How to Take Full Advantage of Your Company’s Benefits

If you’re working in a company and you’re making a decent income, you might think that’s the best you can do. But are you taking advantage of the benefits that might be available?

Lots of bigger companies, and some smaller ones, too, have employee perks they don’t advertise. They might be in the employee manual (the one most of us never read thoroughly). Some are touched on during orientation and then not brought up again.

Before you get too content—or discontent—with your job, check to see if these benefits are available. If they are, start taking advantage of them ASAP!

1. Wellness Incentives

Federal laws mandate that employers with 50 or more full-time employees offer affordable, valuable health insurance to their staff. Full-time applies to those who work 30 or more hours each week.

You’re probably well aware of the insurance coverage you have. However, did you know that most large insurers offer rewards and discounts for being healthy? Those who take part in wellness and preventative care can get rewarded!

Insurance companies have learned that the best way to save money is to keep people from getting sick. To that end, they offer a lot of wellness visits and screenings with their policies.

Your employer likely gets a discounted rate if they encourage their employees to take steps towards positive health. Check with your company to see if there is a program you can join to track your own health journey.

Just by taking care of your health, you could earn cash prizes and perks. Some companies even provide you with tools like Fitbits and app subscriptions for free! 

Employers know that it’s cheaper for them, in the long run, to keep you healthy. You’ll come to work as you’re supposed to and be more productive while you’re there.

Most importantly for you, you’ll feel good and be less likely to develop chronic illnesses.

2. Invest in Stock Options

If you’re money-savvy, you paid close attention at your initial orientation to check for stock options. You might already be taking advantage of the investment opportunities offered. 

If not, you’re probably getting the bare minimum taken out of your check for benefits. 401K, HSAs, and Social Security are usually the default deductions.

But if your company offers you the chance to invest in stocks, you should jump on it! 

Larger companies will usually match your contribution up to a certain amount when you invest. This is the perfect opportunity for you to start a diverse portfolio without coming up with a hefty minimum investment.

Start with what you think you can feasibly afford. When the money is taken out of your check before you get it, you won’t even notice that little bit. Over time, you can steadily increase your investment contributions.

3. Mental Health Care

Being physically in shape is only half the battle. If your mind is caught up on your personal problems, your productivity at work is likely to suffer.

Because of this, a lot of employers now offer mental health care programs. These are designed to help you get through trying times in your life without costing you money out of your pocket.

One of the most significant changes over the past decade has been the inception of the EAP. EAPS, or Employee Assistance Programs, are basically free mental health care. 

The biggest reason many people don’t seek professional help for their problems is lack of money. Therapy can get expensive. But an EAP gives you access to free sessions, up to a certain amount of visits.

Another obstacle is the worry that your employer will think poorly of you if they know what’s going on in your personal life. With an EAP, you can get counseling for your issues, and you’re not required to let anyone know what’s going on. 

The idea behind an EAP program is that if employees have stable, content home lives, they will be more productive and satisfied at work. Use these programs to your benefit. You never know what you’ll learn when you reach out for help.

Conclusion

As with many things in a job, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. There are lots of benefits that employers offer, through requirements or because they know it improves their bottom line for you to be happy.

These three employee perks are common in most companies. Check with your HR representative to see if your job offers them, and find out what other benefits you might be entitled to!

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