The Future of Employee Perks

If it seems like lately all we talk about is the post-Covid world, you aren’t exactly wrong! You see, the global pandemic fundamentally changed the way that we do business, from where we go, to what we do, to even why we do it! This, of course, also trickles down to the way in which you administer benefits. No longer can a bagel breakfast bond your workers if only a small percentage are required to report to work. Similarly, parking perks or even covering commuting costs no longer hold the same appeal. The good news, however, is that there is much you can do to adapt your benefits offerings to be of interest to your employees. Below, we outline just a few simple tweaks that you can implement now to help with the post-pandemic transition.

Flex your flexibility

One of the biggest perks of the pandemic was that employees were able to work from home and thus could be flexible in how they got their work done. While the circumstances were far from ideal with many folks sharing a workspace with partners, kids, or some combination of both, many workers reported that they were more productive when they did not have to work a 9-5 day. Keep this momentum going and let your employees know that moving forward, you’ll be focusing less on the clock and more on what they can get accomplished. Give employees specific projects with deadlines, quantity goals, or other tangible to-do’s that will allow employees to work at their own pace and give you peace of mind that they are staying productive.

Rethink rewards

As we touched on above, many of your “normal” in-house incentives, such as a primo parking spot or even a gift card to your local coffee shop, aren’t going to be that helpful if there aren’t boots on the ground. However, you can still offer small tokens of appreciation to your workers. Gift cards to Uber Eats, subscriptions to snack boxes, or even just a weekly stipend to order whatever treats they most enjoy are all affordable and appreciated gifts. If your workers are not big eaters, you could also consider Amazon gift cards or subscriptions to TV streaming services as rewards.

Help around the house

With many folks poised to continue to work from home, many companies are considering ways that they can help better accommodate their now remote workforce. For example, some companies are providing stipends to help employees set up home offices, purchase office supplies, cover the cost of internet access, or other expenditures associated with remote working. Still other companies are investing more heavily in video conferencing technologies such as higher quality webcams or microphone setups so that workers will look more professional when they hop on a call. 

Take the time

Although folks weren’t in the office during the pandemic, they weren’t really taking time off either! One of the biggest benefits you can gift your staff is a little extra paid time off! In addition to wanting to flex their travel muscles and vacation somewhere nice, many folks have had to put seeing family and friends on hold for more than a year and thus need to play catch up there too! Encourage employees to take the time off that they have accrued and try to be as flexible as you can to honor vacation and other time-off requests as best you can. 

Make it about mental health

There’s no denying that surviving a global pandemic has taken a mental toll: Between the fear associated with a mysterious viral outbreak, the isolation that comes from quarantining, and of course the stress of the financial downturn, it’s more than understandable that we would all feel a little worse for wear. One of the few bright spots, however, is that the pandemic sparked an interest in mental health and launched myriad new ways to deliver support, including online and phone access to counselors. Employers, meanwhile, are stepping up by providing free or discounted access to mental health services, including Employee Assistance Programs (EAPS – more on that here). Further, employers are championing mental health by breaking down taboos about the subject and introducing policies and providing education to normalize mental health conditions and treatments. 

Financial fortitude

The pandemic and economic meltdown caused many folks to begin stressing about their finances. With data suggesting that a financially stable workforce is better engaged in their job and can boost your bottom line, it is a worthwhile investment for employers to provide financial wellness programming to their employees. Topics can include setting and meeting monetary goals, preparing for retirement, saving for college, or even how to invest wisely. As a business owner, consider providing your employees access to online programming as it can be done on their own time, shared with a partner or family, and re-referenced as wants and needs change. 

Have you altered your benefits offerings considering the pandemic?