Recently, retailer John Lewis launched a new workplace scheme partnered with Bloss, an app that offers support with regards to fertility, pregnancy, parenthood and family life. As we’ve uncovered in previous blog posts, since the COVID pandemic, work life balance and employee benefits have been increasingly on the radar of businesses and organisations. This article highlights some key examples of how technology is changing the face of employee benefits, taking a look at some of the most innovative workplace initiatives and how they are transforming working culture, environments and  experiences – especially for female employees.
Ricoh UK | Wealth Wizards

From pioneering the world’s first high speed office facsimile machine, to developing technologies that facilitate flexible working patterns, Ricoh is an international organisation leading the way in improving working environments through technology and innovation. Partnering with the UK-regulated digital financial adviser app MyEva (produced by Wealth Wizards), Ricoh UK aims to provide financial advice and guidance for its employees, in regards to savings, investment, pensions, regardless of what stage they’re at in their career or life. Rewards and insights manager at Ricoh UK, Toni Smith, notes that, “MyEva helps our employees co-ordinate their spending and work out weekly or monthly budgets to help manage their bills. […] Employees can access MyEva 24/7, which provides them with a continuous, real-time overview of their current and future financial wellbeing, which in turn helps to improve their mental and physical wellbeing.” With many families and individuals across the UK struggling with the current cost of living crisis, this initiative could help hundreds of employees to make the most of their money, whilst receiving advice and support on mortgages, savings, pension contributions, and much more.

Clifford Chance | Peppy

Partnering with digital health app Peppy, law firm, Clifford Chance, have launched a new initiative for both women’s and men’s health to support their UK-based employees and partners. The Peppy app offers resources, support and guidance on reproductive health, nutrition, cancer, fitness and mental health, via confidential consultations, group chats, live events and other tailored resources. Reward and benefits manager at Clifford Chance, Anna Cotgreave, highlights, “since joining Peppy and increasing our support of specific health and wellbeing needs for our workforce at different life stages, the engagement and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.” Hoping to expand the scheme throughout their international firm, Cotgreave explains that the scheme has made a “tangible difference” to the company’s employees, initiating important conversations about both physical and mental health in the workplace.

John Lewis | Bloss

Employing around 80,000 members of staff, John Lewis introduced a new workplace initiative through wellbeing app Bloss. Health and wellbeing manager at John Lewis, Stacy MacDougall, explains, “we want our partners to be happy and have a wide range of resources available to support their wellbeing, which is why we are working with Bloss.” With over 116k users, Bloss was established by Stephanie Desmond (no. 3 founder of Uber in the UK) and Binky Felstead (Made in Chelsea and social media influencer) to offer its members a one stop shop of trusted fertility, pregnancy and parenthood professionals. By partnering with the innovative app, John Lewis employees can access numerous support and wellbeing resources from 208 professionals and experts, giving employees confidential advice as well as offering employers valuable training on how to help and understand staff members who are experiencing struggles such as infertility issues, or returning to work after having a baby. Whilst the app does offer advice for fathers or fathers-to-be, the benefits of education and opening up discussions about feminine experiences related to motherhood are particularly helping to empower female employees, offering support for issues that may affect their unique experiences in a work environment.

Changing landscape for female employees

Technology, such as the apps we’ve seen in these examples, is increasing the accessibility of employee benefits, ameliorating work life balance and employee experiences for both men and women. Many organisations have been taking these innovations to the next level, reviewing their employee and work schemes, and bringing them in line with more flexible, more understanding contemporary policies. For example, in light of the controversial overturning of ‘Roe v Wade’ in the US, many US companies have responded by upping the anti on abortion support for their employees. Companies such as Google, who are supporting employees to move interstate to access abortion services; Amazon, who are offering employees up to $4,000 (£3,196.56) reimbursement for travel and other costs associated with accessing abortion procedures; or Sasto Deal, Critizr and ModiBody, who have all implemented new policies regarding menstrual, miscarriage and menopause leave for their female employees. Here, it becomes clear that technology is providing organisations with practical and accessible solutions to employee benefits and support resources, allowing for more transformative policies that inclusively account for the needs of all employees, no matter their demographic or how complex their needs may be.