Many organizations who were forced into offering remote work arrangements due to COVID-19 have received feedback that employees are happier, more productive, less stressed, and have an overall better work-life balance. With an overwhelmingly positive response, most companies are now planning to continue offering flexible work arrangements after the pandemic subsides.
As employers rethink and adjust to this “new normal,” some have found this to be a paradigm shift from offering flexible work arrangements as an employee incentive and balancing it with human connection, as that drives engagement --- which ultimately drives business results. What new perks can they offer to be more competitive, increase loyalty, and motivate employees to stay engaged?
What budget-friendly perks can you offer remote employees?
High-range Perks for Remote Employees
If you have substantial funds to allocate for perks, consider offering the following:
- Comprehensive health care plans (e.g., telemedicine and concierge doctors)
- Equipment such as new laptops, standing desks and workspaces
- Stipend to reimburse all or a portion of home internet and personal cell phones
- Annual Company Retreat
Keep in mind that perks should be applicable to all employees, no matter their working location.
Mid-range Perks for Remote Employees
For a more modest budget, here are some mid-range perks that are scalable to offer:
- Reduced-price memberships (virtual fitness, streaming entertainment, legal or financial services, community connections)
- Paid sick leave
- Training opportunities
- Education reimbursement
- Student loan debt assistance
- Stipends or gifts cards for food delivery or pickups
- Gift baskets (dinner and movie on us!)
- Book budget (i.e. audible membership)
Do some homework and find out what employees want. If your workforce is spread out geographically, consider connecting with national brands to be more inclusive. If you offer paid time off, perhaps it's time to revisit your policy to ensure employees are taking time off when they're sick instead of working through it to bank more PTO time.
Low-range Perks for Remote Employees
With the pandemic putting financial strain on both organizations and individuals, it may be more realistic to offer perks that don’t involve an ongoing or significant budget. Consider the following perks that cost little to nothing:
- Flexible working hours
- Meeting-free days
- Summer hours
- Relaxed dress code
- Ability to work outdoors or other remote settings
- Virtual hangout rooms (to chat during lunch or coffee breaks)
After using employees as a sounding board, you may find out that these are the types of perks that mean the most during these challenging times.
Keep in mind that, if employees will be returning to the workplace, a budget will also be allocated to sanitation and office layout updates. It’s important to communicate all steps and precautions that the organization is taking to protect employees and provide a comfortable and safe workplace setting. That will help provide a bigger picture for benefits.
How do I include remote employees for a company party?
If you’re wanting to build team cohesiveness while your workforce is mostly remote, consider the following options:
- Play Bingo, Kahoots!, Family Feud, Pictionary, or other games over video conference
- Host virtual wedding/baby showers
- Encourage employees to get creative and show their personalities through employee live streams and virtual team parties
- Create a Teams Channel like Netflix/Amazon/Hulu for people to talk about their favorite TV series
- Form group chats to share pictures of favorite pets, celebrations, fundraisers, etc.
- Allow employees to meet in smaller groups for a party of their own
No matter your financial (or pandemic) situation, it's possible to attract, engage, retain, and include employees by revamping your benefits and incentives package to support a flexible workplace. To learn more, please contact our Stratus.hr experts at HR@stratus.hr.