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Putting your employees at ease with spending accounts

Employee spending accounts are customized benefits plans set up by the employer for their employees. Know how to put your workers at ease about them.

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Help employees realize the advantages of spending accounts.

Employee spending accounts are customized benefits plans set up by the employer for their employees. Help put your workers at ease about them.

The pandemic transformed the world seemingly overnight, and as we all emerged from it, things we had accepted as normal had changed for good. The initial transition was a shock for many. Work routines rapidly altered, to the detriment of many employees’ work-life balance. Many were forced to operate remotely using hastily assembled equipment and suddenly had to merge their work and living spaces.

But as the weeks stretched into months, we stabilized. Hybrid workspaces and work-from-home jobs have rapidly become standard across industries, giving workers greater freedom and flexibility while letting businesses take advantage of improved productivity. Companies responded to the new landscape with their own adjustments and offerings: hybrid office spaces, expanded perks, and a renewed dedication to work-life balance within their ranks.

That includes steps like spending accounts — funds or perks provided to employees by a company to use for certain discretionary purposes. Employee spending accounts can be used for lifestyle maintenance like gym memberships, vacation bills, and commuting fees, helping improve worker health and otherwise addressing their quality of life. The concept can take some getting used to, especially among the workforce itself. The more management can put their team at ease with using employee spending accounts, the easier and more readily those accounts will work as they should.

Employee well-being is a top priority now more than ever.

The changes wrought by the pandemic rattled both employers and employees alike. The long-term effects of stressors like health concerns and the shift in work models and work-life balance are still being assessed. We’re all still finding our footing in the new world. That makes employee well-being as much the responsibility of the company as the workers themselves.

Integrated policies such as spending accounts can help remove stressors in employees’ lives, as well as provide important incentives to hire and retain talent. Why? They demonstrate a concern for the well-being of team members, beyond simply paying them for their time and expertise. Employee benefits help address those concerns while providing the flexibility workers need to better balance their lives.

Does an employee spending account benefits program work? (It does!)

Cash bonuses and raises have been perks of employment for generations. Yet simply paying an employee more doesn’t necessarily translate the way one assumes. An employee benefits program targeting, say, medical costs, commuting costs, or holiday expenses can often prove a stronger motivator than a simple check. There is more than speculation in the assessment. Recent studies show that a plurality of employees prefers non-monetary benefits over a simple bonus or salary increase. The company that sets up and operates an employee benefits program can curry a surprising number of advantages.

Non-monetary benefits are a demonstration of employer empathy, signaling that you understand life is about more than a job. This in turn improves productivity, as workers can better balance the specifics of their life with their company responsibilities. Stress and anxiety are reduced and quality of life improves — which by themselves can elevate job satisfaction. Labor is flexing its muscle in today’s job market like never before. Offering a non-monetary benefits program that empowers employees with the freedom of choice is an outstanding way to attract long-term talent.

The key to that lies in the kind of benefits you offer. The more relevant they address individual needs and lifestyle requirements while staying focused on overall goals — the more they act as intended, providing benefits to workers and companies alike. Managers should think in terms of systemic integration and long-term applications, rather than a quick-fix that sacrifices flexibility for expediency.

Spending accounts are the “new” way to provide employee benefits.

Employee benefits are nothing new. Holiday bonuses, for instance — to cover costs during the holidays and help employees enjoy the season — have served as a regular office perk for a long while. However, with the changes in lifestyle caused by the pandemic, employee spending accounts writ-large have increased in popularity, providing new options to help achieve better work-life balance.

So what are employee spending accounts, exactly? Put simply, it’s an account dedicated to a specific purpose, in which a company places funds or resources for specific use by employees. One common example is a health spending fund, designed to cover expenses like gym memberships, yoga classes, and exercise equipment. Far from being a useless perk, such funds often result in improved employee health, fewer sick days, and increased positivity.

Today’s employers understand that such programs require certain flexibility. An employee who works from home, for instance, might prefer equipment over the use of a company gym. Such lifestyle spending accounts can cover commuter costs, training seminars, daycare for children and pets, holidays, and vacation spending. The right system lets employers define the parameters, allowing them to offer options while still maintaining the key goals.

Manage employee spending accounts with Forma.

Forma offers a comprehensive solution for employers looking to provide health and well-being benefits to their workforce. Our system allows you to set the parameters and distribute the funds in a manner of your choosing while keeping the process both easy and empowering for your workforce. Effective spending accounts can improve your potential talent pool and help your workers find more fulfillment in every aspect of their lives.

Offices currently working as a hybrid workforce, or planning to in the near future, can similarly benefit from Forma's wide applicability. Read more about flexible benefit programs that work the way you do.