It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the day-to-day duties of your job. Less urgent matters like taking full advantage of your company’s employee benefits often become secondary to fulfilling your everyday responsibilities. However, if this is the case, you could be letting valuable benefits and even money go to waste.
It’s important to remember that these benefits are there for you. Using them to the fullest extent can enhance your career and improve your overall quality of life. Whether your company offers healthcare, retirement savings, or professional development opportunities, there are many ways that you can take advantage of the benefits you’re entitled to.
One of the most common benefits you should make the most of is healthcare. Many companies offer medical, dental, and vision insurance for employees, as well as coverage options for spouses and dependents. Because health insurance can be highly variable between plans, it’s imperative to thoroughly research and understand the coverage offered by your company’s healthcare plan.
The easiest way to take advantage of your health insurance? Use it. Don’t put off going to the doctor if you have concerns about your wellbeing.
Preventive care services such as annual check-ups and screenings are notoriously underutilized. Regardless of your age, utilizing these services can help identify potential health issues early on, which can save time, money, and potentially your life in the long run.
Familiarizing yourself with your retirement plan is also a key element of maximizing your benefits. Many companies offer 401(k) plans or pension plans that allow employees to save for retirement. Depending on the terms of your retirement plan, your company may offer a 401(k) contribution match. This means your employer will match a specified percentage of the money you put into your retirement savings. In simplest terms, this is free money!
To maximize the benefits of this perk, calculate the minimum amount you need to invest to secure the full matching potential. If your budget allows, allocating this amount to secure the full match allows you to reap the rewards of your company’s policy. Who doesn’t want free money? If free money still isn’t enough incentive, there’s still plenty of gaining opportunity. The compounding returns from your employer’s added investment can end up significantly impacting your retirement savings in the long run.
To learn more about employer matching and if it’s right for you, check out our Guide to 401(k) Matching!
Professional development opportunities are another avenue to take advantage of your company’s benefits. To encourage employees to enhance their skills and knowledge, professional development perks may include conferences, training programs, workshops, and even tuition reimbursement for you to continue your education. These benefits can be an excellent opportunity to advance your career and stay up to date on industry trends – at little to no expense to you.
Similarly, networking is an informal (yet valuable) benefit you should take advantage of. Organizations often offer events or programs to facilitate employees to build connections with others within the company. Networking is an underappreciated aspect of professional development. Connecting with others can lead to valuable professional relationships and new career opportunities.
One of the easiest ways to make the most out of your employee benefits is your time off. Many companies offer paid vacation, sick leave, and personal days, which can be used at your discretion. Whether you prefer to use your time off to jet around the world or simply recharge and take care of yourself, utilizing your allotted days is an easy way to maximize your employer’s perks.
Depending on your location, some states do not allow vacation days or sick time to roll over into the next year. Instead, you may be compensated for these unused days. In this case, you’ll be paid the same amount regardless of if you took the time off or not. Allowing yourself time to rest can help improve your overall productivity and well-being.
In addition to paid time off, you should also take stock of other types of leave, such as parental and family medical leave. These options can provide you with the time and support you need to take care of yourself and your loved ones during serious life events. Should you need to utilize alternative types of leave, understanding your company’s policies and any potential impacts on your pay or job status can help you decide what’s right for you.
Some companies may also offer flexible scheduling or remote work options. These alternatives can provide you with a better work-life balance and lessen external stressors such as a long commute or distracting work environment.
It is important to review the benefits offered by your company to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the options available to you. If you’re unsure about your benefits or coverage, reach out to your HR department. They’re likely most familiar with your company’s policies and can best help you understand the details of your benefits.
By understanding the in’s-and-out’s of your company’s perks, you’re equipped to maximize these benefits to enhance your personal and professional lives, as well as your overall well-being.