Managing a newly remote team or company comes with hurdles. In addition to maintaining the same levels of service, you have to think about keeping your team engaged and connected without the benefit of in-person contact. Wellness programs have become an increasingly valuable tool in helping employees weather this time of uncertainty, but you might worry that employees don’t know about all the wellness resources available to them. In addition, it might feel like some of your previous employee health programs can’t work in a virtual environment. There are still many ways you can engage remote employees and show them you care about their overall health and oral health from afar.
Offer a dental plan with a large network
A dental plan with a nationwide network lets employees take advantage of their dental benefits from anywhere in the country. Working remotely means your employees can now work from almost anywhere. Many people have chosen to ride out the pandemic closer to family who can offer childcare or other resources. This makes the ability to find a participating, in-network dentist in their area even more important.
Consider this: Adults with dental coverage are 73% more likely than those without to visit a dentist at least once a year. So, making that visit as convenient as possible for your staff shows your care about their oral health.
Tip: Take it a step further by outlining the benefits of choosing a dentist that participates in your plan’s network. Employees won’t use their benefits if it (1) isn’t easy and (2) it doesn’t save them money. Usually those barriers can be broken down by better educating employees on how their benefits work. Our “Understanding & Using Dental Benefits” videos are a great way to start talking to employees about how their dental plan works.
Make oral health tips easy to find online
Talking about the importance of taking care of your smile is a great way to stay engaged with your remote employees’ health. And it can be fun! If you have a company Intranet site or HR newsletter, try creating articles that offer mouth-healthy recipes, dental benefits information and oral hygiene tips and tricks.
Tip: Ask your insurance carriers if they have articles, infographics and resources to make promoting benefits and wellness easy. The sales and marketing teams at Delta Dental of Arizona work closely with HR administrators (like me) to point them to the best resources for their needs—many of which are available on our website or blog.
Use a multi-channel approach
Give employees a connected benefits experience that’s convenient and engaging to gather the right information to make sound benefits decisions. That might mean videos, pamphlets, emails, lunch-and-learns, etc. Think outside the box!
Tip: Try introducing gamification! With a game-based learning and engagement platform like Kahoot!, you can create quizzes on a variety of topics, including oral health or your dental benefits plan. Employees can compete for bragging rights, a gift card or another prize of your choosing!
Create a wellness discount for preventive care
Because most dental disease is preventable, many dental plans cover the cost of this care at 100%. But Americans lose more than 164 million hours of work every year due to dental disease. By helping your employees use their benefits, you’ll save on resources and your employees will save on costly dental expenses down the road. And with the bonus of a monetary discount, it’s a win-win for your staff.
Even when employees work outside the office, it’s important to help them maintain good oral health and make the most of their dental coverage throughout the year. Employees who get regular check-ups and stay on top of their oral health are more likely to stay healthy overall. Here are a few more health policies that work for a remote staff:
- Offer paid time off for dental appointments
- Launch quarterly lunch-and-learns with tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams that focus on health topics
- Offer a premium discount for tobacco-free employees
Send an oral health care package
Another easy way to keep employees engaged and feeling connected is to send periodic care packages to their home. Make one all about oral health by including a toothbrush, a tube of travel toothpaste, some floss and a low-sugar snack like pistachios or whole-wheat pretzels. If you want to do something a little “extra,” consider including a recipe for a movie-night snack and online streaming gift card.
Tip: We’ve got a ton of healthy recipes and snack ideas on our blog.
Need even more ideas?
Check out our white paper on helping employees get the most value out of their dental benefits. While it isn’t specific to remote employees, the key tenants and recommendations hold true no matter where your workforce is located!