and wellness as one of the top priorities for human resources. In progressive companies, the HR policies are becoming more inclined towards crafting dedicated wellness programs for their workers. This move could also be seen as a push to prevent talent attrition and inspire commitment and loyalty towards the organization. 

How is AI bridging the gap of corporate wellness programs?

Over the years, there has been a marked shift in how organizations approach employee health. Companies now recognise mental health-related issues as well. Corporates are also partnering with emerging healthcare technology platforms that focus on preventive healthcare management of employees.

These new-age, analytics-based health and wellness management platforms digitize and consolidate health records of the employees to derive meaningful insights by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) & machine learning (ML) and engage with them to provide personalized care.

The AI-based solution can help employees to track important health parameters, identify the risks early, take measures to keep them in check and manage their complete health and well-being. A data-driven model uses AI to predict the risk of many chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mental health-related conditions based on the data shared by the user.

Going even further, some cutting-edge firms are using AI-enabled wearables imbued with machine learning algorithms and natural language processing to help identify workers struggling with productivity or happiness in the office through pattern identification and cognitive engagement. 

AI-based technologies are expected to have a $190 billion market value by 2025 with healthcare a major contributor to the pie. The biggest benefit of AI in healthcare would be helping employees to stay healthy enough not to need a doctor, or at least not as often. The use of AI and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) in health applications is already helping employees. Technology applications encourage healthy behavior in employees, build health cohorts and enable them to take control and proactively manage their lifestyle.

In conclusion

Many firms have come up with the AI-based healthcare platforms in B2B and B2C space. COVID-19 has given organizations a golden opportunity to incorporate technology and modernize their employee healthcare programs/policies taking into account the current situation and anticipating future needs. Leveraging offerings by AI-based healthcare technology firms can help organizations to take a step towards the future needs of workplace health. Today, as the perspective on workplace healthcare management is changing, AI could be engaged as an effective tool to provide healthier, more productive, and accessible work environments for all employees. 

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Topics: Employee Relations, #COVID-19, #GuestArticle

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