As businesses begin to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees need to consider returning to their offices or continue telecommuting. It is essential that organizations have workplace wellbeing options available to help employees stay healthy – physically and mentally –  and stay productive regardless of where they are working.

This is where Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) can potentially come into play. EAPs are voluntary options designed to help employees through personal and/or work-related problems, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). These issues include, but are not limited to, alcohol and other substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems, and psychological disorders among other life crisis issues.

In 2019, 79% of employers offered an EAP, the 2019 SHRM Employee Benefits research report found.

However, there is a potential downside to EAPs. Referred to as anti-EAP (A-EAP), this is when employers want “quick wins” and are looking to reduce health costs and solve employee wellbeing issues, states the Journal of Employee Assistance (JEA).

“There is now so much amorphous content inside the anti-EAP movement – repackaged, hackneyed, and even some solidly promising – that our field needs to separate the wheat from the chaff,” the article said. “There are new A-EAP approaches that clearly have merit and could potentially improve access and outcomes but lack empirical research backing.”

Essentially, EAPs have a problem delivering real-world options to employees. It is not enough to implement quick fixes or blanketed solutions that ignore individual needs. For example, a busy mother of three might need assistance with balancing her stress. But a 70-year-old retiree will likely not require the same type of plan.

Furthermore, EAPs do not always offer solutions that can be maintained long-term. When individuals are referred to a therapist, for example, they may be provided limited access or only granted a few appointments.

“It is possible to shorten the ‘vetting’ period for purported innovations (or disruptors) and avoid overly simplistic or grandiose claims that have little or no research backing – or the adoption of new products that lack an evidence-base,” according to JEA.

EAPS need to partner with the right wellbeing program to ensure that each employee can receive the right options for their physical and/or mental health needs.

Restoring the strength of EAPs

EAPs fail by latching onto fads that are not clinically proven. Employees need real options for their health and wellbeing, with achievable goals that are tailored to their individual needs. This is how RestoreResilience is different.

Developing a personalized approach to wellbeing that is part of a larger lifestyle behavior modification program will ensure that employees can make small changes for long-lasting impact. Focusing on stress and anxiety, as well as other pillars of good health like sleep, nutrition, and exercise, RestoreResilience pairs individuals with personal health coaches for one-on-one sessions, community groups, and in-app support.

Zillion understands that programs centered on behavior change help employees make gradual adjustments to their current lifestyles. Businesses can pivot their approach to wellbeing while keeping employees healthy. RestoreResilience is the perfect enhancement option for existing EAPs, giving them the ability to elevate their offerings and positively impact employees.