Offering in-demand employee benefits that will boost productivity is crucial if you want to attract and maintain top talent.
But what kind of benefits make sense for remote workers who you typically only see and connect with in virtual environments?
The answer will vary depending on your company and employees. Each company and its employees will have different needs and wants, so it makes sense to listen to your co-workers and feel out the pulse of your business.
What benefits are people looking for? They might be interested in life insurance coverage in addition to the typical health insurance from a top provider. This could include a group life insurance plan that is free or affordable and easy to enroll in. Taking away some financial stress is a good way to promote overall wellness among employees.
However, you likely want to take it even further with the benefits you provide. Here are a few options to consider.
1. Health and wellness
The overall health and wellness of your employees has always been important, but the coronavirus pandemic has introduced plenty of changes to workers worldwide. Namely, millions of people have transitioned from working in an office to working remotely.
Change can be difficult for many people, and making the necessary adjustments can wear on your mental health if you’re not careful. Fewer in-person interactions and changes to your diet and routine can have negative effects. And overcoming these challenges might require additional effort.
Providing certain health and wellness benefits to your employees can help reduce the amount of effort they have to put in to overcome these challenges. For example, stipends for virtual gym memberships and healthy food delivery subscriptions can help employees ground themselves physically, which can improve their mental health.
A recent FinanceBuzz health and wellness benefits survey found that 54% of workers with access to employer-sponsored wellness programs experienced a mental health improvement in the last year. In comparison, only 22% of workers without access to these programs experienced a similar mental health improvement.
If you don’t know how to implement wellness benefits into your employee benefits program, consider companies like Holisticly that focus on offering a variety of wellness options for employees to pick from. Taking this route lets your employees choose what works best for them, whether it’s focusing on mental health, exercise, nutrition, continuous learning, or financial well-being.
Employee recognition is important in any workplace. But how can you recognize employees when they work remotely? It’s not as easy to highlight achievements and quality efforts when everyone only meets virtually. But it’s also not impossible, and it makes sense to consider specific ways you can keep remote workers connected through recognition.
If you use chat and messaging software such as Slack to communicate, it’s easy to set up a channel specifically for achievements. This is an area where you can quickly recognize any achievements by the company as well as the specific employees who helped. You can even tag people so they’re properly acknowledged.
In addition, you might want to recognize employees in other ways, whether it’s a monthly or quarterly award or taking a minute to speak about someone in a virtual meeting.
You can start small as well. Working remotely can be cumbersome but getting through an all hands Zoom meeting with no technical difficulties or other mishaps can be cause for a small celebration as a team. Just make sure you bring it up so you can all share in the little things together.
Your employees may not have had a home office to work from before the pandemic started. Many may have had to put a makeshift office together to pivot to remote work and continue getting work done. But the burden shouldn’t fall solely on your employees to create the same environment at home that they had in office. This could cause further employee stress.
A technology stipend to help outfit a home office can go a long way in making sure remote employees feel more comfortable and supported in their new work settings. It can also be an attractive benefit to veteran remote workers who understand the importance of a quality home workspace. This stipend could help fund a new laptop, computer monitors, and much more.
It’s easy to take certain technological factors for granted when you have everything you need available at an office. But when you’re working from home, it’s not as easy to grab an extra monitor for more efficiency or to find the cables you need to hook up multiple monitors from your laptop.
4. Professional development
Professional development is a win-win for both employees and employers. Employees can learn new skills that can help them in their current role and beyond, and employers end up with more skilled employees. But professional development doesn’t happen overnight and, in some cases, may require financial assistance from the company.
This could include reimbursing employees for participation in a company book club, allotting time for employees to take free online courses, or funding employee involvement in virtual conferences.
Consider what might work best for your employees when it comes to professional development and then work on implementing the proposed benefits into your benefits program. You might find that encouraging employees to continue developing their professional skills can help them feel more confident and fulfilled.
In addition, participating in applicable activities as a team can help team members feel more connected to each other. If your employees are feeling connected, confident, and fulfilled, there’s likely less chance of employee burnout.
The bottom line
For many companies and their employees, adjusting to remote work has come with its fair share of obstacles and hurdles. But focusing on how you can help your remote employees with specific employer-sponsored benefits can help narrow the gap between a remote worker feeling isolated from the company they work for and knowing they’re a valuable part of a supportive and caring business.
Keep in mind that remote jobs are here for the long term. It’s now been shown that not every role needs to be in an office with other workers to be effective, so it’s best to prepare permanent benefits now for your remote employees.