- Many workers do not want to go back to the office full-time; 2-3 times a week is the sweet spot.
- Employee perks may need to be updated to reflect their new work locations.
- With that in mind, here are the top 5 perks companies should offer remote and hybrid workers.
The future is hybrid. Increasingly, companies are sharing their return to office plans—and for most—going back to the office won’t be mandatory or even necessary in some cases.
Even companies that were planning on asking workers to go back full-time have reconsidered their decision based on employee expectations and preferences. Survey after survey have found that workers do not want to go back to the office full-time; according to data, the sweet spot for many seems to be going to the office only 2-3 times a week.
Just as employers are having to rethink their return to office plans, they also need to rethink their employee perks and benefits programs.
Many employee perks are location-based, and if employees will spend less time in the office and more time working remotely, then their benefits and perks need to reflect that. Employee perks tend to be viewed as a cost-effective strategy to add more value to workers’ compensation packages. However, for employees, it’s not just about the economic value; the perks and benefits package a company provides can be quite telling about the culture and expectations around work.
Perks and benefits, therefore, can play a key role in attracting and retaining talent. With the war for talent in motion and a global skills shortage on the rise, companies need to ensure they are offering perks that are attractive and relevant for remote employees.
With that in mind, here are the top 5 perks companies should offer remote and hybrid workers.
Top 5 Employee Perks for a Hybrid Future
- Home office or coworking space expense reimbursement
If employees will be working remotely, companies need to consider either giving employees a stipend to help them set up their remote office or they should consider reimbursing the cost of a coworking space.
The right work environment has been shown to boost productivity levels. If remote workers do not have the resources to set up a work environment that suits them, their productivity levels will likely suffer.
During the coronavirus pandemic, workers had little choice but to work from home due to government lockdowns and restrictions. However, as restrictions are lifted, many remote workers will likely turn to third spaces—like coworking spaces—to work remotely.
Surveys have found that workers miss interacting with others and, in some instances, workers do not have the necessary space within their homes to set up a home office.
At the end of the day, whether employees are working remotely full-time or part-time, companies need to plan for allowances and reimbursement for office expenses.
- Meal and coffee stipend
In-office workers tend to have access to a cafeteria or free coffee and snacks regularly. Some companies even offer catered in-office lunches on a weekly basis.
As more employees work remotely, offering a meal and coffee stipend can be an effective way for companies to be inclusive to all their employees—whether they’re in the office or not.
How do meal stipends work?
It varies by company. But usually, an employer provides a budget and employees can use the funds to pay for meals, snacks, groceries, and beverages (like coffee and tea).
- Childcare and family benefits
One of the greatest struggles workers had while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic was handling kids, pets, and family life while working full-time.
Unfortunately, as a result of this struggle, many working parents—specifically women—were forced to leave their jobs in order to take care of kids and family members. Granted, the COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented situation: schools and daycare facilities were closed. But the issue is still very much real, for parents and for those taking care of other family members.
With the increase in remote work, there’s been an increase in interest in family and childcare benefits. Some ways companies can provide this is by helping workers find reliable care options—through a platform or a vetted list of care providers—or by offering an in-office childcare center for when workers go into the office.
- Flexible hours
The coronavirus pandemic has proven to employers around the world that workers can be productive even when they’re not in the office.
To make the remote work a better one, employers need to consider allowing employees to work more flexible hours. Why? Because some people are simply more productive during odd hours or because those working from home might need to tend to other responsibilities (like taking care of a pet, kid, or family member).
Allowing flexible working hours can increase employee engagement and happiness, but it can also increase productivity levels. Companies can do this by allowing workers to set their own schedules and, if necessary, asking them for at least half of their hours to overlap with regular business hours.
- Education and Training Opportunities
There is a global talent shortage. Surveys have also found that workers believe their skills will be irrelevant and obsolete in the future.
The good news is that 78% of employees are ready to start their reskilling efforts, the bad news is that they lack the time to do so, which is why companies need to incentivize learning opportunities in the workforce.
Effective ways to do this include:
- Tuition reimbursement.
- Offering company-sponsored certifications and courses.
- Allowing workers to take some time during their workday to work or learn a new skill.
There is no going back to normal. Companies transitioning to a remote-first or hybrid work model need to rethink the way they approach employee benefits and ensure that the perks they offer are not only attractive, but also useful to remote workers.