There have always been some people who worked at home, but the pandemic has shown us that with today's technology many employees can do their jobs at home. It seems to be true across different sectors. Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, Entergy and Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, Inc. have many employees working from home. But what about employee benefits while working from home?

“Chevron offers the same benefits package to those employees who are working a hybrid schedule,” says Natalie Danon, senior human resources manager. “A benefit usually has a defined financial value, so the ability to work remotely is considered a flexible work arrangement. That said, we know that offering flexible work arrangements can positively impact talent retention and recruitment.”

Entergy's spokeswoman Mara Hartmann says whether an employee is classified as full time on site, remote or a hybrid of the two is dependent on the job description and requirements, not on the person. “Whether the classification for a certain position is considered a benefit is really in the eye of the beholder. We know from hearing from employees that their work preferences are varied—some enjoy remote work; some prefer to be in the office and others like a mix of the two. And their reasons for their preferences are varied, as well.”
 Scott S. “Skip” Johnson, senior vice president, Employee Benefits, with Fisher Brown Bottrell, said, “At the onset of the pandemic, we were able to immediately shift to a remote environment for about 80 percent of our staff. Technology in our industry has developed in a way that allows us to effectively manage and serve our client-base remotely. We provide hybrid remote working options to enhance associates' quality of life.”

Furthermore, he says more and more businesses are adjusting their hiring practices to accommodate remote workers if the job can be done remotely. “Obviously, some jobs must be performed on site, but many professional firms have a fair percentage of workers with remote set-ups at least part of the time,” he said. “All of our clients are providing the same benefits to their employees, regardless of whether they are on site or remote.”

The majority of the workforce at the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery have critical job duties requiring the employees to be on-site at the facility to perform them. However, they did have part of the workforce working remotely at some point during the year. “Chevron Corporation has adopted a hybrid schedule for its U.S. workforce allowing employees to work up to two days per week from home,” Danon said. “Chevron Pascagoula Refinery has approximately 25 percent of the workforce utilizing this schedule where their job duties do not require them to be on-site every day.”

Entergy Mississippi employees who have been telecommuting since mid-March of 2020 have since been classified as either fully remote, full-time on site or a hybrid of the two, according to Hartmann. “All employees will officially begin their new work posture on November 15, with many returning to their traditional office environment,” she said. “Our employees who transitioned from the office to telecommuting and those who were later classified as remote employees or hybrid workers have and will maintain all the same employee benefits they enjoyed prior to the pandemic forcing a change of work venue.”

Johnson says the change in the way employees are working now has caused a shift in the insurance industry. “It definitely has. However, there will be increased challenges for the industry as a whole,” he said. “The ability to work remotely impacts recruitment and broadens the scope for employers to hire talent outside their physical footprint. This is advantageous in getting new hires but also creates more competition in retaining top talent.”
 He adds that technology continues to be developed within the industry to increase efficiencies and enhance the client experience. “These applications are investments the company must make to support the staff. Working remotely as a whole is putting more pressure on managers to be creative in their approach to developing talent, perpetuating knowledge and having a collaborative environment.”

But not everyone can work remotely. “At Entergy, those workers in departments such as Legal, Regulatory Affairs, Human Resources, Customer Service, Communications and others who typically work in a traditional office space and perform much of their work on computers largely became telecommuters once the country began shutting down due to the emergence of COVID-19,” Hartmann said. “Others, such as the employees who keep our natural gas and nuclear plants operating and our field workers, such as our linemen and support crews, continued working as they always have. These front-line workers are vital to Entergy meeting its obligation to provide safe, affordable power to our customers and their work must be done on-site.”

Danon said. “Chevron employees have communicated their appreciation for the hybrid schedule as it cuts down on commute time and maximizes time at home with family. Additionally, Chevron's digital platforms make it possible to connect with employees working onsite as well as other Chevron locations across the globe in real-time.”

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