Jibber jabber. That’s all it sounded like. I wasn’t used to being a foreigner surrounded by people who spoke a different language. Actually, I’d never experienced it before. I was lost in a little town in Mexico on the first of many humanitarian trips my family would take during my youth. It was terrifying. I knew it was vital that I make some sense out of what the locals were saying, but it was so easy to tune it out because it was so much work to pick up. I had to figure it out or it was going to be really difficult to figure out exactly where I was and how to get where I needed to be.
Sound like a familiar situation? Surely you’ve had employees in your office who were completely perplexed about their healthcare benefits and options. Employees may feel like you’re speaking a completely different language. Why does it have to be so hard? Because it is confusing and matters so much. People’s well being and financial situation are at stake when it comes to healthcare. Enter: the Affordable Care Act. Now the stakes are raised even more.
This may explain why 1 in 3 employees experienced an increase in stress since ACA went into effect.
Now to be realistic, we all experience job stress. It’s part of life. But sustained and increased stress are not good for your workplace.
It is estimated that about 100 million workdays are lost due to stress. And even on the days stressed employees aren’t missing work, their stress inadvertently results in low performance.
And employees are affected by stress outside of work too. Sixty-six percent report stress-related health issues. (Perhaps this is exacerbated by the fact that they don’t know how to get health-treatment using their medical plans!)
So, if you care about workplace productivity and your employees’ health and well-being, you may want to address the stress they’re experiencing when it comes to their healthcare. How? Help them understand.
Here’s what they are currently confused about:
You understand their healthcare plans. Take the time to help employees understand them too. If they understand, they won’t be overwhelmed. If they aren’t overwhelmed, they won’t be as stressed.
Also, ask your employees what they need help with. Don’t make it hard for them to find the information on their own! Provide all the information and explanations they need somewhere in the office (or better yet, somewhere they can access it from anywhere—like an online portal). And speak their language!
The relief I felt when I finally stumbled upon some people from our group was incredible. They understood me and could point me in the right direction! And I could finally get back to where I needed to be. You can be that needed interpreter for your employees. Many of them are lost in the world of healthcare. They need you to guide them in the right direction.
If you’d like to dive deeper into the data from this study, check out the full infographic and survey report.