Insider News: Pandemic workplace trends and strategies

In this week's Insider News, we share an analysis on hospital admissions since the pandemic, both related to COVID-19 and not; a survey highlighting how working remotely affects workers differently based on age; and strategies to support employees and encourage engagement during upcoming open enrollments.

Survey says older workers adapting easier to the pandemic and working remotely more than their younger colleagues from MarketWatch

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the U.S., many employers are keeping employees working remotely whenever possible. In fact, only 28% of U.S. employees expect to return to their workplaces by the end of 2020, according to a recent Conference Board survey of more than 1,100 workers. What's interesting is that the older employees (Baby Boomers) seem less affected or stressed at work than the younger generations (Generation Z and Millennials). When it comes to the younger workers, only 11% of Gen Z and 17% of millennials say that COVID-19 hasn’t negatively affected their mental health. That's more than double the number of boomers (28%) who noted work and the pandemic hasn’t negatively affected them.

Open enrollment during a pandemic: 3 strategies to engage and support employees from Employee Benefit News (EBN)

Connecting with employees during open enrollment periods is often challenging. Add a pandemic to the mix and it can be even harder. Employees are stressed overall and so many are working remotely. It's important to find ways to show employees that they're valued and engage them in ways that they understand their upcoming benefit options. To help support employees and encourage engagement during open enrollment, EBN offers suggestions around these important strategies: 1) Establish a regular benefits communication strategy, 2) Take a digital approach, and 3) Voluntary benefits are essential, not just optional. 

Hospital admissions rebound amid pandemic but remain below predicted levels from Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)

A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of EMR data from December 2017 to August 2020 found total hospital admissions dropped to as low as 68.6% of predicted admissions during the week of April 11, 2020, then increased to a high of 94.3% of predicted levels by the week of July 11, 2020. As of August 8, 2020, admission volume dipped slightly to 90.8% of predicted levels. Overall, the number of hospitalizations lost due to declines in admissions between March 8 and August 8, 2020, represent 6.9% of the total expected admissions for 2020.

Regarding non-COVID admissions, the report showed people age 65 and older had about half as many admissions in late March and April 2020 compared to what was predicted. While their admissions have increased somewhat, they stabilized at approximately 80% to 85% of their predicted level in late July and early August while admissions for people under age 65 were at about 90% of predicted levels during the same period.

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