Business As Unusual

When COVID-19 hit the US in March 2020 39% of workers had remote work options. Fast forward 1 month and 62% of people said that they have worked from home.

remote work chart

This doesn't seem to be a short-term trend. According to a survey by Statista, 43% of workers say that they are going to work remotely more often after COVID-19.

So, how will remote work effect this year's open enrollment? What changes do employer's need to be aware of, and how can they best prepare? These are questions we will consider here.

Creating the Game Plan

At ThinkTank we recommend holding a virtual meeting with everyone involved in the open enrollment process. This is no different than past years (well, with the exception of the whole virtual part). But this year, it's more crucial than ever to consider any changes caused by a remote workforce. The meeting should be used as a starting point to create an open enrollment game plan, so everybody stays on the same page while remote.

Here are some questions to consider during your virtual open enrollment meeting.

  • What do we need to know about the employee population?
  • Is the census information accurate?
  • Anticipate any procedural changes to this year's open enrollment?
  • Any last minute financial or workforce changes due to COVID?
  • What would be the ideal type of communication around open enrollment?
  • Any changes to voluntary benefits?
  • Suggestions to make any plan changes and/or voluntary benefits more easily understood?
  • Can we offer incentives to meet with a benefits counselor?
  • How to best communicate with the employer’s supervisory personnel to assure that every employee is engaged and participates in the communication and enrollment campaign?
  • How will we define success for the 2020 open enrollment campaign?

We are big fans of Zoom here at ThinkTank. Yesterday Peter held a Zoom happy hour for us "tankers" that wen't a couple hours too long. It has been a great tool for keeping the team in sync. I mention Zoom here because they have a feature that allows you to record the meeting. Do this, so you can listen back to the meeting and take appropriate actions on each step.

Putting the Game Plan into Action

Now that we have consulted with everybody involved with open enrollment, we can put what we learned into practice. We do this by creating a checklist of items, the due dates, and the parties responsible.

At minimum the action plan should include:

  • Number of eligible employees
  • Obtain accurate census
  • Changes made from previous year
  • Number of employees returning the the workplace
  • Employee communication plan(in person, telephone, zoom) to explain changing or new offerings.
  • Schedule De-brief session

We recommend using Google Sheets to create the checklist Document on Google Sheets to everybody can review and collaborate and see progress of each item in real time.

If you need assistance with open enrollment, or would just like some guidance on how to setup Google Sheets, don't hesitate to reach out.

Marty Thomas

Marty Thomas

Marty has spent most of the last 20 years developing software in the marketing space and creating pathways for software systems to talk to each other with high efficiency. He heads our digital marketing efforts as well as oversees any technology implementations for our clients. As a partner, Marty is also responsible for internal systems in which help our team communicates with each other and our clients.