Since 2020, when the pandemic started, employers have had to adapt and make ongoing adjustments to their HR operations. One particular change that resulted from organisations recognising and valuing their remote working employees, was the increased revision and improvement of their company’s Employee Benefits Package for hybrid and remote workers.
From adapting paid-leave policies to providing flexible-working options, employers are recognising that with hybrid working becoming commonplace, they need to support their workers in new ways.
With this in mind, how exactly are benefits changing in response to remote working?
Employee benefits aren’t a mandatory requirement, but they can give companies an advantage if they offer them to their staff. Employee benefits programmes can help to boost morale among staff and improve productivity as they serve as a form of motivation and incentivisation.
Similarly, they can help to attract top talent to your company and retain your existing and key members of staff. Medical or health-related perks to private health insurance can assure all your employees remain as happy and healthy as possible. This, in turn, not only creates a more positive workplace culture but also reduces the number of absences within the organisation.
Perks for remote workers can vary depending on a range of factors, from the type of industry the company works in, to the role that someone does every day and budgetary considerations. Employers may provide private health cover, wellbeing benefits or in-house perks, such as free fruit or snacks in the office. Naturally, some of the perks ordinarily offered in-house are not practical to apply to remote working employees. However, that’s not to say that companies have to stop providing benefits to their staff, but rather allow for a broader and more flexible approach in their application.
Remote working is great, but it can take its toll on an employee’s mental health due to the isolation and the risk of overworking. When staff are not meeting up with other people throughout the day, or are less inclined to take breaks as they naturally would in the office, it can be exhausting and mentally draining.
So, in addition to the inherent benefit of trust and empowerment that remote working provides, businesses have adapted their benefit programmes to accommodate these risks. Some examples include giving staff:
Another benefit that can do wonders for staff satisfaction, motivation and morale is formal recognition and praise. Employers can use software and online tools to enable recognition to be given to employees when it’s due.
The pandemic, lockdown, and a shift in how we work, has had a huge impact on our mental health. In fact, a 2021 survey by the Royal Society for Public Health found that 67% of Brits felt less connected with their colleagues as a result of working remotely. Yet despite this, more of us have stayed working remotely even though lockdowns have lifted. This proves that the benefits outweigh the negatives, and with extra care and attention from employers, remote workers can enjoy the flexibility that remote working offers without it impacting their mental health or leading to burnout.
When employees are valued and their mental health is protected, they’re able to come to their job each day feeling confident and motivated. Neglecting this can not only lead to staff leaving for other roles but it can also foster negativity within the team, which has an impact on morale and productivity.
We know that remote working can be an advantage, but there’s no denying that in order to continue to support staff, employers need to make some changes. There are a few ways that businesses can update their remote working employee benefits to accommodate hybrid workers.
Firstly, virtual tools such as online GP consultations, mental health chatbots and online counselling sessions can help people remain positive and healthy without it impacting their routines or schedules. It’s a cost-effective way of supporting staff using technology. Another option is to provide health insurance and medical perks that benefit every working professional and keep your team as healthy as possible.
Businesses can assist their staff with creating an ergonomic workstation that is comfortable and supportive. A well-designed work environment not only helps with physical issues, such as poor posture and eye strain but it also helps to improve productivity and instill a sense of responsibility.
Working remotely can arguably make it easier to balance work and life responsibilities, but it may be more of a challenge for parents of young children when their kids are at home. Providing childcare benefits can relieve them of these distractions.
Learning and development opportunities are another way to provide benefits to remote members of the team, keeping them curious and passionate about their role and enhancing their skills. From digital skills to help them work more efficiently to coaching training for leaders to build confidence when managing a remote team, ongoing education is a great way of creating a more productive, motivated team.
There’s no denying that remote and hybrid working is here to stay. Businesses need to identify ways that help them adapt employee benefits for their remote workers. The focus should be on making sure that staff still feel part of the team, that they feel that their health and wellbeing is supported, and that there are still incentives for them to enjoy as a reward for their hard work and effort. In this way, they can ensure equal support and provision of perks and incentives to those who would have received them if they were in the office every day.
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