What are employee benefits and perks?
Employee benefits are additional forms of perks or compensation given to employees on top of their regular salaries - a non salary compensation. Examples for a complete employee benefits package may include a life or health insurance plan, profit sharing, paid time off (PTO), retirement benefits, and more. Any type of additional pay given to an employee, either requested or not, can be classified as an employee benefit, with the goal of not only keeping the workforce motivated, but improving employee engagement, increasing employee satisfaction, preventing burnout, keeping employees healthy, among many others! It is easy to think that performance bonuses are a great choice for your benefits and perks package, but it has its limits, since monetary rewards are just not enough.
Remote work ≠ employee benefit
More flexibility, less commute, work-from-anywhere or work from home are some of the things that first come to our minds when we think of remote work. All of them advantages for the employees, as well as for the employeers, since these lead to higher productivity and better performance. But while remote work has many benefits, it's very common to mix up the terms and think that remote work is merery another company benefit. But the truth is: remote work is a business model, and therefore it should not be included in your employee benefits package.
A ping-pong table and healthy snacks in the office, free food on Fridays with the team, employee discounts or commuter assistance are some examples of the common perks and benefits companies offer to their full time employees. And while it is true these may be great employee perks for many employees working on-site, it seems that remote employees do not show any insterest in any of them, since many of them do not influence the way remote employees work. No surprise: who cares about free coffee, when you are working from home, 150km away from the office? Or when this is already included in the coworking space next door? People looking for a job are more concerned with things like company culture and great employee perks than they are with simply earning a high salary.
So how to boost productivity and motivate employees working remotely?
HR professionals can dedicate a lot of time in finding an attractive compensation package. And although there is no magical recipe to create the perfect employee benefits package, you can include one or two benefits that fall into each of the following categories: health, finances, lifestyle and workplace. Each company has its own workplace culture, size, and budget, and is made up of different people with different interests. So the best way to find out which are the most company attractive benefits you can offer, is by directly asking your employees what they need or are interested in. You can do this by sending a benefits survey.
Need some inspiration? Here is a list of ideas you might want to consider adding to your benefits and perks package to improve the remote employee experience and hire and retain top talent:
Every employee wants (and should be able) to have the best tools for their job, no matter where they are. When they have access to everything they need to do their work, it motivates them to be more productive and give better results. It also makes them feel comfortable by creating a good vibe and imposing a sense of responsibility.
By investing in additional resources for your employees' home workstations, such as an ergonomic chair or standing desk, you can help them stay comfortable and productive while they work. You can offer a monthly reimbursement to employees for managing their work from home setup, including WiFi allowances. But keep in mind that technical devices such as a laptop and monitor are not an employee benefit!
Learning and Development Opportunities
Employee development helps an organization reach its goals by improving employees' current skills and abilities and teaching them new ones. Many employees deeply value continual learning and professional development opportunities. In fact, these days it's one of the most effective and atractive employee benefits you can offer. Employees are curious about new technologies and keen to enhance their skills so they can grow professionally, which directly benefits your organization. The beauty of online courses is that they are accessible to anyone, anytime. You can provide your employees with access to premium online courses on any topic they wish to learn, or you can limit it to the area of their specialization, so they can use those skills in their daily work.
Child Care Assistance
By extending benefits to include employees' family members, you're not only improve morale, but increase productivity by showing you care about their wellbeing. And of the many benefits you could provide, child care is one of the best since it can be a major distraction for parents working from home. Since providing child care spaces in the workplace is not an option for remote employees, you can opt for covering or sharing the expenses of the child care. Examples are access to professional babysitters or online classes for kids. You will definitely ease some of that pressure and allow your employees focus and engage more fully while at work. Job satisfaction made easier!
There are certain benefits that are not so common, but can make a difference for some of your employees. Since not every employee may have kids, you might want to consider offering pet insurance as an employee benefit to those who have pets. To help offset pet medical costs, your organization could provide pet health insurance as a voluntary benefit to employees.
No one can be productive all the time, right? Services such as Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime offer people an excellent way to relax and watch enjoyable content. Some other examples of subscriptions you can give your remote employees are magazines, access to paid online forums, and many more.
Health and Wellness Program
Health and wellness initiatives are crucial for any employee benefits program. After all, healthy employees are the key to a successful organization. If your remote employees are working primarily from home, they could be experiencing isolation issues. And sometimes it might be difficult to notice how employees feel. Besides openly talking to them and asking them how they feel, it is a great choice to offer workplace wellness programs so they can take a break and ease their minds, e.g. a day in the spa, or yoga classes. Fostering a healthy lifestyle is key to maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing, and will make your employees feel appreciated.
Gym Membership or Home Gym Equipment
This one falls in the health benefits category. Being stuck at home can make it harder tostay active, which is why it's important for companies with remote employees to offer gym equipment or passes. A healthy body leads to a better mind, after all.
Preparing breakfast for kids, taking kids to school, cooking lunch and dinner, laundry, removing dust and stains, cleaning toilet, vacuuming... We all know maintaining a clean and tidy house takes a lot of effort and time. Housekeeping tasks can be a challenge for remote employees, and it can be exhausting to keep everything in place when you work and live in the same place. Because to be honest: who likes working in a messy place? An organized environment will definitely boost productivity!
Is there something you, as an employer, could do here? Of course! Offering a monthly meal delivery allowance; laundry, cleaning or gardening services to work-from-home employees is definitely a great choice!
Dental insurance can be part of a health insurance program or it may exist as its own separate policy. For many employees, having dental coverage is essential for taking care of common procedures such as teeth fillings, cleanings, and surgeries.
Meetups and team gathering
Although working remotely can be a great way to increase productivity, it's essential that you don't forget about the importance of human connection. Make sure to encourage your employees to connect with each other, even if they are not in the same physical space. Quarterly or annually team physical meetups are crucial for building strong bonds and getting to know how each member thinks.
Coworking Space allowance
Remote work does not mean working from home. Indeed, it can be counterproductive for remote employees to sit alone at home everyday. Coworking spaces offer different solutions to provide a professional and inspiring workspace with a community vibe, from hot desks to private team offices. If you want your remote workers to stay more comfortable and productive by getting them out of their home-office set-ups either on a daily or weekly basis, you can look into providing coworking space day passes that they can use as needed. If working from home is not an option because of space limitations, you could instead offer a stipend to help with the cost of renting coworking space. One Coworking can help you find the perfect coworking space to meet your remote employees needs. Sign up today and try a few spaces out, or get in touch by email if you want some more info on our Team Plans: firstname.lastname@example.org
After reading this ideas, you might have realized that the employee benefits for remote employees are quite different from the regular workplace benefits employers usually give. If you want to acquire and retain employees, keep in mind that you should choose the company benefits depending on the needs and interests of your employees.