With so many people working from home, what’s happening to the workplace benefits that staff enjoy?
From subsidised gym memberships, to barista coffee machines in office kitchens, to subsidised rail season tickets…. Many perks offered by employers aren’t just currently unusable - they also seem less relevant in the times we’re living through.
Given that it may be time to take a fresh look at incentives offered to staff, how else can employers reward their employees at the moment? And are there any particular perks that people prefer?
A Glassdoor survey suggested that 58% of remote employees are now more interested in work benefits that help their physical and mental wellbeing. After all we’ve been through as a nation since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hardly surprising.
So think about offering subscriptions to apps and services that help your employees focus on feeling as healthy - physically as well as mentally - as possible as they work through challenging times.
Many of these have the added benefit of replacing the gyms and fitness classes that might be currently closed or just based too far away - like the workout app Fiit or Peleton. For runners and cyclists, there’s Strava and Map My Run.
The best way forward? Perhaps just give each employee a budget to use on an app subscription of their choice, depending on what they’re into - and what they feel they need.
Perks aren’t just a way to lure new recruits. They can also be key for fostering company culture in the existing workforce.
But without the team lunches and table tennis tables of a physical workplace, it can be harder for people to feel connected.
And in a pandemic world, it’s now about sustaining the bonds and connectivity that make a team successful.
We covered lots of fun team-bonding activities in our remote Christmas party guide (here). Away from the festive season, mystery escape rooms and virtual scavenger hunts can work well.
And with the workplace-based team lunches, happy hours and subsidised cafeteria paused for the moment, sharing food and drink is still important for team bonds. So perhaps consider sending virtual gift cards for a delivery service instead - especially from local catering or hospitality suppliers who’ve been hit hard since the start of lockdown.
Let’s face it: every team member naturally has a different schedule and has different needs. In the physical workplace, they had to conform to the norm of a routine working day.
But with so many now working from home, being offered extra flexibility is a huge bonus.
That might be acknowledging that parents of school-age children would prefer to work around drop offs and pick-ups. Or other staff might perform better working early morning - or late at night.
Of course, allowing employees to set their own working schedules isn’t possible for every business or sector. But the home-based working so many organisations are experiencing means that it’s an ideal time to experiment - as long as the work gets down.
Even before the pandemic, benefits and perks played a crucial role in keeping current employees happy - and attracting new members of the team.
And as we know at HR GO, many job hunters take note of the sweeteners on offer when it comes to helping them decide who they might like to work for.
But this year especially it’s important to recognise how valued staff are - particularly while they’re working from home. Whether it’s about boosting morale or boosting employer brand, saying ‘thank you’ by adapting traditional perks to an era of coronavirus can only be a positive thing.