Jan Dubauskas is the Vice President of Healthinsurance.com.
We have experienced a lot of change throughout the course of the pandemic that has required us to reconsider our priorities and become nimble in the way we work and how we reach out to our clients. Many were skeptical that these changes would lead to similar productivity. However, as we prioritize our health during the pandemic, working from home has become important, and many (24%, according to CNBC) have adapted so well that they want to keep doing it.
When we first started working from home, the primary concern for many was to set up an office, retain camaraderie, and continue meeting with clients. During the spring, as I watched as annual springtime conferences got canceled or sent to an online format, I keenly felt the void previously filled by those intense social interactions. It seemed that with a bit of luck, the shutdowns would pass and we would return to our normal activity. But as the pandemic stretched into the summer and many lost their jobs due to the pandemic, it dawned on all of us that we are approaching a different way of working that will likely have lasting impacts.
Before the pandemic, workers appreciated but likely undervalued their employer-sponsored health benefits. In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, many health insurance companies quickly adjusted their benefits packages to ensure coverage for Covid-19 testing and more. So with general health and fear of illness weighing heavily on our minds, health insurance during a pandemic has become a vital benefit. And in a recent survey from my company, 64% of respondents rated their health insurance coverage as “excellent” or “good.”
The economic slowdown to curb the virus could cause approximately 27 million Americans to lose employer-sponsored health insurance during the pandemic, according to May 2020 KFF estimates. This instability is also impacting those who would otherwise consider changing jobs so much that 38% of workers my company surveyed are now reluctant to switch jobs and sacrifice their current health insurance. What this says is that the pandemic has affected us in unexpected ways, that we have come to rely on our health insurance as a safety net and that we value that benefit that this employer benefit offers.
At the same time, we have had to adjust to a new way to work. Many of us are working from home. Concerns about the pandemic caused many of us to work from home, and over time we have adjusted and adapted. At first, we were all sharing tips for working from home. For me, working from home was strange because my husband also began working from home. We were silently stressed as we competed for quiet spaces and office supplies until we each staked out our favorite spots and settled into a new routine.
Now, we appreciate skipping the morning commute and sharing lunch breaks. The hour we used for commuting is now devoted to walks in the neighborhood and more family time. Not surprisingly, in my company’s recent survey, 49% of respondents said that working from home is better for their overall health and wellness, so much so that 40% would take a pay cut to continue working from home. And 33% say that working from home is a very important factor when they’re considering a new job.
The Covid-19 pandemic will undeniably have many long-ranging impacts. As we experience the pandemic, we have discovered an appreciation for the health care benefits our employers provide, and we have learned that working from home is not only a viable option — it is a preference for many.