Employee Perks in Remote First - The Good, the Great and the Ground-breaking



Company perks have always played an important part in talent acquisition and retention - they add colour and character to supplement your employee paycheck, and often do so while costing less to the company than just handing extra cash to employees.


In addition, benefits such as private healthcare and cycle to work schemes have historically been great ways to encourage and facilitate improved employee wellbeing, which then translates into improved output, reduced stress and absenteeism, and morale within the team.


However, with the shift to more remote working that is accompanying the global pandemic - we’re already seeing a grand shift in the perks that companies offer. Game rooms, gym memberships, and exotic team retreats may not return anytime soon, and who knows what the likes of staff canteen caterers and city centre car-parking facilities are thinking. Many companies are considering staying remote even when the pandemic ends.


According to a Cisco’s survey, more than a half of companies plan on shrinking their office spaces due to switching to work from home, and more than three quarters will increase work flexibility.


The same survey found that more than 90% of respondents said they won’t return to the office full time. 12% of them plan to work from home all the time and 24% to work remotely more than 15 days of each month.


With this situation, companies have to think about new ways to grab candidates’ attention and make them feel valued once they're hired. To help, we’ve pulled together the core perks that you can provide at your company to support your remote employees. Plus we’ve had some fun with it and found some crazy ones that may need a touch more imagination...



The good


Some workforce perks are more important to people than others. Here, we’ve compiled a list of good workplace perks companies are offering to their employees that can help in talent retention and acquisition.


Flextime



Over the Coronavirus crisis, there has been a major surge in the number of companies endorsing flextime. From Perchpeek’s perspective, the freedom to operate when and where they want to is on of the most beneficial perks a company can give its employees, whilst being valuable to the employers themselves. As businesses try to stay competitive in the talent acquisition market, it’s essential they understand the importance and impact of offering flextime to their employees.


Flextime offers plenty of benefits to the employer and employees, including:


  • Greater retention levels. Studies show that employees are more likely to stay within the company if they get flexibility. That said, by offering flextime to their employees, companies can hope to keep their employees for longer, which both saves money and increases the chances of business success.


  • Allows employees to have a better sense of work-life balance. One IBM survey found that the lack of work-life balance is among the top reasons why employees leave. Flextime allows employees to manage their time as they see it fit and, consequently, increases employee satisfaction.


  • Reduces office absenteeism. When they have a flexible schedule, employees can finish their outside-of-work chores and still get their job done. By offering flextime to their employees, businesses will decrease sick leave abuse and have a more productive and engaged workforce.


Offering home office allowances


Going a step further than just allowing a person to work entirely flexibly, a good way of ensuring your remote employees are comfortable during their eight-hour shift is to offer them a stipend for setting a home office. This includes covering the cost of internet connection that will allow them to manage their workload undisturbed, buying desks, chairs, computers, and other accessories that will allow them to feel more comfortable, to feel more valued, while making their home a more work-focused space, allowing them to be more productive.



Offering mental health days and wellness days



Prioritizing mental health and well-being in employees is one of the crucial steps in building a successful business. The isolation and lack of movement caused by the pandemic has brought mental health into very sharp light in 2020, however many companies are planning to maintain their focus on it well into the future. This laser focus on the mental health of employees has led to HR teams coordinating offerings such as mindfulness training, teletherapy, online exercise coaches and wellness classes that can be attended online, and potential in person in the future.


Furthermore, some companies have been more thorough in encouraging their employees to take breaks in the middle of the day while it is still light, encouraging taking paid time off or even allowing people to have alternate Fridays off.



Financial planning services



Whilst a benefit pre-Covid, this benefit is still extremely relevant in a remote working future. Whilst automatic enrolment into the pension scheme was implemented in 2012 in the UK, many companies have gone a step further and are now offering financial planning services to their employees. This includes paid consultation with accredited financial advisors, as well as assistance with budgeting and long-term financial planning.


This is a great perk employees can use to manage their finances better, and stay on the right path when it comes to financial security and planning for the future. It also shows their employer takes care of them even when the 8-hour shift ends, and it’s genuinely interested in their well-being.




The great


Now it’s time to look at the exceptional perks - where employers have really gone above and beyond to improve the welfare of their workforce and make them happy in the remote working world. Here is our list of the great perks offered by companies worldwide.


Relocation Services Perks.



With more companies switching to flexitime and remote work, employees don't have to stay in the city where the company's located. Instead, they can pick and choose a destination that suits their needs - whether it's a city closer to their families, a new setting in another country or a remote village with one coffee shop with wifi. It’s going a step further in allowing an employee to operate from their own idea of a perfect work environment.


As a way to accommodate their employees' needs, companies are now offering assistance with relocation. The usual barriers to moving cities or countries - such as the time off required, the major financial investment to set up in a new city, and the uncertainty about the neighbourhood they are moving to, are starting to be broken down. More globally minded relocation companies are starting to make it so much smoother for a person to move from New York to Nashville, or from Turin to Berlin.


This is what we specialise in at PerchPeek. Perchpeek is an app that uses AI algorithms to propose properties best suited to a person based upon personality and preferences”, and then allows virtual viewings to take place before relocating employees even arrive in the new city. In addition - they have people on the ground in over 50 countries - able to provide advice and knowledge on the new country, city, area or even house, to make sure that all bases are covered for the employee moving! These combined capabilities allow an employee to save time and money in temporary housing, and find a better house suited to them with less time taken out from work to do so.


Shameless plug over - onto the other great perks!


Childcare options.



Regardless of the fact employees with children are staying home or going to the office, there are still pretty high chances they have to juggle childcare and virtual learning at the same time. Having that in mind, employers who offer childcare options as an office perk, lift the weights off their employees’ back and allow them to have an undisturbed productive day.


There are a few ways how can companies help their working parents, including:


  • Childcare subsidies: Companies can offer to reduce the childcare cost to their working parents by subsidizing the costs of childcare since it's a relatively inexpensive way to reduce employees' parenting burdens. They can do it by making direct payments to employees with children or by subsidizing child care with selected care centres.


  • On-site childcare: On-site childcare where the employer provides a company-sponsored child care facility near the office is more expensive compared to other options, yet it's a highly effective office perk.


  • Back-up childcare assistance: Back-up childcare assistance allows employees to manage their business responsibilities in case their partner gets sick, schools close, or other unexpected issues arise. It’s a highly effective and moderately inexpensive benefit. As a company, you can partner with a service provider to offer emergency childcare when needed at an employee’s home or at the provider’s local location.


Telemedicine



Alongside mental health, recent years have seen businesses starting to place employee well-being at the forefront of their minds. After all, a happy and healthy worker equals a productive and motivated employee.


Telemedicine has come to the forefront in 2020. By some statistics, 43% of employers offer telemedicine to their employees, which is 29% more than last year.


Telemedicine allows employees to book appointments with their doctors through an online app and have their consultations online instead of visiting the doctor's practice.


This can be extremely beneficial, especially for those who cannot get the time to visit the doctor. By some statistics, 40% of US employees among the majority of them were millennials, said that having a telemedicine option at work is "extremely important” to them.


If you want to show your care for your employees, it’s a fairly simple but clearly well-meaning step to take in offering telemedicine solutions to the team.



Non-official work days


Netflix went one step further when it comes to Flexitime, and offered unlimited paid time off and didn’t set official work hours for its employees. They don’t track vacations, nor do they track when employees came and left work. They simply track what they’ve done.


However, there’s one caution to apply with this perk -- the risk is less that employees abuse the system and absent themselves too frequently - instead employees can go to extremes and actually overwork and burnout. To prevent this, Netflix encourages employees to take their time off, especially new parents who need to juggle work with new responsibilities.



Paid, non-business travel expenses



Ensuring employees get a proper break when they’re taking time off can be a major help in their happiness, sense of fulfillment, and feeling of restoration with their time off.


HotelTonight uses it’s company’s inherent strength to allow employees to travel for free and book their hotels at discount prices. What's more, employees can win an impromptu free vacation via monthly "spin-the-wheel" activity and become eligible for flexible vacation time. Yes, this is helped by their own assets being based in vacation offerings, but there is still potential for this in companies not naturally associated with the holidays trade - supercharging your employees’ recover time can mean supercharging their return to work mentality.



The ground-breaking


We decided when we chose to write this article, that we were going to have a little bit of fun with it. Some companies go above and beyond to make their employees happy, and implement workplace perks that almost sound too good to be true. Here are the most exceptional, slightly mind-blowing office perks we could find.



Free Breast-Milk Delivery


Grant Thorton, an assurance, tax and advisory firm wanted to help new mothers who needed to take frequent business trips away from their new families. Although some would argue that it should be the business who flexes and not the time spent with dependents, perhaps there are examples where a mother may prefer to attend an event or large meeting independently, while knowing that her loved ones are well looked after.


Grant Thorton took a pretty radical step to help this by allowing mothers of infants to to pump their breast milk while they’re on business trips and support free delivery of their milk to their babies.


Egg freezing

In a somewhat controversial move, designed to offer the choice of a later pause in careers to start a family, Apple and Facebook have offered an egg-freezing perk to their employees.

The positive view of this is that women can somewhat avoid putting their climbing of career ladders on standby, due to conceiving becoming harder with age. However, though the intention behind it might be good, this perk received criticism, as many women see it as putting additional insinuated pressure on women to have their children later on, which is not a choice all would like to take..



Cryopreservation - a step too far?

Image courtesy of Irvine Scientific


It’s normal for the companies to look for ways to keep the good employees as long as possible. However, one company perhaps went a step too far, and offered their employees an option to join the company cryopreservation scheme.


One of these companies is an Al-run hedge-fund Numerai. As part of the slightly scary company perks scheme, an employee could opt in to being frozen at -190°C in a hope they’ll be reawoken in a future when technology has advanced enough to allow prevention of death.



Which perk do you find the most attractive?


A strong employee perks scheme can be one of the most important practises of a thriving company. They are so important they greatly enhance employee welfare and satisfaction, sometimes even more so than simple salary bumps.


Right now, employee perks are rapidly changing, since companies constantly look for new ways to attract and retain new talent in the future world of work, where remote living and flexible hours are the norm. It is important to stay relevant on the newest employee perks, and we hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the latest, greatest, and strangest perks offered in companies across the globe. Which one is the most appealing to you?




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