- Before the COVID-19 pandemic, perks like on-site gyms, massages, and free food were popular.
- Now companies need to reimagine their benefits to better reflect the needs of remote employees.
- Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all program to all employees, companies would benefit from offering bespoke perks.
According to Statista, before the pandemic, around 17% of U.S. employees worked remotely. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that around 25-30% of the workforce will work remotely once the coronavirus pandemic is over:
“We believe, based on historical trends, that those who were working remotely before the pandemic, will increase their frequency after they are allowed to return to their offices. For those who were new to remote work until the pandemic, we believe there will be a significant upswing in their adoption. Our best estimate is that we will see 25-30% of the workforce working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021.”
This would represent an increase of over 10 percentage points.
The Time to Rethink Employee Perks Has Come
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, perks like on-site gyms, massages, and free food were all the rave. These types of perks allowed workers to engage in other activities without having to leave their company’s headquarters. It worked wonders, especially for those who regularly worked long hours.
However, things have changed, and with less than 50% of employees eager to return to the office, companies need to start reimagining their perks and benefits programs to better reflect the needs of remote employees.
Companies need to consider how remote work is affecting employees and offer benefits that can make remote work more enjoyable and productive, less isolating and tiring.
The Remote Work Experience: How Employees Are Feeling
Joblist recently conducted a survey to gauge remote workers’ thoughts on the balance between work and other facets of their life.
Here’s what they found:
- According to 53% of respondents, remote work has made it more difficult to separate work from non-work life.
- 59% of respondents said they regularly work past normal office hours.
- 41.8% said they have experienced a decrease in general life satisfaction.
- Remote work has also come with its own set of new distractions during the workday.
- The most prominent distractions were watching TV (16.6%), cooking (14.5%), and running errands (14.3%).
- 30.6% checked their work devices three or more times per day while off the clock.
The Remote Work Experience: How Can Companies Make It Better?
Remote work certainly has its benefits, but remote work alone isn’t going to keep top talent happy in the long run.
The right set of perks can not only help improve the overall remote work experience, but it can also strengthen company culture and employee morale.
In fact, Joblist found that one of the main downsides of remote work was having fewer perks than people had in the office.
So, what do remote employees want?
The most desired perk was paid internet… which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. With people working from home, many likely had to splurge a bit to get better bandwidth—this is especially true in large homes where several people worked, went to school, or watched Netflix simultaneously.
Even subsidizing part of the cost of internet can go a long way. Recent reports have found that only 49% of employees feel financially well, which is down 12 percentage points from 61% two years ago.
Beyond internet, remote workers would like more flexibility, with 44% saying they would like more flexible work hours. Specifically, the survey found that 80% of workers would like a four-day work week while maintaining the same number of hours.
Other highly desired perks include:
- Better company equipment
- Allowance to set up a home office
- Wellness stipend
- Home delivery services
- Zoom-free days.
The needs of workers are changing, and companies cannot afford to continue offering a one-size fits all approach to employee perks.
Rather than offering the same benefits to all employees, companies would benefit from offering bespoke perks, based on specific needs or situation of employees. For example, younger workers living by themselves may not be interested in childcare costs or cleaning services, but they may be interested in home delivery services and allowance to set up a home office.
At the end of the day, the way employees feel about company sponsored perks has changed. While in the past companies that provided perks and benefits packages had an advantage over others, those that don’t offer these types of packages moving forward will be at a disadvantage.