Whether a Fortune 100 company or a neighborhood startup, there’s no longer any such thing as a typical employee, much less a typical workforce. Today’s diverse employees have a wide variety of needs when it comes to their benefits—including vision benefits.
For example, we know that 70% of EyeMed members use their vision insurance benefits to buy glasses and 30% purchase contacts.1 But low copays on progressive lenses may not matter if your company is primarily younger employees who may be more interested in contact lenses. That's why you need to know your employees and anticipate the products and features they will use most often.
But a workforce’s vision care can be affected by more than just employee age. Read on to see how to consider your employees’ needs when crafting your vision benefits.
Demographics and vision care
The American workforce has more generational diversity than ever. As older adults stay employed to afford the cost of living and Generation Z begins to enter the workforce, five different generations may work side by side:2
- Traditionalists (1925-1945)
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
- Generation X (1965-1980)
- Millennials (1981-2000)
- Generation Z (2000-2020)
Baby Boomers and Traditionalists have different vision needs than Generation X, which has different vision needs than Generation Z. If your workforce is made up of multiple generations, consider a vision plan that covers as many bases as possible. Likewise, if there are very few generations employed at your workplace, consider what their vision needs might be. Older adults are more likely to deal with presbyopia—difficulty seeing up close— and age-related macular degeneration, while younger adults may be more interested in contact lenses or LASIK surgery.
Today’s US workforce more or less mirrors the population: 77% white, 18% Hispanic or Latinx, 13% Black, and 6% Asian. However, healthcare discrepancies remain among some minority populations—for example, Hispanic or Latinx employees are 11% less likely to know where to find answers to their benefits questions, so providing clear access and resources is key for employees to feel confident about their benefits. Certain eye issues may be more prevalent among minority populations, too. It’s best to check in on what people need.3
According to the most recent US census…
- 29% of households are made up of just one person
- 48% of families live with at least one child under age 18
- 56% of young adults (18-24) live in their parental home
- As of 2020, there were nearly 1,000,000 same-sex households
- Live-in grandparents have become more common as many adults care for aging parents and their own children
When building a benefits package for your employees, consider not only what they need, but what their families need, too. For example, does their plan account for civil unions, adopted or foster children, or older adult children still on their parents’ insurance?
As of June 2022, 8 in 10 people were working remotely or hybrid, with only 2 in 10 on site full-time.4 Meanwhile, 65% of employees would prefer to work remotely full-time, and 32% want a hybrid work environment.4 It’s clear that remote work isn’t going away anytime soon—so a large network and diverse network of providers with flexible evening and weekend hours is essential.
A typical desk job may not pose a danger to the eyes, but eye fatigue and eye strain are common side effects of heightened screen time. Low copays on blue light lenses might be a welcome addition to the vision benefits for any office environment, as would progressive lenses for an older deskbound workforce, since presbyopia affects everyone starting on or around age 40. But jobs where employees work closely with machinery, equipment, and even food (think hot oil splatters) may require safety glasses and more protective measures for the eyes. NIOSH reports that 2,000 US workers a day sustain eye injuries at their jobs, so keeping your workers’ eyes protected before accidents happen (and covered if they do) is vital to their health and safety.5
Communication is key
54% of employees don’t fully understand their current health benefits.6 So communication is critical for driving usage and savings. But with a diverse workforce, it’s important to get the message across effectively, meet your employees where they are. For example, if most of your employees work from home, they may not see a flyer on the break room wall. There are generational differences, too:
- Older adults may prefer traditional mailers, phone calls or emails sent directly to the work email they use every day.
- Younger generations may prefer text messages or video tutorials.
EyeMed provide a wide variety of tools to help reach a wide variety of members. Online tools, text alerts, emails, direct mailers and a host of downloadable health and wellness content you can share with your workforce.
Need more info?
For more on making sure your employees have a vision plan that fits their individual needs, reach out to your EyeMed sales rep.
1 EyeMed commercial book of business, 2022.
2 “Meet Your 2023 Workforce: There’s No Such Thing as a Typical Employee Profile”; Jellyvision; jellyvision.com; February 2, 2023.
3 “The Statistics on Eye Disease in America (2022)”; NVISION Eye Centers; nvisioncenters.com; Updated December 4, 2022.
4 Paulise, L.; “The 2022 Status Of Remote Work And Top Future Predictions”; Forbes; forbes.com; December 8, 2022.
5 “Fast Facts About Vision Loss”; Centers for Disease Control; cdc.gov; Reviewed December 19, 2022.
6 Plescia, M.; “Employees want help with their health benefits, survey finds”, MedCity News; medcitynews.com; August 11, 2022.