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Top 23 Trending HR Benefits and Perks Your Business Needs to Implement for Remote Work to Succeed
It seems like just months ago we were wondering if remote work was here to stay. Things have changed. Now, companies are ending leases and consolidating offices. They’re also allowing remote work options, some are becoming remote-first, and others are even making remote work permanent.
We no longer need to ask if remote work is here to stay because it clearly is. The question, now, is how do companies need to adapt their business to best fit a remote work environment? That question is no more relevant than it is in Human Resources (HR).
Perks and benefits that used to make workers feel special and appreciated in the office need to be reimagined for our current normal. Catered meals, in-house snacks, and fancy coffee in the office no longer matter if you’re not in the office. Neither do open-office plans, fancy chairs, and standing desks if you can’t use them.
If your company switched to remote work or is considering doing so, the perks and benefits you offer your employees need to be updated to reflect that change. The benefits you’ll see as a business are significant when you consider that 80% of employees want benefits even more than they want a pay raise.
However, it’s not just about employees being happy. There are financial implications, too. Employees leave when they don’t feel valued, and losing employees is not cheap. Replacing an employee can cost a business up to $15,000. It gets worse when you add in the costs of lost productivity over the up to two years it takes a new worker to achieve the same level of productivity as the employee they replaced. Factoring in that cost takes you to an amount that ranges from 50% to 200% of the employee’s yearly salary.
Wherever you’re at in the process of crafting your remote work policy, it’s not too late to get started or to make changes. Here’s a list of the most important HR benefits and perks that are trending for working remotely.
Workspace perks and benefits
Businesses often save a boatload of money if the majority of their employees are working remotely. Electricity, internet, and office furnishings and supplies, among other things, will cost significantly less. Yet, most companies don’t cover the monthly expenses that their workers take on when they are remotely working. Don’t think your employees aren’t aware of that. Step up to the plate and provide the same level of support in these areas as you would in the office. Besides saving money, you’ll also be paid back with an increase in productivity.
Make sure your workers have the things they need to be productive when it comes to technology and equipment. That can be things like a new computer or monitor, or even an adequate internet connection. If you really want to make them smile, send everyone a pair of noise-canceling headphones so they can work in peace and quiet, no matter what is happening.
The idealized remote worker is imagined to be working on the couch in their pajamas with their laptop. Anybody who as tried that knows, as their aching back will attest, that working from the couch is not ideal. What is ideal is having a private working space, a comfortable chair, and a functional desk. Allow your employees to take their equipment home from the office, and/or give them a stipend to build out or to upgrade their home office.
It’s a no-brainer that your employees need office supplies to work efficiently. After all, that’s why you have them in the office, right? You can send your workers a package, or have them come to the office, to receive pens, paper, a stapler, etc. Your employees will appreciate you taking this expense off their shoulders.
It should be obvious that remote workers are now paying for the energy and internet needed to power their home office. Like with office supplies, it’s just another expense that gets dumped on remote workers. Make their life easier for them in that regard. It’s one less thing for them to worry about.
Working remotely, which for many means simply working from home, offers a different dynamic when it comes to the need for vacation time and days off. When they only see the inside of their apartment, it’s even more important for remote workers to change the scenery.
Make sure your vacation policy and paid days off are more than just adequate. More than ever, remote workers need to step away from work to clear out the mental cobwebs and reenergize themselves. You need to have a policy that makes it easy to take a vacation, and you need to ensure they have enough days to use so that they truly come back rested and relaxed. Some companies even subsidize their worker’s vacation by providing some or all of the money they need to take a trip.
Paid sick leave
Don’t let your remote workers suffer even more when they’re sick. Have a paid sick leave policy that easily allows your employees to be sick without also having to worry about paying the bills because they missed a few days of work.
Unpaid time off
You want your employees to know that their mental health, work/life balance, and family are important to you, too. If they need it, let them take some unpaid time off without suffering repercussions. Online shoe retailer RunRepeat.com allows it’s workers to only work 25 hours a week when needed. This can be particularly helpful for parents who are working remotely with children. Whatever the issue is that your employee has, they’ll return to work with less nonwork-related things cluttering their mind, and that will only improve their productivity.
Unexpected paid days off
While I consider the above as necessary, this one will simply build gratitude towards your company. Surprise your employees with an unexpected day off. It could because a goal was reached, everybody has been working hard, it’s their birthday, or “just because.” I guarantee this will charm your workers and leave them smiling.
Being able to have a flexible schedule is one of the benefits of working remotely that many employees cite because it promotes a healthy work/life balance. It allows workers to work when they’re the most productive, and it’s also helpful for parents who have children attending school remotely. Combined with asynchronous communication, having flexible hours significantly increases the pool of potential candidates you’re able to hire because workers from time zones around the world are suitable.
Without interactions with their colleagues and the world in general, remote workers need to stimulate their brains and keep growing personally and professionally. One way to achieve this is to provide learning opportunities for them. These can be company-related workshops or classes, opportunities for remote or in-person classes, or by providing mentorship possibilities.
Most employees want the opportunity to have a mentor, and many of them feel like those opportunities are even more important when working remotely. Still, most feel like they don’t receive any mentorship from their managers. If you’re a manager or leader, it’s critical for you to check in with employees and provide them with actionable ways to improve in their careers. More than just making your employees happier, this is also a good way to find hidden talent and keep employees personally invested in the company.
Classes can be in many forms. They can be remote, in person, based on their job, or just something they want to learn about. They can also be taught by someone within your company or through a university or other learning institution. By subsidizing or paying for classes, you show your employees that their career development is important to you. This can be another way for them to stimulate their brains while letting them take a break from the specific work their doing.
Like classes, workshops can also take on many forms. While they can be related to work, this is an excellent way to get their mind off of work for a bit while they learn something fun and engage with their colleagues. You can have company-wide workshops on cooking, making cocktails, or anything else. The camaraderie that will be built between coworkers alone is worth the effort to put this into effect.
Health and wellness
Whether working remotely or in the office, there’s nothing more important than the physical and mental health of your employees. Offer plans that address both so that your remote workers know they will be taken care of no matter what happens. Promote work/life balance by making sure remote workers are taking care of themselves.
The health care plan your company provides should offer plenty of coverage and be available in whatever location they might find themselves. While that can be difficult because of different state or national laws, it’s worth finding a way to make it happen. If it’s not possible, consider having the company pay for a certain amount of health care throughout the year.
Mental Health Care
Mental health is as important as physical health, and that should be reflected in your wellness program. For remote workers, mental health can be even more important as workers often suffer from loneliness and isolation. Providing for therapy is one way to do that, but you can also do some smaller things that will have an impact. Offering mental health hours, which is letting remote workers step away from the computer a few hours during the week, can work wonders. You can also offer things like online yoga or subscriptions to mindfulness apps.
We all know that the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. That’s just as true for those working remotely now as it was when everyone was in the office. Providing food is a winning formula all of the time, but it’s especially true if your company provided snacks or lunches in the office. If your company did at the office, this is another way your employees are paying more to work remotely, and they know that.
If you had company-provided lunches, catered lunches, or snacks in the office, do this one right away. Not only do your remote workers know you are saving money by not providing those things now, but the chances are also high that this is something they truly miss. To replace lunches, you can send gift cards, provide meal delivery credits, or just offer a lunch stipend. For snacks, it’s easy to put some boxes together and have them shipped, but there are also companies that provide this service.
If providing lunch and/or snack delivery is cumbersome, you can provide your remote workers with a grocery stipend. It can also be something that is provided on top of the occasional lunch delivery. A grocery stipend lets your remote workers spend the money on whatever they need the most. While this wasn’t something normally offered in offices before, there is nothing normal about the times we’re living in now. Anything that relieves some of the burden from your remote workers will be appreciated.
Virtual happy hours/coffees
Having virtual happy hours or coffee meetups gives your remote workers a chance to engage with their colleagues in a similar way as in the office. They’ll bond and get to know each other better, and that will only help with their collaboration in the future.
The little things
Little things add up to big things. While the list below might not be as important as some of the items above, they’re still things that you can count on making your remote workers smile. They’re also an easy way for your company to display empathy to your remote workers and show them how thoughtful your business is.
As I mentioned above, having a meal delivered is an easy thing to do. However, there are also other things, like offering laundry, cleaning, or gardening services, that any remote worker will be happy about.
Everybody likes to get a surprise in the mail. With that in mind, there are a ton of companies that offer subscription boxes based on personal interests. You can also provide subscriptions to services like Netflix, Amazon, or Audible. These won’t cost much, but this a perk remote workers are sure to tell other people about when they talk about what a “cool company” they work for.
Recognize special occasions
If a remote worker has a birthday, anniversary, a new child, or any number of other things, let them know that you’re aware of that special day. That can be as simple as a card, or as big as a delivered meal, cake, or gift card.
The biggest complaint about remote work is that people miss their colleagues and/or feel lonely. This is a way to minimize that and drive employee engagement. For offline integrations, provide a budget for teams to get together every now and then. For online integrations, Google Hangouts improv sessions, magic shows, board game nights, online escape rooms, or workout classes are things that have become more popular with the rise of remote work.
Deliver a company package
Remind your remote workers how neat your business is by sending them a package of company-branded items. These can be things like shirts and other apparel, pens, notebooks, stickers, etc. Sending a package like this will provide everyday reminders about your business that will only further connect them to the company.
Our working world is changing fast, and you need to keep up. Updating the benefits and perks you provide for remote workers will go a long way towards making your employees feel valued. That, in turn, will contribute to a higher level of productivity and employee satisfaction. It’s a win/win for everyone involved, so get started now.