7 Surprising Ways an EAP Helps with Work-Life Balance

By Jeanette Coleman, SPHR & SHRM-SCP on Sep 15, 2021
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EAP Employee Assistance Program Work Life Balance

People who work for companies that offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are typically aware they can receive free, confidential help for things like substance abuse or marital problems. However, fewer are aware of other benefits offered by their employer’s EAP that can help them achieve better work-life balance.

Axcet HR Solutions offers a free EAP benefit to all clients. Despite this, employers and employees alike remain unaware of the many lesser-known services that can help people achieve a greater sense of balance in their lives. In this blog, we cover seven services included with our EAP that our small and mid-sized clients and their employees may not realize existed.

1.  Help with Everyday Tasks

We encourage all clients to investigate the convenience and concierge services offered through Axcet’s EAP benefit. Employees may feel like they should not use an EAP for things like booking a vacation or finding a plumber, but EAP providers understand they are busy people and want to help. The upside is that having someone else handle these routine tasks reduces employee stress levels and allows them to focus better on their work.

2.  Saving and Budgeting

Creating and living on a budget is not always easy, especially for younger employees who may have only recently left their parents’ home and are now working their first full-time job. By connecting with an EAP, younger workers can learn the basics of budgeting, saving, and investing. Workers who have been on the job for a while can receive assistance with such things as saving for a home improvement project, their kids’ college fund, or retirement.

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3.  Relocation

Employees who relocate for work face a lot of changes all at once. From figuring out how to enroll their kids in school to locating service providers like auto repair shops and veterinarians, EAP relocation specialists can help. Not having to focus on these things makes it easier for employees to feel at home in their new town and settle into their position with the company.

4.  Retirement Concerns

Employees who are nearing retirement age can receive free assistance from an EAP to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible. For example, an EAP counselor can help retiring employees with the following:

  • Signing up for Medicare
  • Deciding whether to downsize and recommending retirement communities for those who have decided to sell their home.
  • Estate planning
  • Budgeting after retirement
  • Provide information on how to access money in retirement accounts and the tax ramifications of various decisions.

5.  Parenting and Caregiving Support

Employees in the sandwich generation face significant stress. This term defines people who have primary responsibility for dependent children and aging parents at the same time. Connecting with an EAP helps employees find support for both their parenting and caregiving roles, such as home care services for senior parents or college options for their children.

Related: What Employers Should Know About Working Caregivers During COVID >>

6.  Identity Theft Prevention and Recovery

Identity theft is becoming an all-too-common reality for millions of people every year. While preventing it from happening in the first place is ideal, employees need support to put their financial life back together when identity theft happens to them. An EAP advisor can provide employees with resources about credit monitoring, online safety, filing a police report, and related topics.

7.  Grief and Loss

People who spend 40 hours a week together for years can grow closer to each other than their own family members. When another employee suddenly dies, it can be overwhelming for those left to carry on without that person. People who have lost a family member, whether they anticipated the death or it happened suddenly, can also benefit from grief counseling.

Having multiple employees face a crisis at the same time can be difficult for any organization. One common example is a natural disaster displacing dozens of workers at once. A trained counselor from our EAP is available to lend a listening ear and provide employees with resources they may not have the time or know-how to locate on their own.

Related - Words of Comfort: How to Support a Grieving Employee >>

EAPs are Still Chronically Underutilized

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, far too many people do not realize that their employer even offers an EAP. Those that do know about the service may fear a breach of confidentiality or feel skeptical about their employer offering the benefit at no cost. Whatever the reason employees do not use this valuable service, small and mid-sized business owners can increase usage by engaging in a few simple actions.

Some employers inform new employees about the EAP benefit during onboarding and then never mention it again. To encourage usage and better work-life balance, employers should consider promoting the EAP throughout the year. They need to let employees know the service is free, confidential, and typically available 24 hours a day. Be sure to provide employees with the EAP website address where they can find an entire resource section devoted to work-life balance.

When employees are brave enough to tell their manager that they are struggling with personal issues that impact their work performance, having EAP information readily available sends the message that the employer cares. Employers should be certain to communicate that the company never receives any personal identifying information, only numbers of how many employees use the service each month.

Contact Axcet HR Solutions with Additional Questions About Our EAP Benefit

Axcet invites current and potential clients to contact us to learn more about all the benefits available through our sponsored EAP. We are also available to answer questions about the numerous other HR administrative support services we offer to smaller employers in the Kansas City metropolitan area. For more information about our employee benefits plans visit our website. 

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